Food and Culture

Yesterday I had a pretty uncomfortable talk about food with my dad and I'm curious to see how Serious Eaters feel about the topic.

I showed my dad Serious Eats for the first time and earlier in the day we were looking at a food magazine and watching Diary of a Foodie. He's very interested in food, but only Mexican food. If I cook for him, it's got to be Mexican, he only knows how to cook Mexican- you get the idea. He noticed that on Serious Eats there was a lot of talk about mole, which was also true of the food magazine and the episode of Diary of a Foodie, which didn't feature mole, but food from Oaxaca, Mexico.

He said to me that he "hates" when "snobby, rich food people" take foods or sauces from different cultures and turn them into something they're not- I'm assuming he means gourmet or upscale. He believes they did this last year with Chimichurri sauce from Argentina and he's pretty sure this year it's going to be mole, which apparently will piss him off.

It was an uncomfortable talk about food and culture. In some ways I think he has a valid point. Food from different cultures should be enjoyed for what it is or how it came to be, but on the other hand: having foodies declare their love for ethnic foods will enable more people to learn about them and enjoy them. I think my dad's concern is that wealthy people who can afford quality ingredients or go to upscale restaurants will be eating (and tweaking) the Mexican peasant food he grew up on and for some reason that really bothers him.

What do you think?


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