Modern cooks should cook for fuel, fun & to celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas.
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
This is my advice to all cooks at this writing. I am of the mind that equity and inclusion are at the core of the matter of cultural appropriation. Just as we're obliged to cite source and provenance for all else, so too should those elements be included in all aspects of food reference. Source credit for the agrarian method, foods, flavorings, dishes, the preparer and even the methods of preparation should be the standard. With a rising tide to include the context of the American foodway, I am ever reminded that we are, all of us, in a new world and of the here and now. This new world, dynamic and complicated with current events, takes immediate gratification with faster amalgamations concocted of melded recipes that in some awkward manner fuels popular culture.
Prevailing immigrant influences on the entire Western Hemisphere, arguably, may be more impactful by sheer volume than the European imposition of the kettle over the fire-pit. Do please approach menu making and the preparation of meals for your family and friends with pride of place, heritage and - why not? a willingness to try a dish that is entirely new but worthy of your effort! To my view, there are dishes in every culture that are so delicious, they simply must be reproduced by any curious and adventurous cook willing to try something new irrespective of origin.
Indeed, the entire planet is eternally in flux through design or by chance as we move seed from one place to another and as the ravages of climate change influences the migratory habitat of all living organisms. We can now find edibles in our seas, at the shoreline or embedded in and on our topography that were, to former generations, unthinkable. This changing habitat presents foods that are now available. Whether indigenous, endemic or imported, our need for balanced nutrition exceeds borders. Those of us who reside north of the 45th parallels, are reliant on nutrients derived from foods from temperate growing zones outside the boundaries of our region. Why not utilize recipes and associated flavors that come with those foods? As long as global capitalism and the written word remain the models, immigration with associated foodway and flavors will influence us. We can denounce or embrace the inevitable change. A means to fulfill the human need for expanded nutrition beyond our own region is prevalent. Inclusiveness begins with acknowledgement of prehistorical lifeway, learning from the spoken word of the People, Our collective food future is evolving and can change with inclusion and respect for a time past. To turn the tide and shape a future where the world's references begin with the Land and the People of its region, won't all of us need to play our part? Traditional family dishes whether carried forward orally and mastered through repetition or as written receipt are, perhaps, the best means for folk to learn about and come to appreciate our disparity with head held high and beaming with the joy of providing and preparing a dish from the heart.
Decolonize Your Diet, a manifesto.
USGS on climate change.