10/25/08

Authentic blank cuisine

I roll my eyes anytime I see a sign that says authentic blank cuisine. Food and language are among the few special human inventions that evolve over time, as if they were living beings. Culture, music and art would complete this list as far as I am concerned. So I find it foolhardy to designate a particular recipe of a food item as the canonical form. Not surprisingly, the authentic recipe for a culinary commodity seems to change at every ten mile marker. These mutations in preparing things is how food evolves doesn't it? For instance, I believe Thai food can be simplistically defined as Chinese ingredients with Indian spices. If you don't find my definition of Thai food authentic, you are missing my point. Anyway, we would not have had the fresh and delicious flavors of Thai food, if everyone had followed the so called authentic recipes of Chinese and Indian cuisine.

Hence it follows that if you believe that Tandoori chicken should be glazed with peanut sauce, that is the authentic recipe for "Tandoori chicken with peanut sauce". If a dinner guest objects to this and gets all authentic on you, make sure he goes hungry. This kind of snooty policing gets even worse, when it comes to wines and spirits. On ordering a cognac with Sprite during a recent international flight, the flight attendant asked me: "Are you sure about that"? I could have given him about fifteen hundred pecuniary reasons as to why I was so sure. But I chose to just nod my approval instead. Who cares what the food and drink police thinks anyway? Let these culinary cops be enslaved to the myriad cooking shows and self proclaimed cooking experts. For the rest of us, tandoori with peanut sauce, sushi inside out (fillet of fish surrounding a dollop of rice), grits with ketchup , maple syrup on a cheesecake or a cognac with Sprite are all authentic, as long as we enjoy them.

3 comments:

  1. well, i am no food snob but I just cant justify cognac with sprite. This is like running windows on a mac. If you are going to spend all that money buying some quality liquor, why in the world would you add some cheap soda to it.

    BTW why the pseudonym?

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  2. Hear Hear! There is so much pressure to do the "right" thing these days - the food police is just one of the various properiety polices out there. I loved your inside out Sushi note - unfortunately you're now a anecdote on some flght attendant's blog - the "cognac with sprite" passenger! :) Alternatively, you could form your own reverse snooty police, most people regurgitate popularly held beliefs and most can be shaken from their beliefs if you lie convincingly that this is the *new* thing - so the next time someone objects to cognac and sprite - say - "Surely, you know how to mix a French Revolution?" - dont tell me you havent tried it now, its all the rage. Voila!

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  3. I like the idea of reverse snooty police. Also sushi inside out might actually work. You get more fish than rice that way. And maybe we can call it ushis. Any investors out there for a chain of ushis restaurants?

    To rduv's query about the psuedonym, two reasons: it has a nice ring to it and I like the superficial anonymity it offers.

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