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In Defense of Inauthenticity, whatever that means


huiray
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Nice piece.

 

I see no virtue in attacking inauthentic cooking in countries far from its origin. Different tastes, ingredients etc.

 

Gen Tso chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are legitimate parts of American  and British ethnic restairants even though their origins are far from Asia and not passed down for generations.

 

And what about Vietnamese dishes with tomato products, which I'm told began with the war because they became available? Authentic or inauthentic?

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Tomatoes in Vietnamese cuisine --- "authentic", insofar as it has been absorbed into the cuisine. I touched upon this aspect in my defense some time ago of "prawns in tomato sauce" advocated by a TC contestant, which was slammed  by the TC judges (Colicchio in particular) --- but, but - such a dish is very much a part of the Vietnamese culinary landscape in Vietnam for many years now.

 

One could say that too of Pho, for that matter. :-) 

 

Ditto "Omelettes", which encompass much more than a certain very specific way of doing it if viewed from a strictly Western European perspective which might have been applicable in the 17th Century but is no longer so. Similarly for many other things.

 

P.s. Chicken Tikka Masala has been re-imported into India and is offered in many places there in the last few decades. There has also ensued disputes about the origins of the dish (natch), heh. Several years ago I remarked (on another *cough,cough* food forum) about the listing of General Tso's Chicken on a Chinese Restaurant's menu (in a prominent hotel in Kuala Lumpur) and on the menu of a Singaporean local restaurant's menu. Re-importation, in both cases. Cross-fertilization, in other terms. As for the Singaporean restaurant - it turned out (from the exchange on that forum in that thread) that the owner-chefs of the place had cooked for many years in NYC and, on their return to Singapore, wanted to express just a bit of what they had been cooking in The New World.

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IMO, the most wonderful example of reinterpretation by non-natives is ... Pizza!!!!!!!!!

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"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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