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cew

"The Minimalist" and non-European cuisines

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Thank you for participating in this Q&A. I really enjoy your columns in the New York Times. In the last couple of years I have noticed that you have been incorporating more Asian flavors and ingredients into your Minimalist recipes, which formerly were more oriented towards streamlining classic European and American dishes. Is this because you yourself have been more interested in cooking Asian or Asian-influenced food at home? Because you think that this cuisine is particularly well-suited to minimalist cooking? Or because you want to encourage your fans to try new things? In the future, will we see the Minimalist column reach out to incorporate other non-European cuisines (Mexican, South Asian, African, etc.)? I suppose an easy answer to all these questions could be "yes." I am interested, though, to know what considerations, if any, you take into account when you explore non-European cuisines in your Minimalist column.

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I've always loved Asian food, and I've long done Asian recipes. But the number of Asian recipes I feel comfortable doing has increased with my travels to Asia (in the last couple of years, for example, I've been to China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and India). I'm doing more Mexican recipes as I travel to Mexico more (twice in the last year).

I do think many Asian (at least Chinese, Korean, and SE Asian) recipes are great for home cooks (less so Indian and Japanese). HOWEVER, there are many readers who consider these recipes 'too exotic' and I would like to avoid alienating them. Much as I hate to say it, there are plenty of people who are not ready for nam pla!

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