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"Authentic": what does that mean, anyway?


Chris Amirault
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  • 2 months later...

I thought I'd bump up this thread a bit, since we've been talking some about authenticity in our discussion of sriracha. Strange to think that a sauce named after a town in Thailand doesn't get used at all in the country itself, according to folks in the know!

edited for formatting -- ca

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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  • 2 months later...
I found this recipe on a Lebanese forum.

On that forum it's spelled Masbahet ed Darweesh

As usual, people publish recipes on their website or in print without having the faintest idea of how the dish should taste like or its ingredients.

In this case the recipe that is provided on the Lebanese website is simply laughable. It is not even a variant.

Clearly from the name of the dish Masbahet which is Rosary, there is a reason to call it thus and the reason is the "rangement" lining of the dish which led kids to call it cops and robbers. Also note that this dish is not Lebanese but Syrian in origin and I do not even accept that the recipe on the Lebanese site is a variant because they stray too far from the original recipe which uses lamb and not beef to start with.

To further discredit this web site, I had a look at typical Lebanese dishes:

- Batata Har-rah (Spicy Potatoes) They have Ketchup as one of the ingredient?!??!?! for crying out loud....Ketchup in this famous dish?

- Dawoud Basha. Oooops they forgot to add the Pine Kernels

- Baked Kibbeh. With Parsley and Mint. Oh sacrilege

- Halewit El Jibin. With Mozarella....terrible

I think you understand what I am driving at. I don't mind people posting or publishing variations of a dish as long as they indicate that it is a variation of the dish.

Someone might ask what constitute and establishes that a particular recipe is the original and authentic recipe? Very simply it is a recipe where a selection of at least three "culinary aware" people who could be Chefs, cooks, housewives or bon viveur originating from the area where the dish was born, to concur on the same recipe.

ANd not a mishmash of Lebanese students who do not even live in the country and try to post erroneous recipes with total disregard to the consequences and to the protection of the culinary heritage of the nation.

You know, what I would like to have would be a Repository of recipes where the authentic and variants are posted and corrected and updated continuously. This can be broken down by country or area and even the variants can be across countries like you have mentioned that you know of a similar Maghrebi dish.

Oh well, God save us from the self appointed food experts and we will save ourselves from the would be Chefs.

From what I've seen, nowhere on the site do they specifically make the proclamation that the dishes that appear on the site are "authentic".

Hummus is still hummus regardless of whether it's roasted red pepper hummus, hummus with avocado and roasted garlic, or low-fat hummus. Just because a dish contains ketchup doesn't make it any less genuine fwiw to some people.

Food, like language, evolves over time and across vast stretches of humanity. Far better to go along with the tide adapting as you will than to act as an immovable object against an irresistible force.

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I found this recipe on a Lebanese forum.

On that forum it's spelled Masbahet ed Darweesh

As usual, people publish recipes on their website or in print without having the faintest idea of how the dish should taste like or its ingredients.

In this case the recipe that is provided on the Lebanese website is simply laughable. It is not even a variant.

Clearly from the name of the dish Masbahet which is Rosary, there is a reason to call it thus and the reason is the "rangement" lining of the dish which led kids to call it cops and robbers. Also note that this dish is not Lebanese but Syrian in origin and I do not even accept that the recipe on the Lebanese site is a variant because they stray too far from the original recipe which uses lamb and not beef to start with.

To further discredit this web site, I had a look at typical Lebanese dishes:

- Batata Har-rah (Spicy Potatoes) They have Ketchup as one of the ingredient?!??!?! for crying out loud....Ketchup in this famous dish?

- Dawoud Basha. Oooops they forgot to add the Pine Kernels

- Baked Kibbeh. With Parsley and Mint. Oh sacrilege

- Halewit El Jibin. With Mozarella....terrible

I think you understand what I am driving at. I don't mind people posting or publishing variations of a dish as long as they indicate that it is a variation of the dish.

Someone might ask what constitute and establishes that a particular recipe is the original and authentic recipe? Very simply it is a recipe where a selection of at least three "culinary aware" people who could be Chefs, cooks, housewives or bon viveur originating from the area where the dish was born, to concur on the same recipe.

ANd not a mishmash of Lebanese students who do not even live in the country and try to post erroneous recipes with total disregard to the consequences and to the protection of the culinary heritage of the nation.

You know, what I would like to have would be a Repository of recipes where the authentic and variants are posted and corrected and updated continuously. This can be broken down by country or area and even the variants can be across countries like you have mentioned that you know of a similar Maghrebi dish.

Oh well, God save us from the self appointed food experts and we will save ourselves from the would be Chefs.

From what I've seen, nowhere on the site do they specifically make the proclamation that the dishes that appear on the site are "authentic".

Hummus is still hummus regardless of whether it's roasted red pepper hummus, hummus with avocado and roasted garlic, or low-fat hummus. Just because a dish contains ketchup doesn't make it any less genuine fwiw to some people.

Food, like language, evolves over time and across vast stretches of humanity. Far better to go along with the tide adapting as you will than to act as an immovable object against an irresistible force.

Of course Hummus is still Hummus and is indeed available in many recipes but should you refer to the dish as simply Hummus then it is implicitly implied that it is Hummus bil Tahinah which is a very specific recipe.

You have Hummus bil Awarma (meat), Hummus Hab(kernels), Hummus Traboulsi(extra garlic), Hummus bil Sanawbar(pine kernels), Hummus Balila(kernels and spices) and so on and they are well known recipes. Should you wish to have Hummus with Avocado then the dish name should be related and called something like Hummus Avocado!!!!.

However according to what you are saying, you can simply put corned beef with Hummus and hey presto it's an "evolved" Hummus.

Wait a minute, I wish to put Baklawa with Hummus then it is still a variant according to you and it is still an evolved Hummus!

You also mention that they are not indicating that the dishes are authentic. But hey, is it not that this is what you should indicate when the dishes are NOT authentic as people normal assumption in front of a recipe is that this is the authentic recipe or at least as close to authenticity as possible.

The web site in question is naming the dish Batata Har-rah (Spicy Potatoes) with the generic name and the recipe should normally reflect that. Now maybe you know or maybe you don't but Batata Har-rah (Spicy Potatoes) is a very well known dish on the Lebanese Mezza table and if you order Batata Har-rah (Spicy Potatoes) then you expect to be served the original dish.

Dishes evolve and adapt ad eternum but the dish name must reflect a departure from what the original dish is.

Also there is a big difference as to the extent of evolvement of the dish as if you stray too far then the dish is a completely new dish sharing maybe only one or two ingredients with the original one.

A Quiche Lorraine can either be with cheese in which case it is a Quiche Alsaciene or without cheese and correctly called Quiche Lorraine.

Now some people, and it seems that you are of the same advocate, would think that it is empirical appelations and some other culinary aware people would like precision in dish naming and preparing.

So to conclude, are you telling us that as a dish evolves and departs from the original recipe, it should still keep the original dish name?

I don't think many people will agree to that!

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It is what it is. *shrug*

Here in America, there are numerous examples of food being called one thing when the original is something else altogether. (e.g., marinara sauce, egg foo young, and what passes for balsamic vinegar)

And that's perfectly fine. Not to derail this thread, but my point was and continues to be that a food that's markedly different from the original does not in any way invalidate the "evolved" food. For the people who care about this sort of thing, perhaps not. It is what it is.

I suppose in one hundred years, some enterprising individual will find a way to reinvent quiche Lorraine. :wink:

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Dishes evolve and adapt ad eternum but the dish name must reflect a departure from what the original dish is.

Also there is a big difference as to the extent of evolvement of the dish as if you stray too far then the dish is a completely new dish sharing maybe only one or two ingredients with the original one.

There is no "must" when it comes to naming a dish, unless you happen to be a purist. :wink: For every genuine article out there, there are a million pretenders, and most of them are perfectly valid, in my opinion.

edit: I split off several posts from this thread in the Middle East forum (and managed to screw it up in the process, in case some of you were wondering why some posts appeared and then disappeared). Everything's fixed now.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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Dishes evolve and adapt ad eternum but the dish name must reflect a departure from what the original dish is.

Also there is a big difference as to the extent of evolvement of the dish as if you stray too far then the dish is a completely new dish sharing maybe only one or two ingredients with the original one.

There is no "must" when it comes to naming a dish, unless you happen to be a purist. :wink: For every genuine article out there, there are a million pretenders, and most of them are perfectly valid, in my opinion.

edit: I split off several posts from this thread in the Middle East forum (and managed to screw it up in the process, in case some of you were wondering why some posts appeared and then disappeared). Everything's fixed now.

Sociologists talk about the power of "ex nomination"

that is, who gets to decide what something is called, how it

is pronounced, what is included in the category, when it is

in / authentic, etc.

The power over these choices and imposing them on others

reflects the power you have in society.

There are examples all around: pronouncing the name of the

region: Appalatcha (local and authentic to locals) vs

Appalayshia (fancy outsider mostly Northern pronunciation)

but because in popular culture and real economic terms the locals

of the region are perceived as lacking social clout (I'm trying not

to say Hick or Hillbilly), the latter pronunciation is not going to

go away any time soon.

And this is my take on the whole Western term "chai"

vs "masala chai" or "spice tea" thing.....

etc.

Milagai

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Sociologists talk about the power of "ex nomination"

that is, who gets to decide what something is called, how it

is pronounced, what is included in the category, when it is

in / authentic, etc. 

The power over these choices and imposing them on others

reflects the power you have in society. 

That's really interesting, Milagai. Do you know of any food-related examples in the scholarship? I think that it would be very interesting to read some of the discussions around here (gumbo and cassoulet come to mind) through this concept.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Now some people, and it seems that you are of the same advocate, would think that it is empirical appelations and some other culinary aware people would like precision in dish naming and preparing.

So to conclude, are you telling us that as a dish evolves and departs from the original recipe, it should still keep the original dish name?

I don't think many people will agree to that!

I'm sure that Stash responded to much of this, but I'm confused: what is an "empirical appelation"? There are many systems of naming in various cultures, and only some of them are descriptive of ingredients or methods (if that's what your suggesting, Almass). Others can be metaphorical (ants climb the tree), quasi-descriptive (scrapple), probably even onomatopoeic. But "empirical"? What would that even mean? How is "quiche Lorraine" empirical?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The question of authenticity seems to come up much more in cuisines that have been codified. Mostly such discussions give me a big headache. BUT, I'll be the first to point out in-authentic French recipes. French dishes have specific names, often even if one element is change it becomes a 'different' dish in that there is another name for it. Note, in the French forum there a couple of French folks who will quickly point this out, this is possibly why there aren't that many cooking questions in that forum, rather these questions get posted in the cooking forum with recipes for French onion soup that are no longer French onion soup, but should be called onion soup. (If anyone wants to argue with me about authentic French recipes, post it in the French forum please or better yet post it on a French forum and see where the discussion takes you).

Contrast this with Algerian cuisine in which alot of the names of the dishes and techniques have not been codified formally. There is little argument over 'authenticity' within the culture. BUT, there are sets of ingredients, cooking techniques and presentations that are part of Magrhebi cuisine.

This is just my 2 cents.

I find discussions of authenticy more interesting when placed within a specific cultural context and spoken about as a continuum (I'm not sure if that's the correct word to use here), rather than in very broad strokes. But that's just me.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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to dumb down the conversation a little :rolleyes: ...

authentic is when i am sitting in a restaurant in barcelona eating paella or on a beach in thailand eating som tam.

or it is when i head to the indian restaurant in my japanese neighbourhood and the staff are all indian :smile:

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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to dumb down the conversation a little :rolleyes:  ...

authentic is when i am sitting in a restaurant in barcelona eating paella or on a  beach in thailand eating som tam.

or it is when i head to the indian restaurant in my japanese neighbourhood and the staff are all indian :smile:

your first e.g. sounds great.

the second: no guarantee :biggrin::biggrin:

they could be unemployed software engineers :biggrin:

looking to diversify.

i think in my part of the US there are several AWFUL indian

restaurants, really BAD cooking, all staffed and cheffed by indians,

but who seem to have no idea of cooking or service.

they give the whole food a bad name....

no idea why they are in this biz at all: to make or launder bucks?

milagai

Edited by Milagai (log)
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Sociologists talk about the power of "ex nomination"

that is, who gets to decide what something is called, how it

is pronounced, what is included in the category, when it is

in / authentic, etc. 

The power over these choices and imposing them on others

reflects the power you have in society. 

That's really interesting, Milagai. Do you know of any food-related examples in the scholarship? I think that it would be very interesting to read some of the discussions around here (gumbo and cassoulet come to mind) through this concept.

sorry, i don't really know much more about food related

applications of this concept: may be an under-explored area....

maybe it can be launched from here...

are you up for it, mongo?

:wink:

milagai

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[...]i think in my part of the US there are several AWFUL indian

restaurants, really BAD cooking, all staffed and cheffed by indians,

but who seem to have no idea of cooking or service.

they give the whole food a bad name....

But there are also American diners staffed by Americans that put out horrible food, right? Authentic bad food in those cases, no?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Now some people, and it seems that you are of the same advocate, would think that it is empirical appelations and some other culinary aware people would like precision in dish naming and preparing.

So to conclude, are you telling us that as a dish evolves and departs from the original recipe, it should still keep the original dish name?

I don't think many people will agree to that!

I'm sure that Stash responded to much of this, but I'm confused: what is an "empirical appelation"? There are many systems of naming in various cultures, and only some of them are descriptive of ingredients or methods (if that's what your suggesting, Almass). Others can be metaphorical (ants climb the tree), quasi-descriptive (scrapple), probably even onomatopoeic. But "empirical"? What would that even mean? How is "quiche Lorraine" empirical?

La cause de la cause de la cause=La recette de la recette de la recette.

- Empirical=being based on experience with disregard to science and theory.

In this case, based on the evolvement of the dish with disregard to the original recipe.

- Appellation=being the designation of a dish in terms of it's ingredients/cooking/presentation and origin.

In other word "empirical appelation" is the naming of the dish irrelevant of it's origin and ingrtedients...etc and based on where you experienced the dish or became aware of a recipe related to this dish.

Therefore, if you order a Quiche Lorraine and you are not a culinary aware person, then it does not make any difference as to what you will be served as Quiche Lorraine with fish or chicken or Maltesers. If you order Hummus and do not know the dish, you would accept what will be on offer.

However, for such well known dishes being it Quiche Lorraine or Hummus, the culinary aware person would expect to be served a dish as close as possible to the original recipe. So he would not expect to have fish in the Quiche Lorraine and he would not expect to have avocado in the Hummus!

If I were to offer a Chicken Putanesca which may or may not exist as a dish. However your culinary knowledge will tell you that it is a chicken prepared with a Putanesca inspired sauce which will probably contains anchovies - chillies - capers - tomatoes and olives or at least few of these ingredients if not all. Should the dish come to you with chicken and a cream based sauce with chillis and crab meat will be flying in your face and the "appellation" is utter rubish.

So. it is very important to be as true as possible to the name of the dish and serve the dish as the name is. You can vary the dish and have the dish evolve as much as you want but having fish in a Quiche Lorraine and even calling it Quiche Lorraine Mariniere would be simply wrong. Call it Quiche Mariniere would be a better solution.

Hummus when printed on the menu without any descriptive will be understood as the world famous Humus Bel Tehina. You want Hummus with meat or with avocado then you have to call it another name whether this include the name Hummus or not depends on the restaurant or on the local or international acceptance of the name. And indeed other names exists for a variety of Hummus based dishes but saying that Hummus evolve as a dish and as a recipe and yet using the same dish name is simply wrong like having fish in a Quiche Lorraine and sticking with the dish name is wrong and a slap in the face of culinary traditions, culinary knowledge and culture.

If you ask for Alouettes sans tête, I don't suppose that you would expect to be served headless larks or even sparrows and surely you are not going to get chicken or even a fish based dish on the pre assumption that the dish has "evolved"

To conclude, we are addressing two issues:

1- The evolvement of a dish. And here it is generally accepted to have as many variation as you wish.

2- The naming of the dish. Here the proviso is when a dish name is well known and entranched, only a minor departure from the recipe is acceptable and a major departure should be reflected either by a new name for the dish or an amendment to the name in terms of addition or descriptive.

Edited by Almass (log)
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[...]i think in my part of the US there are several AWFUL indian

restaurants, really BAD cooking, all staffed and cheffed by indians,

but who seem to have no idea of cooking or service.

they give the whole food a bad name....

But there are also American diners staffed by Americans that put out horrible food, right? Authentic bad food in those cases, no?

Yes, but bad Indian food (or any food from relatively unknown cuisines) give the cuisine a bad name when the only one or two restaurants serve bad food it becomes representative of the cuisine to certain people. All the worse when people think it's authentic because it's staffed by people from the source culture.

There are bad French restaurants staffed and owned by French people. There are bad Italian restaurants staffed and owned by Italians. But these cuisines are more strongly represented in America, so they don't have the burden of being representative.

Of course people from the source culture can prepare 'authentic' food horribly. Bad cooks exist everywhere. You know that Michael. But people will say things like "there was one Moroccan place in town and the food was mediocre. The cuisine has an image problem over here"

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Therefore, if you order a Quiche Lorraine and you are not a culinary aware person, then it does not make any difference as to what you will be served as Quiche Lorraine with fish or chicken or Maltesers. If you order Hummus and do not know the dish, you would accept what will be on offer.

However, for such well known dishes being it Quiche Lorraine or Hummus, the culinary aware person would expect to be served a dish as close as possible to the original recipe. So he would not expect to have fish in the Quiche Lorraine and he would not expect to have avocado in the Hummus!

If I were to offer a Chicken Putanesca which may or may not exist as a dish. However your culinary knowledge will tell you that it is a chicken prepared with a Putanesca inspired sauce which will probably contains anchovies - chillies - capers - tomatoes and olives or at least few of these ingredients if not all. Should the dish come to you with chicken and a cream based sauce with chillis and crab meat will be flying in your face and the "appellation" is utter rubish.

So. it is very important to be as true as possible to the name of the dish and serve the dish as the name is. You can vary the dish and have the dish evolve as much as you want but having fish in a Quiche Lorraine and even calling it Quiche Lorraine Mariniere would be simply wrong. Call it Quiche Mariniere would be a better solution.

Hummus when printed on the menu without any descriptive will be understood as the world famous Humus Bel Tehina. You want Hummus with meat or with avocado then you have to call it another name whether this include the name Hummus or not depends on the restaurant or on the local or international acceptance of the name. And indeed other names exists for a variety of Hummus based dishes but saying that Hummus evolve as a dish and as a recipe and yet using the same dish name is simply wrong like having fish in a Quiche Lorraine and sticking with the dish name is wrong and a slap in the face of culinary traditions, culinary knowledge and culture.

If you ask for Alouettes sans tête, I don't suppose that you would expect to be served headless larks or even sparrows and surely you are not going to get chicken or even a fish based dish on the pre assumption that the dish has "evolved"

To conclude, we are addressing two issues:

1- The evolvement of a dish. And here it is generally accepted to have as many variation as you wish.

2- The naming of the dish. Here the proviso is when a dish name is well known and entranched, only a minor departure from the recipe is acceptable and a major departure should be reflected either by a new name for the dish or an amendment to the name in terms of addition or descriptive.

At the end of the day, isn't it really about your expectations?

Honestly, I'm all for authenticity but not at the expense of good food. For instance, there are innumerable recipes for boeuf bourguignon -- there is Chef Keller's infamous version that takes something like three days to prepare (and is probably manna sent from heaven), and there is a version made in a crockpot that's not as labor intensive, has margarine, sirloin tips, brandy and burgundy that was passable. There's a thread on it somewhere in the Cooking forum. (Click here.) All of them are boeuf bourguignon, some more authentic than others.

Can't you just accept it for what it is? C'est la vie and all that jazz. It's all very well to say dish X and Y should have ingredients A, B and C. And that's perfectly fine. I find that to be a bit limiting though.

Soba

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We love to pick on Olive Garden here, but I think that statement brings up a good point:  One of the original questions is whether or not authenticity matters, and to me, it simply doesn't.............

Olive Garden, Chi-Chi's, Bennegan's, none of these are 'authentic' cuisine (unless we can qualify US Chain Restaurant as a cuisine ;) ) but I still enjoy the majority of meals I sit down to at these places.  Yes, your pasta dish at OG will be nothing like it would be in Italy, but who is to say the original way was the best way? 

okay, as with art, there is the argument of people liking what they like, and who's to say this is better than that. beauty in the eye of the beholder and all.....

and at the risk of saying that one way is right or wrong, or even putting Authenticity aside. .....

to answer your question, I'm to say that the original way, ie most pasta as found in the boot of land that is italy, esp in the region of campania, or bologna for different reasons, or liguria for different reasons, anyhow, i'm here to say that it is the best way for pasta. face to face with olive garden, chi-chis or whatever chain, a simple spaghetti pommodoro, or aglia olio, really simple food made with really good ingredients, hey, that is the best way for pasta. even when its plain and ho hum ordinary, it can still knock the socks off of any usa chain pasta.

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Why not just call the less authentic versions "Beef stew with red wine" then, rather then "boeuf bourguignon"? To me the latter represents a specfic style of preparation (actually more about the garnish I guess), but I guess the might also represent cachet to others.

I am not too fussed, but if I ordered boeuf bourguignon and what I got was beef cooked with orange peel, red wine and olives I would be annoyed, not because the dish wasn't good, but because it was not what I ordered.

Having said that "authentic" is very hard to acheive in reality. The lamb in the UK is quite different to that in Tuscany, so if I cooked Tuscan lamb recipe in the UK it would not be the same.

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Why not just call the less authentic versions "Beef stew with red wine" then, rather then "boeuf bourguignon"? To me the latter represents a specfic style of preparation (actually more about the garnish I guess), but I guess the might also represent cachet to others.

I am not too fussed, but if I ordered boeuf bourguignon and what I got was beef cooked with orange peel, red wine and olives I would be annoyed, not because the dish wasn't good, but because it was not what I ordered.

Having said that "authentic" is very hard to acheive in reality. The lamb in the UK is quite different to that in Tuscany, so if I cooked Tuscan lamb recipe in the UK it would not be the same.

Fair enough.

Plenty of people call it "beef burgundy".

It is what it is.

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On the other hand, we must not view cuisine as a museum. I know one famous chef who when she visits Paris spends all her time talking about how much better it was when, when she was young, when the cuisine was purer, when there weren't so many foreign influences.

Anyhow, much cuisine is made up via evolution. greek moussakka for example (the bechamel topping an addition of early 20th century greece's fascination with french cuisine). pizza for another (tomatoes from the new world).

and some dishes are ancient: tamales, pesto, pasta./dumplings.

but just making up things are if they are eaten somewhere else, things that sound good so that they can be sold in a chain restaurant or please middle of the road eaters in other ways, and i am thinking chicken puttanesca, and so many others here.

giving a dish a name is implying a story behind it. pasta puttanesca has a story. chicken does not. it doesn't work, though the dish may be very tasty.

i have a personal vendetta, too, against chicken in my caesar salad, but thats another story. again with the story. anyhow: chicken adds something that doesn't fit in with the story, either the story of its invention, or the story of the flaovurs: tangy, salty, crisp and lettucey, garlicky, savoury.....the grilled chicken is just extraneous to me. use the chicken in another salad, and give it another name!

someome, please help me stop rambling now.

x marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Yes, but things evolve.

You can be a stickler for saying that things should remain timeless, like a painting is timeless, but everything changes, even art. Though certain things remain the same, there will always be variations and there will always be people who defy tradition and call something what it isn't.

It's important to care -- to be sure -- but it's also important not to lose the forest for the trees. Have a drink, live a little, and if you want to call a Caesar's salad a Caesar's salad (even though it has sliced chicken breast and maybe a little roasted garlic, or just a drop of balsamic vinegar), why be my guest.

Soba

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Interesting topic... I'll admit I haven't read the entire thread but as mentioned in the few that I did read.... authentic to me means that the dish is cooked as it would be if in the country of origin with indiginous ingredients, methods and tools - as grandma would have made in that country.

French bread is a simple example. Unless you're importing flour from France and baking in a brick oven, it is highly unlikely you're not getting authentic French bread. The flour is not the same. For more on this, refer to the book The Breads of France by Bernard Clayton, Jr. (One of the most revered authors on bread.)

Produce simply can not be the same. Grandma (no matter what country she was from) was likely using locally grown fresh produce of specific varieties - not mass produced, not genitically modified, not sprayed with pesticides. Soil and climate can affect the flavor of produce. Hence it is highly unlikely most of us will have the opportunity truly taste the optimum example of what made a dish so popular in the first place.

Meats will taste different. The soil in one specific region where a dish originated can be vastly different in another. Soil affects the flavor and nutrients of the vegetation eaten for example by cows which, along with environmental conditions, affects flavor, etc.

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Why not just call the less authentic versions "Beef stew with red wine" then, rather then "boeuf bourguignon"? To me the latter represents a specfic style of preparation (actually more about the garnish I guess), but I guess the might also represent cachet to others.

I am not too fussed, but if I ordered boeuf bourguignon and what I got was beef cooked with orange peel, red wine and olives I would be annoyed, not because the dish wasn't good, but because it was not what I ordered.

Having said that "authentic" is very hard to acheive in reality. The lamb in the UK is quite different to that in Tuscany, so if I cooked Tuscan lamb recipe in the UK it would not be the same.

Fair enough.

Plenty of people call it "beef burgundy".

It is what it is.

I also call it beef burgundy :smile:. Look every housewife/restaurant in Burgundy is going to have a slightly different version of the dish. That is the nature of cooking and therefore, variation on a theme is part and parcel of "authenticity". That's part of what makes some cooks better then others and what makes regional cooking interesting. But, naming something should identify common elements.

In my own private classification I have:

Beef stewed in red wine: = anything goes

Beef Burgundy= beef stewed in red wine, maybe pearl onions, maybe mushrroms etc. Not olives, orange peel.

boeuf bourguignon = beef stewed with red wine with mushroom, lardon and onion garnish.

This may not be correct, but at least it is a system and this in my opinion is better then "Well it may no be be "authentic" but is tastes good so what does it matter".

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Of course it matters. Just not to everyone.

In my book, there is "authentic" and there is everything else.

I'm quite happy with "everything else", because for something to be truly authentic, I'd have to go to the country of origin and experience it there. That, or have a grandmother from the source country with amazing cooking skills.

Naming is important. Keeping traditions alive is important. So is a good meal.

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