07 July 2008

Culture, Food, and Spicing Up The Taste Buds

I’m a believer in experimenting with foods from other cultures. Every culture has their own unique foods, methods of food preparation and dishes which define their history and customs. Living in New York City, experiencing food and culture is as easy as walking from street to street or neighborhood to neighborhood. Anyone with an open mind can have a culinary fix without even leaving the country.

I’m fortunate to be living in a very diverse neighborhood where culinary exploration requires just a simple walk or bus/train ride. If I walked for twenty-five minutes or so, along my street heading in one direction, I would encounter a Jamaican Restaurant, Chinese takeout, a Greek Restaurant, a Southern/Soul Cuisine restaurant, an All-American Diner, and a Thai Restaurant. And that’s only within ten blocks.

That kind of variety to me makes food just that much more interesting, and adds variety to the table. And you know what they say about variety-it’s the spice of life and our plate as well. It’s simple-more food exposure, more food to choose from, greater enjoyment in eating. Plus I believe being open to the foods of other cultures also opens us to other ways of preparing the foods we already commonly eat. Often times, other preparations of these common foods may offer a better, more healthful and sometimes tastier way of eating that same food.

A simple beginning to culinary exploration I think is to start with the spices of a different culture first and to gain exposure to the people of the culture. Another good start is at the supermarket where slowly but surely more cultural influences are hitting the shelves. Also, specialty stores providing imported ethnic goods are popping up all over the place. Adding a little culture and ethnic spice to the taste buds is becoming easier than ever.


Giddy Gastronome

In one of my posts, I too address "abolishing xenofoodophobia." This unreasonable fear of foreigners and their cuisines causes division and if it is one thing that can mend, it surely is through food!
Thanks for addressing this subject!!

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