There’s something about this issue which continues to hold my interest. It’s not merely the fact that bahn mi on a ciabatta and steamed General Tso’s sound wrong to my own - generally descriptivist - taste buds. Nor is it jealousy that these kids even have bad sushi by which to be offended - I mean, I’m not sure if in the 80s, campus dining halls even served fish sticks that contained actual fish. Likewise, I can’t chalk it all up to my fundamental support for campus activists pushing the edges of the cultural/political conversations.
I’m guessing, it has more to do with my food geekery. I find myself contemplating notions like, “Where is the line between healthy, multi-cultural melting pot and cultural appropriation? Can the latter actually occur without intent? Does ignorance excuse?”
To that final query, I extend to personal cooking philosophies. “Should one know The Rules before having the right to break them? Before simply deciding to?” And then on to more universal ideas, “If a rule exists in the absence of reason, or based upon a reason that no longer applies,* does it deserve adherence at all?” If I’m neither Jewish nor Hindi, then what possible restrictions should I place upon myself making curry cheeseburgers for my Fourth of July party?
Anyway, anybody else see an interesting catalyst in this?
Links to a report on the issue from the New York Times, and two essays from The Atlantic are below:
- The “Months with Rs in them” oyster rule comes to mind. Refrigeration means that we can get fresh, cold water bivalves from all over the place, all year long, reducing the threat of illness, etc.