¡Ask a Mexican! tackles BurritoGate

See, I don’t see that as cultural appropriation. I think there’s at least a sincere appreciation for the culture in appropriation. Like “hey, this crazy alphabet looks really cool,” or “religious chanting would sound interesting in my house track,” or “the headpieces used by indigenous people are pretty rad”. This is straight up mockery based on stereotypes. Not cultural appropriation so much as garden variety racism.


I’m in the difficult position that as I am from a country that has essentially no traditional foods of its own (Australia - and dont say meat pie and pavlova thats stolen from the English and germans respectively) - and whats more no real racial identity on account of being a mix of countless white and asian countries… I dont think there is literally any food i can make that isnt “cultural appropriation”. Even “modern australian” is fusion cuisine with mostly italian, middle eastern and french roots.


How about roasted goanna? It’s certainly a local tradition, no?

St Louis pizza also has a sweeter tomato sauce than Chicago style thin crust.

If any Korean wants to open a poutine restaurant near my apartment I’ll gladly give them my authentic Canadian permission.

(edited for added zazz)


ahem you mean, you’ve been to Bengaluru.

(couldn’t resist.)


Ahem. Also Australian. “No traditional foods of its own… a mix of countless white and Asian countries…”? Did you forget - or purposefully whitewash - native/Indigenous/‘bush tucker’?

Not cool.

(Sorry for the OT post, everyone.)


Just for timeline accuracy, the burrito dust-up predates the murders.


Since you seem to be digging deeper on this, I’m curious about your opinion on the google doc going around listing Portland restaurants that the creators want to highlight as appropriative. I know of at least one chef on the list who cooks Japanese food and did a lengthy apprenticeship under a Japanese chef. I’ve been thinking about it since seeing the list and I’m not sure where I land on that.

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True, I didn’t realize how strange this timeline was.
5/16: interview
5/19: mic.com article
5/20: Kooks closes

5/24: Fox News, the Daily Mail, NY Post, and a bunch of other places write about it (including the OC Weekly article)

5/30: This post

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Yeah, I’ve been following it for a while and it’s had surprising legs. Though, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s got to be hard for Fox News and the like to find enough SJWs to faint over to keep the troll clans happy.


I know nothing about how valid the list is, and my favorite take I have found was the uproxx story. I just take it to mean the discussion didn’t begin and end with Kooks, which to me means this was something that inflamed existing opinions and not created a new thing. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn there are inconsistencies in what was considered appropriated or not because it’s a subjective measure and I assumed the list wasn’t particularly well researched and more designed to highlight the places run by people from that culture than to sift through which people passionately trained in that culture’s food.

At least, if I lived there I doubt I would have heard of many of the places that are being highlighted.

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Yeah, it’s surprising how quickly it was over before it caught on. It makes sense why I had trouble finding many articles at all about it since there are many more articles surrounding it than actually involved in the controversy.

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You know, there’s a restaurant in Santa Fe NM that brags about inventing the breakfast burrito in 1975. It’s an American dish.


Speaking as a British citizen Id like to make clear that we would have staved to death without cuisine appropriation.


Oh please, don’t throw rocks!

And certainly not the “you’re a racist” rock.

There ain’t no play with me on that one.

Did I suggest it was embedded in DNA? You’ll next be accusing me of planning a eugenic assault on inappropriate chefs.

I’ve been lots and lots of different and far flung places, which has been my fortune and misfortune. In my personal experience, which is more extensive than not, and involves a lot of food, as I’m a food lover, I have not once found with ethnic cuisine of any complexity a chef who prepared the food as well as a chef from that ethnicity.

Part of it is cultural assimilation and conforming. I ate at a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant in Paris last week - taken by a SE Asian native - and even they confessed before ordering the food was “frenchified”. The best northern Chinese food in London is at “Beijing Dumpling” in Soho. Mainland Chinese chefs prepare it in front of you. Loads of Beijing natives crave it, it tastes the same as home. For good Indian food here, you go to Southall or Tooting.

Restaurants sneak chefs in, they do what they have to to get the food right. Sure, any skilled chef can cook a Singapore Laksa, and it will taste good, but the best - and identifiably the best, even by non-natives, is prepared by locals.

Why? Because generation after generation of preparation and improvement make it a delicate balancing act. Any chef can chop chillis and pop them in a pot, but a good chef can harmonise the flavour, heat and texture between different batches with the rest of the ingredients to bring a consistently pleasing combination to the table.

Heston Blumenthal is the UK’s leading “scientific cook” - and he’s highly successful - but his Singapore Laksa wouldn’t cut it. It would be interesting, but it would be a diversion.

Why do I mention him? He’s analytical and unbiased. But what he lacks is the experience of growing up with the dish, the observation of preparation and the deep nurturing experience of the aromas and methods.

So restaurants in London work very hard to have the best chefs for the job. And in the good restaurants - why are by no means expensive - the chef is usually, if not always, from the place the food is identified with.

Maybe you’d call it soul. Maybe a good chef can pull it off, once or twice. But consistently, in the heat and bother of the kitchen, to source the right ingredients, to balance them, to take each one through its preparation pathway within the margins that you’ve learned since childhood, and blend it all to the right finale.

But I’m happy to be proven completely bonkers. Point me to a restaurant where I’ll get the real deal. And burgers don’t count.

Oh and yeah - please don’t call me racist. There isn’t a racist cell in my body.

Albania is only 100k by sea from Italy!

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And a lot of them are run by Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, so are only Indian in the pre-1947 sense.

I think I’ve only ever seen one restaurant that had the nerve to brand itself as Pakistani. It was damn good, too.


Everyone knows that Frankfurters are from Hamburg.