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Discussing food mediation through the lens of a burrito stand in Portland

Food and identity are inextricably linked. This is both cliché and absolutely true. It is not surprising then that people get angry when others appropriate the foods that they identify with culturally. If you don’t believe me take a look at the Kitchen Sister’s wonderful series Hidden Kitchen: War & Peace & Food. But what exactly is appropriation? Is using an ingredient from outside your own culture an act of respect or aggression? Put simply, is it okay for me to use Szechuan bean paste when I make dinner? (I’m not Chinese.) What if I use it in an inauthentic way? (I’m quite fond of putting it in tomato sauce.) Would it be okay for me to open a Szechuan restaurant? Where is the line between culinary borrowing and theft? […]

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Made from the market: Strawberry-Rhubarb Cocktail

Spring is finally here! That means it’s time for the farmers market. Rhubarb is one of the first crops up, and I’m always looking for new ways to use it. Pies and jams are great, of course, but sometimes you need something a bit more adult. Why not a cocktail? Rhubarb and gin are a wonderful combination. Both are subtly floral and highly fragrant — they just need another ingredient or two to make them pop. It’s the same reason that rhubarb pie is boring, but rhubarb and strawberry is brilliant. As I was brainstorming this, my friend Andy suggested adding basil, and a springtime cocktail was born. […]

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