It's Okay to Cook "Other People's Food," But You Better Be Ready to Talk About It


tl;dr: haters gonna hate.
The idea that there is "culture" that belongs to one type of person, and no other type of person may engage in that "culture" is one of the stupidest ideas of all time.

Throughout all of humanity cultures have traded and stole from each other, forming greater human culture. No one group of people "own" a culture or cultural ideal. It is a shared human experience, and culture it is at its best when it is crossing national and racial lines, when it is rolling around picking up bits of other cultures and adding its own flavor.

You can't "steal" culture, and no one person "owns" a culture.
"At this point in our dining culture, chefs draw inspiration from everywhere around the globe. Chefs are curious and creative people, and they should be allowed to cook whatever they want. "

Same as music I guess
My eyes are stuck in the rolling-to-the-back-of-my-head position. Ms. Garbes really needs to be writing for an academic journal that nobody reads. I'm good with the occasional view of food culture through the prism of race/class/gender, but two in a row? Seriously? First it was Jonathan Gold, who has spent decades exposing his largely white readership to a vast panoply of foods from many cultures (and apparently saved a bunch of small businesses in the process). Yet Garbes has to throw in this out-of-left-field accusation that there's something nefarious ("dangerous" even) in an admiring portrayal of his life's work. All because somebody in the film said something in a way she doesn't like. Now Rick Bayless gets the hyper-politically correct treatment. It's not enough for him to have spent his entire life discovering and promoting and selling (and adapting and, yes, even elevating) fantastic food from another culture. He has to toe the current, ever-changing party line. Seriously, could we just talk about the food?
Dude's professionally trained as an anthropologist (I wish my dissertation fieldwork included me learning to cook well, but the motivation is low when in Russian, as opposed to Mexican, provinces), so to think the idea is foreign to him is odd. Even more so since he has written and talked about the idea of cooking food not of "your own" culture for over a decade.

Oh, he also was awarded the highest state honor Mexico can give to a foreigner. But evil insensitive dude.
What those other commenters said already.

Also, "reverse racism" is in itself a racist term, implying that it is the natural order for white people to be the oppressors and non-white people to be the victims. Denying the fact that racism can and does go in all directions (even though non-whites are most commonly the victims) is dishonest and only serves to hold back racial equality by reinforcing that victim-oppressor paradigm. It's astounding how often people on the SJW fringe don't consider that their abuse of semantics strengthens the very system they despise.

Finally, Antoine Lavoisier was born into wealth, nobility, and privilege. Should he be castigated for that and his contributions to chemistry disparaged?
...can we please note the irony of the author of this post having written a cookbook that includes recipes for mac and cheese, romesco, harissa, piri piri, Thai curries, and more? I'm going to guess the passion Bayless brings to regional Mexican cuisine is far more than the author's passion for chipotle mayo.…

God, the irony is too great. She literally has chapters titled, "The Heat Capital: Mexico;" "Piquillos and Paprikash: Europe;", "The Spicy Route: Africa and the Middle East;" and "Curries, Stir-Fry, and More: Asia."
White males have privileges that they're not always willing or able to acknowledge. This is a real thing for which there is a growing body of discussion. Is this the only story we can tell when the main character is a white guy? Are we to the point that every successful white dude must cop to this in every interview, even when he's not asking to be called out on it?

Bayless does not pretend his Mexican cuisine is anything but. He seems to show genuine respect for Mexico, its food, and its culture. This is not a guy who sat in a jazz club, took inspiration from the music, and then tried to pass his own music off as original.
Why is it that the one cultural product that never fails to bring people together and make them happy now has to have gate keepers, scolds, and thought police?

I'd tell you to go fuck yourself, but I'm too busy eating a delicious kimchi taco right now.
When someone at the Stranger yells, "Come here, Token!", who moves faster: Mudede or Garbez?
First, reverse racism doesn't exist. Racism simply means to hamper, to impede upon someone else liberties. Where in our nations history has any POC stopped the progress of the WHITE MAN? Can we stop them from living, getting the best jobs, can we incarcerate them, can we stop them from living in certain places......NO TO ALL!!! White privilege exist whether or not you admit it.

I'm so sick and tired of whites stealing POC cultures, music, speech, style, food etc, and then telling the world this is righteous, to infiltrate those same businesses, because of gentrification, and those who can no longer afford the leases that don't worry I'll carry the torch for you. These are the same people who have paid their congressman, or have paid the lobbyist to vote to red line a district to raise the prices of mortgages and leases. Then they turn around and buy those same neighborhoods and start selling the same foods to their culture curious white friends and they get rich, when prior, those same businesses were struggling and were run out of business.

Now lets talk about the food, when whites cook food that they swear is Black or Asian...etc, you can't just decide one to do this, you must study the culture. Well you can't(CAN NOT) study the culture because our culture is excluded from the history books. They didn't grow up with culture, all they can do assimilate it and call it the same.

I liken this to someone beating someone up and then telling them, stop crying I didn't hit you that hard, or, get over it, it was a long time ago. Better yet, that was your mother, or that happened to your grandparents who are not alive, let it go. Or I won't apologize for something I didn't do, but I will take all of the advantages that come with my WHITE skin color. Never mind that this country was built on the backs of THE BLACK MAN through SLAVERY!!! FREE LABOR THAT WAS NEVER PAID FOR.

I'm saying NO to ALL, you don't get to come and steal from us and then expect us to buy your goods and you expect us to be quiet and say you're doing a great job????? These injustices have been going on since slaves were brought into this country and I say STOP, and NO MORE. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Yes this is about RACE AND HATRED, that is perpetrated against ALL POC. It never ended, NO we shout, its not ok.
@14: "Racism simply means to hamper, to impede upon someone else liberties."
I don't know what kind of hippy-dippy dictionary you're reading from, but that definition is closer to "discrimination" or "harassment" or "persecution". Want to know the meaning of "racism"? It's literally right there in the word; RACISM is prejudice based on race, or an ideology in which race is what matters when assessing people.

"Where in our nations history has any POC stopped the progress of the WHITE MAN?"
You might try asking that question to any of the 337 victims of anti-white hate crimes perpetrated by black people in 2014. (The total of anti-black hate crimes perpetrated by white people in the same span, by the way, is 1165.)

"Now lets talk about the food, when whites cook food that they swear is Black or Asian...etc, you can't just decide one to do this, you must study the culture. Well you can't(CAN NOT) study the culture because our culture is excluded from the history books."
I'll make sure to tell Émile Durkheim that he never studied the cultures of the Aboriginal Australians, and to tell the Leakeys that they can't possibly know anything about Kenyan culture and society despite LIVING AND STUDYING THERE FOR DECADES, and to tell E. E. Evans-Pritchard that he must not have intensively studied the ways and customs of the Azande people after all. Yes, non-European culture and history are underrepresented in high school curricula, but your comprehension of HOW VAST "the history books" are and HOW MUCH is in them is woefully incomplete.

"They didn't grow up with culture, all they can do assimilate it and call it the same."
So, you're a black woman, right? Are you saying that you're a greater authority on, say, the Tutsi people than a white anthropologist who's devoted his or her career to studying their customs? THAT would be outright racism on a par with that of colonial European powers, who assumed that the "savages" and "natives" of lands they traveled to could never understand European culture (and were thus not worthy of self-rule) because they were too black to learn the ways of white people.

"These injustices have been going on since slaves were brought into this country and I say STOP, and NO MORE. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Yes this is about RACE AND HATRED, that is perpetrated against ALL POC. It never ended, NO we shout, its not ok."
So a white guy spends decades studying Mexican culture and learning Mexican cuisine, and your reaction is that it's an outrage committed against black people? Way to co-opt someone else's struggle, right? Lord only knows what you make of it when ACTUAL oppression is inflicted upon Mexicans; do you try to

You, Brnsista, are an embarrassment to the cause of racial equality. Your argument boils down to "white people did many black things to black people, therefore white is bad and black is good, and as it is said thus shall it be". Now I know what your response is going to be: you will say that I am white and male and therefore don't know anything. (I'll admit to the male bit, but I'm not so much white as white-passing. The people who get uptight about whiteness wouldn't consider me white.) Or maybe you'll say that I can't possibly understand what it's like to be systemically oppressed (despite what MY people have gone through over the past few millennia) because you, like many on the truly unfortunate fringes of the BLM movement, think that only YOUR oppression matters. Or maybe you won't respond at all.
Thank you. Rick Bayless seems like a nice enough guy, but his total lack of self-awareness had me cringeing all through that interview (I also noticed Pashman's brave but insufficient attempts to get him to recognize his privilege). I'm glad I wasn't the only one. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
@14: Do you think it is an unacceptable appropriation of culture when black women wear weave to mimic European hairstyles? What about when a black person eats bratwurst or acts in a Shakespeare play? Are these things appropriations of "white" European culture?
I didn't make a very good churchgoer, so that may be why this emphasis on checking people's privilege makes me feel uncomfortable. It seems too near requiring someone to confess their sins so they can be forgiven and go to heaven.

Except, most of the time, it seems more like a Communist struggle session, where the goal is to humiliate and chastise the "privileged" until they confess their crimes and a new target can take their place. But then, these struggle sessions seemed a lot like the Spanish inquisition.

I'm not even sure I've seen such an undertaking that didn't fall prey to exactly the sort of prejudice that has disadvantaged so many in history. Are these endeavors ever more than reducing a person to one characteristic -- their race, their gender, their sexual orientation -- and judging them based on that? Any effort to bring in the complexity or context of their actual life is seen as "mainsplaining" or its equivalent and usually dismissed.

Here's the thing: Bayless has been attacked unfairly. He's probably put up with decades of being questioned about his race and made to feel that he has to prove his bona fides because of his race. He has certainly had some advantages, but you would think that, if anything, you would want to point out the similarity in some of the experiences he has had and someone of color might have in America.

eg, this need to prove himself because of his race is probably something most people of color can relate to. I read a story the other day that said that in places where drug testing and background checking for jobs has been eliminated, African Americans are actually less likely now to get a job. Why? Because they're better off being able to prove they are not a stereotype than just having to suffer the stereotype.

So when someone like Bayless points to the discrimination he has experienced, a more thoughtful person of color truly interested in promoting understanding and equality among races would empathize and listen and then share their similar experiences.

But instead, the emphasis seems to be on humiliation, segregation, and retribution.