Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fusion On The Fly

Some of you may have noticed the web site name change. As more and more of you send me e-mail I realize that my original conceit was a little off base. I chose "Learn to Taste" because I hoped that I would inspire some non-cooks to fiddle with seasoning and use my suggestions as a jumping off point to make something new.

The readers I attract are largely foodies. You folks know your stuff. We have our food so let's play with it.

I realized yesterday when Katie sent me the request for the recipes containing mint that we do it all the time. The tomato mint sauce on the Italian Zucchini roll is from Yemen but ultimately the dish will be recognized as Italian.

Italian food is it's own sort of fusion and it was Italians hired by Queen Isabelle who are the founders of what we think of as classic French cuisine.

As long as there have been travelers and traders our food has evolved.

A great example is the humble meatball. Poor Sicilian grandmothers came to America and could finally afford meat. So they created dishes they thought their rich northern relatives were eating and an entire cuisine was born. Many immigrants have a grandmother who made a meat filled sauce with sausage, meatballs, and more. What many don't know is that same woman lived on beans and anchovies back in Sicily and when they did make a sauce it would have been pretty meagre in comparison and topped with stale bread crumbs because cheese was a luxury item. Caeser Salad which we commonly pair with Italian food was created by an Italian Chef in Tijauna with what he had in the kitchen that night...fusion at it's finest.

I live in NY where the best of the best is available in the markets and the restaurants. I shop and I cook and when it's good it often has the flavors of many worlds. Fusion was not invented in California by some super chef, it was invented by our grandmothers and theirs before them.

Fusion On The Fly...Grandma cooking with attitude.

1 comment:

John and Amanda said...

I was in a restaurant in Siciliy and a Brooklyn Italian man was arguing with the waiter and ultimately his mother about what 'Italian' food was.

He could not believe that everyone is Sicily did not sit down to hug portions of spaghetti and meatballs every day.

Sicilian and Neopolitan grandmothers did create some really delicous dishes, but they aren't Italian in the strict sense.