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"Basic Gringo" ... How to deal w/ solid nationalities?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

OK. So in twenty(20) minutes I'm opening up my steamer full of tamales. They're going across the street from my house to a full-out Mexican party. Now I'm secure in that I make pretty good tamales. How come I'm worried about taking these over? 


I've been in numerous discussions about Italian dishes. My point being that you can go in a 1-km radius of any Italian village and find the same dish made 741 different ways. As an example, I'm not crazy about béchamel sauce. No way I'm using it on or in my lasagna(e). That's just me. I make great spring rolls. The professionals of the massage parlor at the end of my block are Asian. They didn't believe that I actually made the first batch that I brought to them. What the hey? The second batch I had to make in front of them.


I'm fortunate in that my most important mentor, my mommie, who my restaurant is named for, taught me to try all kinds of things. Mix up and use whatever you want. How else are you ever gonna know? I learned really fast to do this in small portions. DUH. She also taught me to cook all over the place, or I'd never learn anything. 


Anyway, how do you all deal with different ethnic natives other than your own, when presenting dishes? Any tricks?    TIA for some ideas here. 

post #2 of 6

I say if you're confident then don't stress it! 

Most people understand that this is your version of a dish

As a non-Italian with full-on Italian inlaws, they respect the fact that I try to create my own take on their favs

It may not like Mama made, but... they didn't spit it out either

I'm just saying..

post #3 of 6

I had a Philipino roommate that was really amused and curious that I know about his food. "Who told you about sinamak??" lol


It's that amusement that gives me a kick, that it's so shocking that the white boy is down with kimchee or knows how to make tamales when they don't. It's also a good conversation starter as you guys compare notes on methods, etc.


Don't stress too much about it. The important thing is you are sharing food with friends. That is such a primal connection.

post #4 of 6

I made Kibbeh for a guest from Lebanon. He hadn't had it for many years and was delighted that I made it. I got a kiss on my bald head from him. I was relieved.

post #5 of 6

Since you post this last week, you probably already know if your tamales were accepted or not.  Being of Mexican decent and growing up in LA, I can tell you this.  Don't disrespect the basics of Mexican's food.  Mexicans can do it, but if your not Mexican, never use bell peppers in place of Poblano chiles or ground beef in place of barbacoa or machaca.... in anything you take to a Mexican party.  They probably won't kill you, but don't cry if they won't eat your food.  We're nice people, but our food is sacred. 

post #6 of 6

When I used to do Sushi I get the you can't do that you're not Asian...Note they never said "Japanese" Food is about mastering a skill base not about who you are ethnically. My food speaks for itself.

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