„Not neccessarily betrayals“

„I have never heard a Filipino say “I am tired of Filipino dishes,” but have often heard Pinoys claim to be tired of hamburgers, fast food, bread, etc. Can we ever really tire of our native food, of the dishes that we ate as children, which formed our tastes and our idea of good food?

Perhaps not, but this does not mean that we cannot make any changes in them – experiment, invent, create. Food, like language, is living culture, and as such, changes with times. The old ways are tested and true; the new ways are not neccessarily betrayals, if they are appropriate and result in good food.“

(Doreen G. Fernandez: Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture, Leiden/Boston 2020, Erstausgabe 1994, S. 40.)

Das erinnerte mich an ein anderes Zitat, das ich schon mal im Blog hatte:

„Having read hundreds of emails from Hot Thai Kitchen Fans, I’ve discovered that there are two main reasons why people are reluctant, or even scared, to cook Thai or any ethnic cuisine. The first is that they don’t know where to start. This is an issue of knowledge, which is easily fixed. Reading this book is a great start.

The second, and most important, reason is the fear of making it “wrong.” This isn’t as simple a fix, as it’s not a technical issue but rather a matter of mindset. People are afraid that, after all their efforts, they’re not making “real Thai food.” So, they postpone it until they feel “confident enough,” or they decide to “leave it to the experts.”

I get it. I remember feeling the same way when I startet cooking Western food. I wanted to make the most authentic Bolognese sauce, so I searched for recipes written in Italian because, after all, they MUST be more authentic!

Maybe it’s out of respect for the culture or from a belief that the “right” way tastes better, but whatever the reason, it’s holding us back from taking that leap into the exciting world of an ethnic cuisine. […]

Our pantries and fridges determine our dinner. […] Thai people are constantly creating new dishes, adding new twists to old classics, or simply throwing random stuff together … but can you call that “real Thai food” or even “authentic Thai food”? Or course you can. If what Thai people regularly eat at home isn’t authentic, then I don’t know what is. The thing is, most of what we eat isn’t what you find in restaurants, isn’t half as complicated, and may not even have a name.“

(Pailin Chongchitnant: Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home, Vancouver 2016, S. 22/23.)

Und noch eins aus dem ersten Buch, an das ich oft denke, wenn ich mir mal wieder vornehme, wenigstens ein Adobo, ein Pancit im Repertoire zu haben von tausend. Es geht um die Geschichte der Nudeln, die von China aus in den Philippinen landeten. Die Autorin erzählt, wie vermutlich chinesische Handelsreisende in den Philippinen strandeten, während sie auf Ware warteten.

„If our lonely Chinese merchant eventually married a Filipina – many did, since the wait for merchandise could be long, and many transients eventually made home here – she probably learned to cook the dishes he liked, but again only made fair approximations, because not only were her ingredients Philippine, but so was her taste, a panlasa born of her own growing up and traditions.

The noodle dishes became indigenized – acculturated, adapted to local ingredients, tastes, occasions. Eventually every region developed its own versions: fishing towns added oysters and squid, as in Pancit Malabon; rice-growing areas putting in a kind of crumbled okoy as in Pancit Marilao; inland und upland towns using sausages and available vegetables, etc. Eventually every cook, chef, housewife, developed his/her own signature version, thus all the noodles of our lives.

Pancit also adjusted itself to the occasions of our communal lives. On an ordinary day, it could be very simple – garlic, onions, tomatoes, sauteed with a bit of shrimp and pork or whatever vegetables were available, and whatever noodle is in the pantry. Or it could be cooked in the market and eaten off a banana leaf, as is the Pancit Habhab of Lucban, Quezon. Or it could be bought from the neighborhood panciteria and come wrapped in a cone of paper lined with banana leaf. […]

But if it is for a feast, then we gather oodles of makings, flake the tinapa, crumble the chicharron, pound the shrimps for the sauce, slice thin the kamias, soak the noodles in chicken broth and other condiments, etc. Or we order from the community’s beste pancit-maker, or from the aunt or lola who has made it her specialty. For pancit is as versatile and as flexible as Filipino lives are.“

(Fernandez 2020, S. 35/36.)

Vielleicht ändern sich unsere Essgewohnheiten nicht nur aus persönlichen Vorlieben oder Umzügen, sondern auch wegen des Klimawandels. Ein Forschendenteam aus Kanada hat sich dafür alte Speisekarten angeschaut. Der Artikelteaser nimmt die traurige Pointe schon vorweg: „In the 1880s, Vancouver’s seafood joints served lots of salmon. These days they serve squid.“

You Can Spot Climate Change in Old Restaurant Menus

„Climate change is an intensifying reality for the marine species that live near Vancouver and for the people who depend on them. In a new study, a team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) shows one unexpected way that climate effects are already manifesting in our daily lives. To find it, they looked not at thermometers or ice cores, but at restaurant menus.

“With a menu, you have a physical and digital record that you can compare over time,” explains William Cheung, a fisheries biologist at UBC and one of the study’s authors. […] The team gathered menus from hundreds of restaurants around the city, as well as from restaurants farther afield in Anchorage, Alaska, and Los Angeles, California. Current menus were easy to find, but digging into the history of Vancouver’s seafood proved a bit trickier. Doing so required help from local museums, historical societies, and even city hall—which the researchers were surprised to learn has records of restaurant menus going back more than a century—to compile their unusual data set. In all, they managed to source menus dating back to the 1880s.

Using their records, the scientists created an index called the Mean Temperature of Restaurant Seafood (MTRS), which reflects the water temperature at which the species on the menu like to live. Predictably, they found that the MTRS of Los Angeles was higher than that of Anchorage, with Vancouver falling in the middle. But by analyzing how the MTRS for Vancouver has changed over time, they found a significant trend of warmer-water species becoming more common on restaurant menus. In the 1880s, the MTRS for Vancouver was roughly 10.7 degrees Celsius. Now it is 13.8 degrees Celsius.“