In the Book Food Chains: From Farmyard to Shopping Carts Jeffrey Pilcher’s chapter (Eating Mexican in a Global Age: The Politics and Production of Ethnic Food) presents a case study on the evolution of Mexican food from its regional origins to its arrival in the United States and finally its acceptance on the world culinary stage. He frames his discussion by asking the critical question:
In 1998 when we were living in Australia there was a gas shortage resulting from a terrible explosion at the Esso natural gas plant in Victoria. It was September, the end of winter, and not that winters in Melbourne are particularly virulent, but at the time I recall gloomy grey skies, chilling winds, and a sense that the world was nearing catastrophe.
I was eight, my brother had moved to America, so it was the three of us, my mother, father and I, in our drafty house with its floor to ceiling windows and cold tiled surfaces. Our stove was gas, as was our heating.
The 1980s saw an increase in ethnic restaurants in North America. Changes in immigration patterns due to political upheavals throughout the world resulted in new arrivals from Iran, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, Hong Kong and other areas of Asia, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of these immigrants started restaurants, first for their fellow ex-patriots and then for the broader population.
In my early twenties, I was living in London, England and working in Hachette French Bookshop, a small establishment on a narrow lane off Regent Street. It was a working holiday, following a student sojourn in France and a fanciful year in Cairo as a babysitter for a Canadian embassy family. One day, I was returning home to north London when I passed a table of books on the sidewalk outside a small shop.
The world of Kimchi
(UPDATED Apr 2019) – There is a common Korean saying that “if you have kimchi and rice, you have a meal.” Just like bread and butter in the western culture, kimchi and rice play a vital role in the Korean diet and has done so for many centuries as far back as 2,500 to 3,000 years ago. For those who are not familiar with it, the word “Kimchi” is used to describe the side dishes that come with every Korean meal.
They contain foods (often vegetables) preserved in salt or soy sauce that were stored (buried underground in a jar) for a period of time, and have gone through the fermentation process. Over time, kimchi has slowly evolved into its current form with the inclusion of additional ingredients like garlic, chili pepper, and salted seafood. It is not known of when exactly the word “Kimchi” was invented; the related terms were used initially around the 16th century.