Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Case for Authentic Cuisine

Here's a blast from the past in the form of an essay by Colman Andrews, in the October 2004 issue of Saveur:

An authentic recipe ought simply to be one that accurately reflects the way a dish was originally made, right? If only it were that easy. The term authentic is usually applied to traditional cuisine, and the problem is that traditional cuisine isn't created from recipes. It grows out of the lives that people who cook it - their geography, their history, their religion, their socioeconomic status. It is inspired by the world in which its creators live, imbued with the lesons of that world, and passed down a generation at a time, with infinite variation...

But the point isn't really whether or not a recipe can be authentic; it's more whether we can be. Can we ever really cook authentic traditional cuisine if we're not part of the tradition to which it is authentic?

So how does this apply to the art of restaurant criticism in Honolulu? I'll leave that for the rest of you to discuss.

UPDATE 10/31/2005: Those of you who think that I'm painting all restaurant reviewers with a broad sponge brush should rest easy that I love 'em all. Well, except for that putz who reviewed the Mexican restaurant two weeks ago for a certain publication with the word "Weekly" in their name, to whom this post is dedicated. Chin-chin!

No comments: