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15 minutes ago, Anthony Bonner said:

Unadorned spleen was the low point of my dining at St. John

And spleen on a bun my first time in Florence - oy.

13 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

Out to lunch at Les Halles with a co-counsel.

CO-COUNSEL:  I like French food much more in America than in France.  In France, they try to make you eat all these weird body parts.

lawyers.

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Cheese was exotic in New York twenty years ago (real cheese other than Italian).

As appropriately noted in the correct thread, the Beard Awards just noticed they are woefully out of touch and scuttled. 

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I have been re-reading for the thousandth time Digby Anderson’s reactionary but often correct Imperative Cooking. See the chapter on “plain food,” where the English middle class will accept a plate of pickled salad items, dressed in salad cream, topped with a gala pie (minced pork with egg in a hot water crust) as plain, while rejecting anything like pork rillettes, or salad with oil and vinegar, or some simple seafood with lemon, as not plain, but “exotic.”

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34 minutes ago, Orik said:

Hey, America, what's more exotic - spicy ground beef tacos, or stuffed spleen? lemongrass chicken or jellied feet?

Case rested.

None of those are exotic, rather sound like take-out options.   But, hey, I’m from California.

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I should also note that the folly of trying to open a place like White Gold Butchers in such a bougie mainstream neighborhood as the UWS in Manhattan became apparent to me when every single friend I have on the UWS refused to return there after trying it once because it served too much of what those people derisively termed "mystery meat."

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2 hours ago, small h said:

In the same way that I experience gumbo or hot dish or plate lunches as exotic (well, not anymore, really, but you get the idea). I do not see what the difference is.

Exactly.  There IS no difference.

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47 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

Exactly.  There IS no difference.

Well, now I'm really confused. I thought you were arguing that my foodways (Bronx, white, Jew-y) were not "real" foodways, because my people are ... Tribal? Not American? Too scarce? I don't really need to know. But I'd like to know.

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I'm arguing that they're not "real" American foodways.  They're foreign foodways here.  Sure, there are plenty of Americans who are from the group to which they're native.  But we're still something like only 2% of the population.  To everyone else, this food is exotic.  You wouldn't go up to some random person in Iowa and expect them to know what gribenes are.

That doesn't make us any less "American" than anyone else.  It just makes our ethnic food less "American".  Cuz except for something like bagels and lox, which has been adopted by the mainstream to the extent that my pal Nathan didn't even know it was Jewish, it isn't.

Look, I have a very good friend who comes from the Toronto Greek community.  It's a very big, very well established community.  Her mother is the best baker I've ever encountered.  (The mom and I are very good friends because when my friend and her sisters demur when the third successive plate of celestial baked goods comes out, I always insist we hang out and have a taste or four.)  But her mother would never claim her baking is Canadian:  it's Greek.  She's lived in Canada for most if not all of her adult life, but she's making superb Greek food.  Not Canadian food.

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Meanwhile, to people here up North, Gumbo is about as foreign as rillettes.  Unlike, say, in France, where a regional dish like Cassoulet is still part of the common culture.

Don't misunderstand me.  I oppose Nativism with every fiber of my being.  (Politics again:  so shoot me.)  I think our relative sometime openness to immigrants has been a huge source of strength and renewal for our country.  And I think immigrants (such as my grandparents) are as American as anyone else.  But that doesn't mean I have to think our country has a strong native food culture as a result.  Or that, say, tacos de sesos, much as I love them, are mainstream American food.

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