Dilemma or Delinquent

Delusional or Delinquent: The Delimma

“As a culture we seem to have arrived at a place where whatever native wisdom we may once have possessed about eating has been replaced by confusion and anxiety.” – Michael Pollan


Foooood… It’s beautiful, and it’s repulsive. It’s fragrant, and it’s putrid. It’s delicious, and it’s disgusting. It’s sweet and sour. It’s natural and artificial. It can save a life with its nutrients, but it can just as easily take one with its poison. The point is that food is currently thought of by our culture as an entitled commodity described by the visual attributes, scented aromas, and tasted textures. However, in reality, it serves only one purpose: energy. Continue reading

Gazpacho, My Dear Watson: Innovation in Cooking

 “For years, a down-home sensibility with an obsession for quality and seasonality was the backbone of Hastings’ concept. But amid the hoopla, Hot and Hot has in some ways become Haute and Haute.”

–Eric Velasco, “Success Has Not Spoiled Hot and Hot Fish Club”12784523_10206977711696015_1913390934_n

Chris Hastings is, by all accounts, one of the most prolific chefs on the Birmingham food scene.  He’s won awards, been featured on television, and bested Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America (my personal favorite of the overly dramatic Food Network cooking competitions). Although he owns two other restaurants in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, the Hot and Hot Fish Club is his longest-running—it opened in 1995—and most popular establishment. Eric Velasco, when reviewing the restaurant, was pleased to find that Hastings’s growing fame “has brought new maturity to the menu while the food continues to be inspirational.” Continue reading

Tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro, and lime.

Trading Games: U.S., Mexico, and the Food in Between

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“Trade between farmers, foragers, and fishers has gone on in the Sonoran Desert for millennia, long before an international boundary split the region in half.” – Gary Paul Nabhan

Where does your food come from? Growing up in the Sunshine State of Florida, I rarely questioned that. All my favorite foods seemed to come from my backyard. Literally–  my neighborhood flourished on top of an old orange grove, with many of the original trees still inhabiting our backyards. But, it turns out I was wrong about where the rest of my Florida favorites came from. Most heart-wrenchingly, the shrimp I had grown up peeling at our Thanksgiving lunches were not from the salty shores I knew, but rather, somewhere across the Gulf.

I’m not the only one surprised at the origins of their favorite foods, however. Gary Paul Nabhan explores the trade of foods between the United States and Mexico in his essay, “A Brief History of Cross-Border Food Trade.” He, too, was surprised to find out “three-fifths of the fresh produce [people] buy and eat [is] harvested from the West Coast of Mexico” along with most fish and shrimp (156). Nabhan admits he was unaware of this discrepancy even while living just miles from the Mexican border in Arizona. Continue reading

The Edible Hyphen


“I should mention before you envision me slaving away in a kitchen to create the perfect dumpling that the ones I like come out of the freezer.”

– Lily Wong

What does it mean to be multi-cultural? As a Chinese- American Lily Wong grapples with her clashing culinary identity in her article “Eating the Hyphen.” Wong depicts a meal of traditional Chinese dumplings prepared and devoured in an unorthodox manner that few outside of her family would recognize. Wong is able to blend her two gastronomic cultures into one by simply utilizing a diverse utensil combination of a fork, a knife, and chopsticks—then adding ketchup.

Lily Wong depicts her favorite dish of dumplings: “Thick and chewy and starchy and the bottom should be a bit burnt and dark golden brown from the pan-frying” (40). Her descriptions of the perfect brown skin are quickly accompanied by a vague description of the traditional mystery meat and veggies that erupt from inside of the dumpling with the first juicy slice, smash, or bite. Continue reading