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

“Eat Food”: Sweet Tomato Soup with “Real” Ingredients

Sweet tomato soup served with grilled cheese

Sweet tomato soup served with grilled cheese

“There are in fact hundreds of foodish products in the supermarket that your ancestors simply wouldn’t recognize as food…”

­­––Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, whom most of us know from his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has a simple suggestion for his readers: “Eat food.” Not processed, chemically-altered food, he explains, but the kind of food that our ancestors could identify, that comes from a plant or an animal. In his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, he questions how we define food. Should we assign that label to anything we eat, or should we apply the term more frugally, to that which nourishes and enriches our bodies? Continue reading