People are on the move more globally than ever before, travelling, emigrating, fleeing, or simply moving to a new place halfway across the world. Our cultures are no longer homogenous, and food combinations reflect that mobility as well. The melding of food cultures across borders is nothing particularly new as emigrants have always brought their traditions and recipes with them. Catherine de Médicis jumpstarted French cuisine as we know it when she moved from Italy to France to become queen, and the Irish brought their soda bread, corned beef and cabbage with them across the ocean. Pu pu platters and Tex-Mex dishes are more recent pop culture crossover foods, as is pineapple pizza.
But now we're jumping much more crazily across the globe, and that produces zanier combos yet. Several years ago, we went to a high end Chinese- Peruvian restaurant, a food combination I was unable to imagine, but that turned out to have been one of the most amazing food experiences ever. I regularly make hummus, the traditional Middle Eastern chickpea dip, with any legumes I have on hand, whether lentils, white, black or kidney beans - unconventional for Middle Easterners to say the least. Hummus mixed with avocado is another recent combination that reaches all the way to Mexico from the Levant. Quinoa and vegan sushi are newfangled New World interpretations of the Japanese raw fish and rice classic. Asian flavors in general have infiltrated international cooking everywhere, and a dash of soy sauce in my French vinaigrette transports me to a place almost diametrically opposed on the globe. Asian tofu has settled in for good in the Western world thanks to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism where it’s become a welcome and versatile protein addition.
What zany cultural mixes happen in your kitchen? You may have to think twice because we forget how globally we’re oriented.