Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Artsy Wednesday: Forget Local, Let's Go Global?

Local, local, local. We're hearing a lot about it, right?

And rightly so. Local ingredients are great for local economies, they're good for the environment, they're often cheaper than alternatives, and most importantly to me, they taste really good. But there's something that's bothered me about the prevalence of the "local" argument: somehow it's coexisting with the demise of regional cuisine (that I've written about before here, and that was summarized elegantly and excellently by Salma Abdelnour here).

How is this possible? Why can't we glorify local flavors along with local ingredients? Are chefs who don't live in highly esteemed food towns afraid to really celebrate their locations?

As I've said before, it's not that I completely dislike global cuisine. I majored in international relations! I love globalism! Bring on the fusion, I say. Just not everywhere.

But in the spirit of embracing the way things are, instead of just lamenting how I wish they were, I give you two cool, artsy, interesting maps of the world. The first (courtesy of my brother) is a map of the languages of Europe. The diversity is not exactly surprising, but a good reminder, nonetheless. I would, actually, like to cross this map with a visual showing different regional dishes. Or maybe even just one dish, but the different names it has - like salt cod cakes.

The other map is a little more entertaining - it's from The Onion. Just full of fun facts that are true, but also gently mock the countries they reference. This week, the featured country is "Colombia: South America's Middleman". Makes me laugh.

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