Following Tradition - what is real?
2022 has started and I have been itching to write. As I contemplate what I need to succeed, I ask what others are doing right. Can I do what they do?
We live in a world where Tik Tok, Instagram and other platforms can launch careers. Actually give someone their bread & butter. Views, likes and follows measures success.(Or does it?) The more engagement - the more monetization and sponsorships.
You will even see follower and subscriber counts from other platforms posted. These credentials scream out - this why you should sign up too (via follow or by subscribing). This is why you should invest in me. Is it putting their best foot forward?
Ask yourself - what motivates the content creator. What does the creator do with their influence? Do they give back? What legacy will they leave behind?
It is easy to say promoting businesses is helping. What is the story being told? A narrative is spawned as much by what is shown as it is by what isn’t shown. As a creator, I like to consider the history, the culture and community. While other creators may be focused on what is on brand, performance and the algorithm.
It is really something how people will come after you in the comments, DMs etc. People are passionate about their opinions, beliefs and loyalties. As if their was only one major record - people are always ready to set it straight.
So much so that you might call them cultural missionaries. Recipes and preparation can be as precious as sacraments and political party memberships. People want to hold on and guard their culture. Cultural appropriation wasn’t as hot a topic before now. In the past few years, I have heard it more and more. Why? The fear of losing. Ownership.
So how about following tradition? First of all, we need to know what is real and what is for show. Influencers can be talented entertainers, models and trend setters. Bells and whistles are great but I am in it for more. The best posts are ones that have me taking screenshots or notes. Enriching.
Before fusion and innovation, we want the real deal. How often have you heard - have you had the real deal? You often see the real or the original being a major message on restaurants and other businesses. When I look over a menu, nothing is more tempting than the real deal. So what is real? Is it all about tradition?
Cuisine - a style or method of cooking,
especially as characteristic of a
particular country, region, or
establishment. With that in mind, the origins of food both the where and the who are significant. No matter the station in life, most inherit recipes or at least a love for particular cuisines.
Flavors, aroma and textures often make us nostalgic. Allegiances are drawn because of these strong feelings. For example, whether beans go in chili or does ketchup go on tamales. Is Pineapple an acceptable pizza topping? Is Taco Bell Mexican food? How about Chipotle Mexican Grill? Something I face as a Texan is Tex-Mex versus Mexican. Sometimes you get one while expecting the other. A lot of times I end up looking over a menu with both.
Without being a chef or culinary expert - how do you know what you are eating? You have the option of doing the research. If that is not your bag - make friends with someone in the know. I love networking with other foodies, chefs and beyond. Learning from others or getting a lead is the best. It is much harder to keep on top of the foodie scene on your own.
Consider how many varieties of refried beans exists within Mexico. Imagine loyal bean fans debating real deal Mexican beans. Mexican beans are red, brown, yellow or black. My answer would be they are all the real deal. Despite the fact that I grew up with black refied beans in my dad’s restaurant.
That’s not how my grandmother did it. My mom would roll over in her grave if she saw you add that to the pot. There are those fighting to keep recipes the same. Others are living for innovation. Foodies like me love and appreciate both. It is so funny. I have family who won’t go just anywhere for tacos. I have family that won’t try something just because I say they should.
The best approach could be appreciating cuisine the way you would a bottle of wine. I am no wine expert by any stretch of the imagination. However, wine is as much about the plantation as it is about the grape. When you describe a wine’s flavor, you use ingredients, atmosphere characteristics and personality traits. When you read the bottle you see the year, the name and possibly the vineyard. So why not extend this methodology to food?
Classic dishes are almost infinite. When you hear about how a dish origin, you often hear multiple accounts supplemented with speculation. Although, most will agree with for example that the best Mexican food is served in Mexico. That I am not going to debate here. I will say great Mexican food can be found anywhere. (not everywhere) Great Mexican food can be prepared by anyone. (not everyone)
So is tradition the real deal? What do you think? Whose side are you on?
Who do you follow? What are you doing for those that follow you?
If you made it this far - thank you! I really appreciate it. Comment an emoji below. See you were theres good food. Don’t forget to say Hi.