Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun
Highly useful kitchen gadget

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fusion Cuisine.

The following definition of Fusion cuisine is taken from wikiedia and was not written by me...........

Fusion food is a general term for the combination of various forms of cookery and comes in several forms. Regional fusion combines different cuisines of a region or sub-region into a single eating experience. Asian fusion restaurants, which combine the various cuisines of different Asian countries, have become popular in many parts of the United States and United Kingdom. Often featured are East Asian, South-East Asian, and South Asian dishes alongside one another and offering dishes that are inspired combinations of such cuisines. California cuisine is considered a fusion culture, taking inspiration particularly from Italy, France, Mexico, the idea of the European delicatessen, and eastern Asia, and then creating traditional dishes from these cultures with non-traditional ingredients - such as California pizza. Other examples of this style include Tex-Mex, which combines Southwestern United States cuisine and Mexican cuisines, and Pacific rim cuisine, which combines the different cuisines of the various island nations.[2]
In Australia, due to the increasing influx of migrants, fusion cuisine is being reinvented and is becoming increasingly the norm at numerous cafes and restaurants; with Melbourne and Sydney now being considered as some of the best cities in the world with regard to the quality and creativity of Asian-fusion restaurants.[citation needed] Another incarnation of fusion cuisine implements a more eclectic approach, which generally features original dishes that combine varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and regions. Such a restaurant might feature a wide variety of dishes inspired by a combination of various regional cuisines with new ideas.[citation needed]
Foods based on one culture, but prepared using ingredients and flavors inherent to another culture, are also considered forms of fusion cuisine. For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans or other common taco ingredients is often marketed as "Taco Pizza".[3] This particular dish is a fusion of Italian and Mexican cuisines. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients such as curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves, which resembles inside-out dolmades.

The following section is written in my own words!

 But the question has to be asked, is Fusion cuisine really as new as we think it is? To answer this requires some delving back into the annals of time and history. Many items of food that we very much take for granted here in the UK are probably not really as British as we think they are. Take for example thing such as carrots, cabbage and rosemary. These are all seen as being quintessentially British but the reality of the matter is that these common food items were actually introduced to Britain by the Romans. So, as a result of this, much of what is considered to be traditional or classical British cuisine could actually be seen as being a form of Fusion cooking.

Another common feature of British cooking is the potato. There actually was a time when we did not eat potatoes here in the UK due to the fact that they are not native to our shores. The potato ( often seen as being a humble ingredient) actually originates from South America and was not known in this country until Elizabethan times when it was brought here by none other than Sir Walter Raleigh.

Much of what we consider to be Italian food is also a form of fusion cooking. When you seriously think about it, how many Italian dishes feature the tomato in one form or another? There must be thousands but these should all really be considered as Fusion dishes due to the fact that, until Columbus made his first voyage to the New world, there were no tomatoes growing in or native to Europe.

There are so many things that we use in our daily food consumption that are not truly British, Take for instance Tomato ketchup, something which is seen as been typically British. However, if you give some serious consideration to the ingredients that go into your ketchup, where do they actually originate from? Take for instance the key flavouring, tomatoes, which as I have already pointed out originate from South America. Then there are the various spices which originate from India and other points in Asia. The same can be said of Brown sauce, (HP and Daddies, for example). Both of these contain tamarind and other spices that are not native to the UK but actually originate from Asia and India.  And Worcestershire sauce is another food item that is synonymous with Britain and yet all of the ingredients used in this great sauce are of Indian or Asian originate.

Another area of interest is Indian cuisine, although the stuff you get in most so called Indian restaurants here in the UK would be unrecognisable to anyone on the sub continent. The word curry in India actually means gravy (or sauce) and is very rarely used in the culinary vocabulary of that vast country. The whole idea of curry as we know it in Britain dates back to the days of the British Raj and the returning expatriates bringing back various spice blends so that they could continue to eat the spicy foods to which thay had become accustomed during their posting on the sub continent.

The list of food items that we all too often take for granted is vast but a few other prime examples that are not of British origin but are staples in our daily diet are Avocados, chocolate, chillies, sweet corn and turkey. All of these originate from the New World and yet it is very hard to imagine life without them.

So next time you hear any form of criticism of the whole idea and concept of Fusion cuisine, then give some serious thought to the points that I have made here. And as for the concept of a truly unique and British cuisine, does such a thing really exist?

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