Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Multiculturalism: pros and cons

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsin4 View Post
What if an American of Chinese descent called it a Chinese restaurant and said that, as a member of the Chinese diaspora, he or she was part of Chinese culture?
There's a case to be made if a large group of Chinese people formed and enclave and called themselves part of Chinese culture, and even then, cultures have a way of diverging, and soon such a claim would no longer be very valid. A single person who is not embedded in such a cultural bubble can also hardly can make that claim.
A single person 'of Chinese descent' really can't make much of such a claim with much validity.

As for you, Penchant, "Either way it is a Chinese Restaurant, but it will mean different things to different people", if that statement is correct, then "Chinese Restaurant" is simply a bunch of sounds (or symbols) devoid of meaning, because they can mean whatever you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikul View Post
As for you, Penchant, "Either way it is a Chinese Restaurant, but it will mean different things to different people", if that statement is correct, then "Chinese Restaurant" is simply a bunch of sounds (or symbols) devoid of meaning, because they can mean whatever you want.
Yes. That is a fundamental truth of language. It's all made up with no inherent meaning.

Edit: Language works when it has common use and people accept the words to mean the same thing, regardless of how it got that way. For the majority of Americans, using the verbiage 'Chinese Food' works because it calls up a common body of information. People also form smaller groups by changing their usage of the words to separate themselves from the rest. Someone might seek out what they call 'authentic Chinese food', expecting to get away from the typical fare of a Hunan Express. But even that isn't right, because there is no one 'Chinese Food' that is authentic. I live in a predominantly Vietnamese and Chinese part of town and the 'Chinese' restaurants are more identified by their form of regional cuisine; Mostly Cantonese and Szechuan. And of course the Chinese people who go to these restaurants don't call it Chinese food either. They just call it food .

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyJaeger View Post
What most people consider to be Mexican cuisine, is actually a fusion of American and Mexican cuisines.
Are you referring to Tex-Mex?

My admittedly weak understanding is that there are 6 or 7 quite distinct major regional cuisines in China, each divided into a number of smaller cuisines associated with a particular city and that the American version is very loosely based on only one of them (as it existed over a century ago to boot) with some borrowing from other Chinese cuisines and a lot of substitution of more "Western/American" ingredients and flavors. It is "Chinese" in the sense that it was primarily originated by Chinese immigrants and their descendants and drew inspiration from food actually eaten in China.

Food ethnography is a fascinating and very complex subject with which I have only a passing acquaintance. Any country larger than say Lichtenstein usually has multiple regional cuisines, which can vary immensely. We talk about food from particular countries as if everyone from those countries ate the same thing, but just as a crude example, look at the difference between food from the north or south of Italy. Or New York vs Chicago (and it's more than just pizza), let alone New Orleans. But if I talk about Italian food, we probably have similar images in mind, no matter how technically inaccurate that label is.

I love German and Italian food, personally.

It's weird, despite coming from an ethnic background composed almost exclusively of German/Swiss immigrants and one that has a few distinct culinary elements of its own, I have very little familiarity with German food and find it quite different from anything I ate growing up. Tasty though.

It's very hearty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkWren View Post
I love food. Sometimes too much.
Sometimes? I wish it was only sometimes for me.

I've been trying to lose weight, so I've managed to cut it down to "sometimes" instead of "always."




 

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