It’s ironic that being an active participant in life sometimes gets in the way of documenting said life. Which has been the case with our poor blog. Is that irony or just what happened? I asked Alanis but it’s definitely not like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Let’s just say in the future I promise to update you, our loyal readers, with more tidbits from The Wooden Table. Yeah, believe it or not, this blog is more than a utilitarian repository for our dinner menus, so keep coming back for more!
Alas, it’s time for yet another installation of your favorite underground dining experiment, The Wooden Table. This week’s meal is an inspired one, ( . . . pausing for humorous intent) LITERALLY (booyah! didn’t see that one coming did you?). As fans of The Wooden Table will know, we love the sound that cultures make when they collide. As hard as we try to stay away from words like “fusion” and “health inspector” the fact remains that both are very real parts of food culture. You can ask our friends at Forage SF about the health inspector part.
Curry is from England, Spaghetti isn’t Filipino
and there is no Santa Clause.
Like soy sauce splashed across the recipes of your favorite cookbook, the mashing of cultures and the yummy slurry that was left behind is well documented in the pages of history. Just ask those Indian guys that invented curry or those Filipino ladies that discovered the art of the hot dog and thought they’d mighty tasty in their spaghetti. Oh wait . . .
Ok so the Filipino spaghetti thing was a low blow, find me a 2nd gen Filipino-American kid that doesn’t love it and I’ll show you a tragic case of lost identity (sorry another shot below the belt). Let’s just chalk this up as another kind of red sauce trail, something for another post maybe.
“If you don’t like it, I don’t like it”, said the easily confunded foodie.
Right about now you’re thinking, “Well now you’ve got me thinking. Fusion doesn’t seem so bad, so why do all the cool chefs and foodies $#!+ on it so much?” Well the answer is, bad foodies are like monkeys flinging feces at the word “fusion” solely because of what they read in twitters and blogs and, you know, all the cool chef kids are like totally doing it. You know what they say about monkeys and seeing (zing!).
Marketing Semantics and Foams
But the good chefs and eaters out there have a better reason for hating on the trend, besides the fact that it’s more played out than that Gucci Gucci song, more often than not it’s more con-fusion than fusion (applause). People who do it poorly hap-hazardly throw together flavor profiles. They also don’t give ingredients their due respect and the use of incorrect techniques result in authenticity issues. All of those missteps tend to result in bad food. So with the anti-fusion cloud looming so heavily in the air, who would dare put “fusion” on their menu?
As is also quickly becoming the case with that molecular gastronomy thing that all the kids are talking about (tangent alert!). Everyone’s doing it but not everyone’s admitting to it. America’s favorite bad boy chef/food writer summed it up, “It seems like the only people still calling it molecular gastronomy are the people who aren’t doing it well.” Take the poster child of the molecular gastronomy movement, the foam. More and more chefs are becoming ashamed of them. Foams aren’t even called foams anymore. “Frothy sauce”? “Air emulsion”? Thanks for the sudsy memories Marcel.
Talk less, eat more.
With that rant behind us, maybe now we can get to something that matters, the food. Yeah I’ll say it, it’s a fusion menu. And guess what else, it’s Japanese fusion (Bay Area eaters might remember Japanese as the culture that was most offended by the fusion mayhem of the 90’s). All the dishes are inspired by Japanese ingredients, techniques and flavors, and paired with some other ethnically diverse friends. Our diners this week will be celebrating a birthday with us, so all in all, it should be a raucous good time. Take a look at all that tasty fusion: