Against "Authentic" Food

“Were authenticity buffs to base their beliefs on what appears regularly on tables in homes rather than on hearsay from other food adventurers and stagings by self-interested restaurateurs,” Glassner writes, “they would have to revise their views fairly radically. They would have to give up some of the popular dishes in ethnic restaurants, for a start, because in their countries of origin these are special-occasion foods eaten primarily at festivals and holidays, or in homes of the rich. In most places in the world, everyday cooking is exactly as the name implies — pedestrian.”

I am a "food snob", but unlike most of my fellow "food snobs'' -- such as my brother Tom, a poster here at RF -- I do not assume that the average people of Mexico or India eat much better than the average people in the US. I believe that although Mexican and Indian food is exotic to us Americans, the normal diets in those nations differ little from our own: composed mainly of refined sugar, denatured flour, MSG, food colorings, hydrogenated oils, and chemical preservatives. Thus when I seek "authentic" Mexican mole, I certainly possess no desire to consume the most popular mole in Mexico, nor even something made in somebody's grandmother's kitchen; I assume that such offerings would bring to my meal the same set basic food abortions that my own dear mom served me as a child. Instead I want "mole" made with natural ingredients. For me *that* is "authentic".

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