On 6/21/05, Tom Chappell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Well, I grew up in southeast Texas, which lies right at the confluence
> of the TexMex and Cajun food-cultures, both of which are spicier than
> the cuisines they stem from (Mexican and French respectively), and also
> spicier than the stuff Yankees eat :)

For Tex-Mex vs Mexican:

Spicier = hotter? Not really
Spicier = flavorful? I'd agree.

Here, we haven't really developed a regional fusion of Mexican, only
probably because we've only had an influx of Mexican Immigrants since
the 1960's or so, so whatever cuisine we have is all regional or what
they make at home, rather than being adapted and fused. Mexican
culture seems a bit slow to really do a lot of the incorporation and
experimenting the East Asian cultures here have done.

> (Europeans I've met have often remarked that 'America has no cuisine',
> which is true, but only superficially so. The problem is that America
> is not a nation in the sense that European countries are; America has a
> number of regional and local cuisines, but no cuisine that every part
> of the country shares.)

America is like a bunch of smaller nations united under one flag, in
the cuisine sense. Sort of like saying "Europe has no cuisine".

California cuisine is typically defined as old world and Asian cooking
techniques with the ingredients available in California, with an
emphasis on fresh, lean ingredients. Euro/Asian blends seem to be
popular, as well as a bent towards either something French or Italian.
Seafood is particularly popular. Rice and pasta are the main grains.
East Asian,  Indian, and South East Asian spices tend to figure into a
lot of the dishes called "Californian" .Mexican ingredients are
beginning to figure into Californian cuisine also.

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley is credited for starting it,
and Wolfgang Puck for popularizing it.

I think one thing that is truly Californian in origin is the Cobb Salad.

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