Is it really Sephardic? Is it Sephardic enough?
Ethnic food is born and evolves out of common cultural experience and worldview. There’s no law against creating your own modern Sephardic recipes and no need to think you can’t do a riff on someone else’s version of a traditional one, either. We can be become so obsessed with preserving our culture that we tend to deny ourselves permission to experiment, or to accept someone else’s interpretation of something as valid, even if they’re from within the same culture. This holds true for any people (but probably with a higher level of anxiety when they’re propagandized as being extinct!). But it’s openness and experimentation that keep all cultures alive and interesting, and that can also get things back on track if they’ve lost their connection to a basic principle. If you do lose touch with the fundamentals of your own culinary heritage, if you start using too many shortcuts and too many substitutions, you deviate so far from your roots that you’re left not so much with a pale imitation of the real article as with something virtually unrecognizable. Continue reading