When a traditional dish is renamed by white recipe developers, what do we lose?
As the food media landscape continues to grow, dishes merge and origin stories are often lost or whitewashed. Earlier this year, Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi posted a video recipe for what she called “flaky bread.” Tosi omitted descriptions of inspiration for the recipe, and critics on social media called it for what it was: South Asia’s paratha. Similarly, in 2014, Bon Appétit published a recipe for another “flaky bread” developed by Alison Roman. But it wasn’t until June of 2020, after food media began to unearth its racial inequities, that the magazine updated the name to include malawah and added a headnote to state it was inspired by a Yemeni dish. What we decide to call a recipe can often separate it from its audience and cultural origin. These naming conventions are used to adhere to a mainstream audience, but who is it really for? Bettina Makalintal at Vice has the story.