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Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

I appreciate comments by Alexis and Fremont here. The issue of usurping other people's cultural heritage and profiting - both egotistically and materially - by assimilating elements for the appreciation of higher class people makes me sad, even as a middle class white man from the Fruitvale. Yet, while I highly value origin and history, I also am burdened with a tongue schooled in locally-grown, grass-fed, sustainable, bla bla, the value of which I cherish supporting in my defiance of industrial corporate food production. The race issue in Tsai's article is symptomatic of our shared American problem rooted in wealth differences, wealth is glamorized, envied, disdained, yet tacitly accepted. While I feel conflicted about Ramen Shop/Tacubayu/Comal/etc, I also can appreciate the audience that has enabled this creative and disciplined expression of food. While I lament the influx of bearded gentry into our Bay oasis, I cherish the educated/artistic/activist culture that existed before and laid the groundwork for appreciation of values in food.

Posted by Bankito on 08/25/2016 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

"Moore, on the other hand, said he only hopes that The Kebabery might act as a kind of gateway for the type of customer who will drive out of their way to dine at a Russell Moore restaurant, but might never set foot in any of the Bay Area's many excellent traditional kebab restaurants."

This is exactly the problem isn't it? That is exactly what's going to happen because he is making a "low/dirty" cuisine "safe" for white palettes. And the presence of his restaurant in this neighborhood is making a "low/dirty" neighborhood safe for people who would have never set foot there. He clearly has no interest in catering to the traditionally working class, primarily colored residents in this neighborhood. Rather, he is another person looking to capitalize on the comparatively lower rents in North/West Oakland because he knows that his upper class white clientele will follow. And when they do, they will have the same "epiphany" that West Oakland is actually not as bad as they thought it was and that it's "actually pretty cool and gritty". More hip restaurants by popular chefs and coffee shops will come (as if there aren't enough) and people with money will follow along with higher rents, continuing the rampent spread of gentrification in West Oakland.

In Moores case, The Kebabery itself isn't the problem. It's the location, and the lie that he is telling himself and the community that his intention is to contribute to the the existing neighborhood. Unless we're talking truly accessible price points and a truly welcoming and unpretentious vibe, I will continue to see this as exploitative.

Posted by Christina Young on 08/25/2016 at 9:19 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

HELLO WOW another new restaurant, so many coming in to West Oakland,and no local people will get jobs, or afford to eat. Over the years I've tried to get to know people and try for a job--no luck. a few weeks ago, that guy from NY was right--'what's next ? more outsiders, so locals lose out

al brown-chef-creole

Posted by Alan Brown on 08/25/2016 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

The City of Oakland has Wells Fargo in court for predatory lending...
Jerry Brown permitted the banks to engage in this criminal activity while he was Attorney General...
Brown cut city services while he was Mayor of Oakland and put Oakland in a deeper hole with the refinance of the predatory loan that the city had made with Goldman Sachs the year before he became Mayor...
At the same time that the bank was engaged in stealing homes in Oakland, they were engaged in a relationship with El Chapo Guzman's drug cartel...
The relationship generated $378 billion over an 18 month period...
Wells has been allowed to keep the profits from the predatory lending as well as from the relationship with Guzman.
All of the other banks have been given the same preferential treatment. this is why there is such a disparity in wealth and income in America...
Wells Fargo should be force to give Oakland $378 billion!!!
Read Facebook for the rest of this story,
"Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?"
Regards, Allen Sanford

Posted by Allen Sanford on 08/25/2016 at 5:11 AM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

What a great article that says it all. All you left out was the example of how Paula Dean appropriated recipes, and labor and a false identity to create her empire.

I've been saying it for years.....The U. S. has been held hostage, to the collective juvenile ego of American white people while they've been learning how to cook. Yes that's what we've been witness to....white people learning to cook. (Remember before this 'movement', white households ate, canned foods and frozen dinners.)

Yes, white people learning about food from growing it to preparing it; white people learning about spices and how they flavor and enhance meats and vegetables, white people discovering the foods of other cultures...oh I could go on, but the thing that gets me, is how the white mind, in it's inherent arrogance, now wishes to proclaim it's supremacy in the realm of food growing and cooking ~ When in fact, they are the last participant to the party. They are just now learning things, that Black, Latino, and Asian, and native indigenous people have KNOWN FOREVER...

Yet as always...they appropriate, and then create systems of hierarchy, awarding prizes, titles and fame upon themselves for things the learned from others ( IE: All the food and cooking networks and popular TV type cook-off programs TV).

The last element in their game is the commercializing of food and cooking. Exploiting it for profit. Food ...people !!! Earth's ultimate givingness. Nutrition, fuel, emotional fulfillment for the bodies of Earth's animals - 4 and 2 legged. Talking heads in the industry give us ridiculous creative labeling on menus and at Farmer's Markets about the source of a bean. And foodies spout off these descriptions and name-drop them like a designer label groupie.

These new to the kitchen, white chefs/cooks - professional and at home ~ never realize the fools that they look like to all the rest of humanity. Like the awkward child/man on the old Mad TV show, that demanded attention, as he spastically jumped up and down, crying out, "Look what I can do!!"

We, who bear the knowledge in our genes, souls and family legacies just shake our heads, and roll our eyes while we add a pinch and retreat to the memory of the way Grandma prepared it, we just 'stir on'....

Posted by Liz Lee on 08/25/2016 at 12:39 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

I support the soda tax, but am concerned that there's absolutely no discernible public presence of the advocates for it. I live in a poor, majority black neighborhood in north Oakland, and once or twice a week I get an expensive mailer from the beverage association, showing a small grocer, always a salt-of-the-earth nonwhite merchant, stating that he or she will be hurt by a "tax on groceries" if this law passes. If the advocates are being outspent by hundreds of thousands of dollars, why isn't there a pro-tax campaign to write letters to the editor, or op-ed pieces, or equal time rebuttals on TV and radio, none of which costs anything? There ought to be a public education campaign to the small grocers in poor areas, pointing out the damage those products do to their customers.
Laura Ingram

Posted by Laura Ingram on 08/24/2016 at 10:18 PM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.


Posted by Paul Merr on 08/24/2016 at 9:36 PM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

Right now, I do not trust any proposal originating from the Mayor's Office. Any property owner, who is not residing or registered to vote in Oakland will not be able to vote for or against this proposal. Further, I have little or no confidence in any internal City of Oakland accounting practices or capabilities. And to make matters even worse, there is no input from the City of Oakland City Auditors Office. Essentially, renters who are registered to vote can vote but property owners cannot. This is the worst proposal I have seen in years. I would urge a NO vote on this or any other tax proposal bearing the support and approval of the Oakland City Council.

Posted by Dennis the Menace on 08/24/2016 at 8:19 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

At Frank:

I won't address the opinion of individual choice except to say, with this measure choice isn't taken away. No one is banning sodas or other beverages. You still have the choice to buy.

Secondly, this isn't the only "tool" public health is using to improve the health of America. If you watched the segment on CBS This Morning that I posted above, they tell us that the FDA just approved requiring the food industry to include the amount of added sugars to nutrition labels. Also you can see currently plenty of food companies making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of corn syrup in their products. There are other efforts like menu labeling and using natural ingredients happening all over the country, most notably in California who has always been at the forefront of public health interventions.

So the Beverage industry isn't the sole target by any means.

But as I stated before, programming and education doesn't come free. The government alone can't pay for it all. This way we all have the opportunity to contribute, while enjoying an occasional beverage - if you choose. πŸ˜‰

Posted by Tonya Love on 08/24/2016 at 8:18 PM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

As a mortgage owner in Oakland who pays plenty of property tax and has just watched a rental across the street be occupied by new tenants who have 7 vehicles which they park in the street. I would rather see a vehicle tax increase so that those people who create the potholes contribute to their repair. It doesn't seem right that property owners are asked to fund a bond to repair the damage caused by large numbers of vehicles in the area.

Posted by alphie noakes on 08/24/2016 at 7:43 PM
Posted by Marísa Mendoza on 08/24/2016 at 7:23 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

"Tools" are something to be picked up and used or not picked up and used. "Tools" shouldn't be used to hit people's head or their pocket book. Who wants to make the first blow and "be a tool" for either side?

This is a power grab. Money is power grabbed out of our wallets. Stop tip toeing through the tulips of individual choice and freedom and instead EDUCATE about sugar. Start with why did the FDA make "sugar" part of the "food pyramid". This proposed law is dishonest by not addressing the matter (sugar) directly, but indirectly by beverage. Most all prepared food on the store shelf has added sugar. Who adds sugar to vegetables?! Yeck.

My id photo shows I am for individual human rights, meaning rights to whom owns the body. Forcing someone should never be necessary. Who wants to be forced? Right, so education is the answer.

Posted by Frank McGinness on 08/24/2016 at 7:02 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

OK , we taxed cigarettes to death (and to some being smuggle in).
I agree excessive sugar might be harmful to some people. But there must be a point where we let people decide their behavior. I know the people reading this who approve would get pissed, if "they" took your dangerous pot away.

Posted by stan miller on 08/24/2016 at 6:01 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Why is it on the restaurants to ask themselves why they're doing what they're doing? As long as they aren't explicitly selling themselves as something they are not, I don't see the problem.

I would love to see restaurants come together and discuss with each other and the community these types of issues, rather than grapple with them on an intimate level.

If the consumers are supporting restaurants that sell a veneer of authenticity, culture, and diversity, that's our collective responsibility to be more mindful and investigative in our consumption.

Posted by Timothy Ng on 08/24/2016 at 5:52 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

At Charlie Pine:

While, I share your hesitation to trust that the City Council will spend all of the funds as intended, if not the current electeds but any future elected officials, there are some accountability measures written into the ballot measure.

1. There will be a Committee who will make recommendations on how the money is to be spent. Members of the community who are public health professionals as well as members of the communities most effected by the tax.
2. The committee will write a report that is open to the public which will show how the money is spent (presumably in comparison to their recommendations) and the success of programs/education funded. So the public will be able to see if the the city spends the money responsibly and can respond.

You may say that these same measures were put into place for Measure Y (I don't know actually)..

But how effective these accountability protocols are depends on how strongly the community enforces it. As with anything, the city council responds and are "checked" by community pressure. There will be watch dogs (myself and can I assume, you too, if this passes) who will keep an eye on the money. πŸ™‚

Posted by Tonya Love on 08/24/2016 at 5:50 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Thanks, Luke. No easy answers here but humanity.

Posted by Jono Schneider on 08/24/2016 at 5:32 PM

Re: “Oakland's Street-Repair Deficit is Deep. The Mayor Says a $600 Million Bond Needed to Address the Problem.

No! No! No!
Oakland treats Home Loaners (notice I didn't say home owner..the bank owns my home) like endless cash cows. We already pay a ton of taxes, and get little in return. Where does all my money go anyway? How come Oakland doesn't have money for road repair during a record influx of money? Audit the city's expenses first, and tell us where all the tax money goes before asking for more money. If you want affordable housing money, ask all those out of state developers that are building profitable giant apartment buildings.

Posted by Joe Average on 08/24/2016 at 5:31 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Mr. Commentator under the moniker of reporter: Thanks for acknowledging your error on the basic mechanics of the proposed tax. You're halfway to accuracy. Distributors of beverages can recover the cost of the grocery tax by up-pricing any of the beverages they sell. You might like an increase in the price of beer, but that has nothing to do with sugar. Furthermore, the retailer, hit by increased cost, can up-price anything he sells from milk to diapers. However, congratulations on your search for a professor who mouths the opinion you want to publish. Prof. Auerbach might know law, but he clearly does not understand the first thing about comparative price elasticities, taught to students in micro-economics class.

If Ms. Love thinks the City of Oakland will spend most of the tax revenue on education, she should look at where Oakland spent its Measure Y "police staffing" revenue (hint: not on police staff), to mention only the most egregious example of broken commitments by City Hall.

The grocery tax is a regressive tax with a bit of lipstick on it to make trendy "progressive" politicians feel good while they enjoy the added revenue.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 08/24/2016 at 4:27 PM

Re: “'Big Soda' Argues Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales β€” But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Thanks for analyzing the facts behind the proposed Oakland ordinance and research on how it is playing out in Berkeley.
This is particularly important because of the blatant lies by Joe Arellano, the American Beverage Association, and the No campaign on the Oakland Soda Tax. It is a tax on sodas and on distributors, period. The only way they can hope to defeat the soda tax is through misinformation. Such an approach is disingenuous and shameful.

Posted by Jon Evans on 08/24/2016 at 2:52 PM

Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

What a perfectly complex subject for the Oakland community to debate! As a white male who loves all food from all cultures, I am already a customer of both the hole in the wall ethnic spots & places like Penrose. I love them all & I hope our community can strike the right balance to ensure all can make a decent living & keep all those good eats coming!

Posted by andrewdeangelo on 08/24/2016 at 2:35 PM

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