Sometimes it seems like social justice warriors have run out of things to be offended about. Case in point, food is now considered racist.
Caitlin Dewey of the The Washington Post interviewed author Sarah Lohman on Wednesday to discuss her book that chronicles America’s obsession with vanilla, Sriracha, black pepper, curry powder, chili powder, MSG, garlic and soy sauce. Each contributed to the journey of racism in the country.
That’s an entirely reasonable connection. Everyone who eats a chili dog can’t help but connect to white privilege.
America’s alleged racism comes from their decision on which country they allowed to influence their diet.
For instance, Chinese immigrants used soy in many of their ingredients, but it wasn’t until the Japanese opened up a plant in the U.S. that it became popular in the 1970s. Despite the fact that millions of Italian immigrants used it for more than half a century, garlic became popular when Julia Child began using it in most of her French-inspired food in the 1960s and 70s.
What’s Lohman’s only conclusion for this? Racism of course.
The Japanese and French were far more sophisticated than their Italian and Chinese counterparts, so they were able to influence those racist Americans.
It clearly has nothing to do with Japanese mass producing soy at a time when they were making many other products Americans were buying like televisions or cars. Child was able to have a greater appeal because there were no famous Italian-American chefs at the time.
But, nope, racism.
Lohman also claimed that Americans tend to embrace immigrant food before they accept immigrants themselves. A contradictory statement from her earlier claims about garlic and soy and full of half truths.
Italian-Americans were accepted before the 1970s when garlic was allegedly mass consumed. The country was listening to Frank Sinatra, Frankie Valli, Tony Bennet, and Dean Martin long before Child ever published her famous cookbook.
The author clearly misses the beauty of the free market in the picture of how immigrant food became widely acceptable to the American masses. It was the capitalistic instincts of Tom Monaghan to create Domino’s Pizza in 1960; Dan and Frank Carney who founded Pizza Hut in 1958; John Schnatter, the founder of Papa Johns in 1984; and Mike Ilitch, who created Little Caesars in 1959.
None of them were Italian. They were all Midwesterners with a dream, capital, and a great marketing plan. They were selling “Italianesque” cuisine long before Julia Child pushed garlic. Their restaurant chains were widely accepted and became a staple in American food.
The free market drove acceptance slightly ethnic food long, not the slow death of racism against people from Southern Europe.
It’s possible that a book doesn’t sell, though, it might be that a writer needs to talk about the evils of white patriarchal men to get a good book deal.