“This is America. I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan, then served by a Venezuelan, in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.” – Colbert today at Congress
Watch and read more here on The Times’ site.
Does this look like America to you?
It’s true! Immigrants are taking over the food world! And now their influence has even spread to the grocery store. The WSJ reports today that Flushing, Queens, where the Asian population is growing, is experiencing food conflict because older residents are feeling marginalized. The one grocery store that catered to them has closed, and now they are forced to shop at New York Mart, a market that specializes in Asian food. (The WSJ calls it “”the Asian store,” which I think it wrong unless they are selling Asians.)
“All they have is is just one aisle of food for us,” says Rosa Febles. “We feel a little left out.” Non-Asians are also complaining about signage in Chinese and Korean. Wah!
OK, actually I get feeling bereft at not being able to find your favorite foods. When I lived in Ithaca for one horrible year in the 80s, the scarcity of decent salsa was a constant complaint amongst me and my fellow Californian ex-pats. But it is really interesting to me to see this playing out in Queens, on the same day that we talked about the way the food world is inclusive in some ways and exclusive in others. There are a lot of people who go to Queens just to shop at the Asian groceries and eat at the restaurants, but clearly some locals are (literally) not buying it.
This seems like the sort of thing a community pot luck could go a long way to generate good will. BYO Entenman’s and Pad Thai.
It’s not all bad news for immigrants these days. The Obama administration is taking the Arizona apartheid immigration law to court, and folks in Massachusetts are welcoming foreign vegetables to their soil and their markets! I assume it was some white person who gave them the clever name of “ethnic crops,” but the sentiment–growing “non-native vegetables that appeal to a growing market of African, Asian and Latin American immigrants,” is one I can get behind. After all, it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty, and I once tried to find jicama in Ithaca, NY. I think this vegetable diplomacy has legs, much like the jalapeno above. But are there ethnic crop circles?