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Monday, December 12, 2011

Mr. Id, Food Ethnocentrist

Mr. Id is unafraid of being called an ethnocentrist for this narrow circumstance: Don't ask him to patronize an ethnic restaurant when those preparing the meals have no trace of the ethnicity in question.

Although Mr. Id doesn't necessarily need to hear Italian spoken by the cooks in an Italian restaurant, it is preferable to Russian or German. Because Mr. Id speaks only English (giving him added credibility as an ethnocentrist) he might have difficulty differentiating some languages from others. However, Polish or Slav cooks working in Mexican, Thai, or Lebanese restaurants are advised to remain silent; even a mono-linguist can usually pick out auditory clues that blatant.

The ethnicity of cooks in a diner remains an open issue. Given the number of choices on diner menus, a United Nations contingent would be necessary in those kitchens to fully satisfy Mr. Id's requirement. But just for the record, Mr. Id usually bypasses any diner that doesn't feature Spanikopita. And he also pays careful attention to the name of the proprietor when advertised, looking for first names like Stavros or Eleni. Last names for women proprietors in diners - not real reliable. Try instead asking for the pronunciation of "gyro" and if a man or woman proprietor says "jiro" (hard "J" and long "I") instead of something close to "yiddo" (rhymes with "kiddo"), run the other way. Guaranteed the Spanikopita will stink and much else will be sub-par.

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