From the studios of WNYC, Dan Pashman and Anne Noyes Saini produce The Sporkful, which, put simply, is a podcast about food. In a recently launched series called "Other People's Food," Pashman and a series of guests dig into what's currently a very hot topic in the food world: race, food, and cultural appropriation.
In a city rife with foods from all cultures and countries, Pashman dives into issues that arise when people eat, cook, and change the food from a culture "they weren't born into." A previous episode of "Other People's Food" featured Chicago chef Rick Bayless, and the chef has drawn some major criticism for his comments on cooking Mexican food as a white man. The next episode of features actress Rosie Perez, an actress and activist who was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents.
"You know it's so insulting when people go, ‘Do you still eat rice and beans?' And I go, ‘Are you still an idiot?' Yes, I still eat rice and beans, yes I still eat a lot of Puerto Rican food, but I like all kinds of food," she tells Pashman. "You don't see me as a human being first? You see me as rice and beans first. That's why it's insulting. And it doesn't take away my pride for my culture at all."
Pashman steers the conversation toward putting people into boxes and forming assumptions based on the foods someone eats or where they're from. For Perez, "it's an assumption that you have never ventured out and haven't eaten outside of your culture — that you're limited in the ways of the world, so it has a lot of negative connotations to it."
Elsewhere in the episode, Perez discusses her first trip to Puerto Rico and trying new foods that connected her to her roots. Listen to excerpts from the next Other People's Food episode featuring Rosie Perez, below; the episode will be available for download tonight via iTunes.
Listen: Rosie Perez on Stereotyping
Listen: Rosie Perez on Her First Trip to Puerto Rico