Bon Appetit's Recipe Audit and Attempt to Correct Course

I read an article recently from Bon Appetit in light of their administrative shuffle and exposure that they don't give people of color the same authentic recipe consideration or equal screen time as their white counterparts.

The article points out several recipes that were possibly not created with someone of the culture consulting. There is a difference between suggesting hard to find ingredients with similar but easier to find ingredients, but only if it's clearly stated. The author points out a Filipino dessert which is made with sweetened beans, jellied fruit, lychee, tapioca and flan, had a BA recipe give ingredients of gummy bears, berries and popcorn.   The author was dismayed - for them, it wasn't even a comparable reproduction and called into question the recipe creator's knowledge of the Filipino food culture.

The author points out other recipes that BA will be auditing in the future for cultural correctness and consistency. I looked at the Vietnamese Pho articles mentioned in the above link, and while they did interview a guy who probably has tasty pho in his restaurant, if he didn't say he was an expert on it, why was he interviewed? It's BA, these folks have connections and money to find an actual expert on the dish.

Then, the recipe in the article wasn't pho. It was a quick noodle soup. I don't know the majority of the readership of BA, but I know that if they're going to take time talk about a dish, I will want to make that dish as closely authentic as possible. I took a Pho cooking class about six years ago, and it was hard work - and the chef started the broth long before we got there (He started the bone broth cooking around 8am, and class started at 6pm) so that we were mostly dealing with the vegetables and meats that go into the broth instead of the broth that takes 4+ hours to correctly bring together.

I was surprised that they went on about the complex soup, but then posted a quick cooking soup even though the URL has the word "pho" in it, and the introduction of the recipe is "Pho is a long simmering aromatic stock..." and then "This is not that." Well, why even do this recipe? Were you tired? Did you think we were all busy moms that only have an hour between work and serving a hungry family, but we're bent on introducing the family some sort of ethnic dish to be trendy?

I haven't looked at the other recipes mentioned in the headlining article, but I did look at Pho since I've eaten a lot of it from different restaurants, made it with a chef, and failed at making it by myself. It's not an easy soup, but it is very rewarding, and if I had the correct ingredients and about 6 free hours, I would make it. Not a pale, poor imitation.


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