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    Cultural Appropriation in Food (614 words)

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    I agree that potentially destructive consequences might arise from appropriating the intellectual or physical property of a culture. That is, if the goal of the cultural exchange is a detrimental caricature of the ideals of a culture, the mockery of a culture’s believes, or when the cultural appropriation results from the theft of a cultural artifact as well as insensitive and disrespectful use of a culture’s sacred symbol. All these activities are unethical, reprehensible and should be disapproved and condemned. However, cultural appropriation is not entirely negative. It can sometimes come as a form of tribute, admiration or having the intention to learn and adopt certain interesting values of another culture.

    Therefore, I believe authenticity alone is not a sufficient criterion for criticizing or passing negative judgments about cultural appropriation particularly in food or dishes. In the current globalized world one cannot deny or attack diversity. Globalization has the potential of creating exciting uniformity. I think it is good for cultures to connect and share elements of their values and culture, but they should not rename or take over each other’s ideas. I will support my point of view basing my argument on traditional Chinese dish known as Peking duck.

    Pecking duck describes an iconic Chinese dish that consists of thin, tender roasted pieces of duck meat wrapped in a crispy skin thin crepe together with sliced cucumbers, spring onions and sweet bean or hoisin sauce. There is an excellent reason why pecking duck is among the most popular dishes in China. This is because the dish traces its roots back approximately more than 700 years to the nation’s royal lineage. Pecking duck, also termed as Beijing duck or Chinese duck became a popular main dish in the country during the Yuan Dynasty when China was ruled by Mongol empires (1271 to 1378).

    Interestingly, although the dish is named after Beijing, it originated from Nanjing, the former Chinese capital. Nanjing lies in Jiangsu’s eastern province. During the Ming reign, the imperial court relocated to Beijing and brought roasted duck along with it. By this time the Peking duck was already an established main dish of the imperial menus. Cooks from all over the country travelled to Beijing for several days to prepare the dish for the Emperor. Later Pecking duck made its way into various local restaurants and in 1522 a restaurant known as Bianyifang served the dish. During the Qing dynasty, the dish spread to become a nobility where it was much applauded by poets and scholars.

    Even currently, Pecking duck maintains its splendid connotations due to its lengthy and specific preparation. First, ducks with white features are reared in a free-range system for a maximum of 45 days, then the ducks are force-fed for 20 to 15 days. Once they are slaughtered, plucked feathers, gutted, washed with clean water, and boiled in moderate heat, air is inflated below the skin to separate it from the fat. Next, the duck is dried and the skin is coated with maltose to make it extra crispy.

    The dry duck coated with maltose is the roasted in either of this two methods: the ancient closed-oven method, or the hung-oven method that was developed in the early 1960s. The most notable restaurants in China represent this two roasting traditions. The well-known Bianyifang restaurant that opened in the fifteenth century applies the closed-oven method, where the duck is roasted by heat that radiates from the walls of the oven. Meanwhile, the renowned Quanjude restaurant applies the hung-oven technique that was developed Yang Quanren, the restaurant’s founder. In this technique the duck is usually hung from a hook that is attached to a ceiling and cooked over burning fire wood.

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