Fusion cooking is a relatively new and chic description of a method of cooking that has been around for thousands of years. You can see Fusion cooking in action on the "Iron Chef" TV show, where chefs compete with each other using a secret ingredient and come up with many ethnic variations of the same ingredient. As people leave their cultural homeland and venture to live in a different land or cultural environment, they long for the food from their native land. More often than not, the ingredients, spices and cooking methods are not always available. Fusion cooking is using the old familiar recipes and changing the spices, even main ingredients and cooking methods to come up with a very similar dish which may taste similar or look similar to the original ethic dish. I will give an example of what I mean. In Louisiana, a favorite dish is Gumbo. It is basically a roux with the trinity (green bell pepper, celery, & onions) some Andouille Sausage, with shrimp, chicken or crab and okra file powder is sprinkled on as a condiment and thickening vehicle. This dish is equally delicious with a roux, the trinity, sauerkraut, diced potatoes, linquica, clams, or calamari rings. The file powder can be used in the same way it is used in the Louisiana gumbo. The dish tastes similar but has a completely different signature. Another example would be Shish Kebab in the Middle Eastern Countries. The dish is cubed lamb with peppers and onions on a skewer cooked over and open fire. Here in the U.S.A. shish kebabs have for many years utilized chicken, beef, mushrooms, tomatoes, fish, and pork. Usually cooked on the Barbecue or under the broiler. It is rare to see pork on any menu in the Middle East. Middle Easterners use cumin and garlic and mint to season, whereas it might be hickory barbecue sauce in the U.S.A. The Nori roll of Japanese sushi fame in the U.S.A. is filled with avocado and shrimp and is called a California roll. Amazingly you can get this dish in Tokyo, and they import the avocados from the United States. Another example of the long history of Fusion Cooking is the meat pie. Every country in the World has a meat pie, and it is noticeably different from one country to the next. Be it the type of meat or vegetable ingredients, or the spices. every country's meat pie has unique texture and flavor. Fusion cooking is nothing special and I recommend it to all home cooks. The secret to good cooking is to use the freshest ingredients available and ingredients that are at their peak of maturity and taste. Use other spices than usually called for if need be, but go with a light hand until it tastes right to you. No two cooks using the same recipe will ever come up with the same taste. I was told at a young age, that the major flavor of a dish comes from the cooks hands. That is of course unless you get your food from a fast food joint where the cooks hands are wrapped in clear plastic gloves. There it seems, everything tastes the same.


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