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Artículo This is what happens if you travel to Mexico to steal the best tortilla recipe Food

Food

This is what happens if you travel to Mexico to steal the best tortilla recipe

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Playground Traduccion

30 Mayo 2017 09:23

Liz and Kali thought it would be easy to poach an idea from Mexico and get rich in the US, but... 

You know how it feels when you get a good idea and then someone nicks it for their own profit? Well, Liz Connelly and Kali Wilgus from Portland, Oregon, were apparently not too worried about such concerns when they went to Mexico to learn how to make traditional tortillas. They picked up tips and tricks from 'tortilla women' in Puerto Nuevo without paying or even asking permission to use them.

The pair then opened a pop-up burritos truck which was highly successful until they gave the game away by telling the press the secret to their success. 

The two were subsequently accused of cultural appropriation and have now closed down their establishment. Poetic justice or Montezuma's revenge? We've got one word for you: karma.

The burrito is probably the most famous dish in Tex-Mex cuisine, and there are endless ways of preparing it. Most say that the best are to be found in Ciudad Juárez. Liz and Kali however, found inspiration in the burritos prepared in Puerto Nuevo. And it was partly thanks to what they learned – or, depending on your point of view, plundered – there that their business got off to such a flying start:

'I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,' Connelly said. 'They told us the basic ingredients. They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy.'

Photo: Kooks Burritos

So they headed back to Portland, something of a culinary mecca, and, after a little trial and error, managed to recreate tortillas that were similar to those they'd tasted in Puerto Nuevo. They opened Kooks Burritos, which quickly became popular. Everything seemed to be going well for the pair until they gave their fateful interview to Willamette Week which caught the attention of Jamila King, senior staff writer at Mic. King saw in their story a patent case of cultural appropriation.

'The problem, of course, is that it's unclear whether the Mexican women who handed over their recipes ever got anything in return. And now those same recipes are being sold as a delicacy in Portland,' wrote King.

@madame_bijoux

King also quoted some of the more heated comments posted in response to the interview: 'You go to a place once and your first thought is to steal from and mock the people from there. This is gross, and the fact that you got media attention is even more cringey.' Another commenter added: 'Everyone goes to Mexico to find "get rich quick" ideas.' 

Photo: Kooks Burritos

'In less than six months, Wilgus and Connelly have managed to build a business. And, depending on how you look at it, their methods are either genius or the latest example of white folks profiting off the labor of people of color,' King concluded.

Photo: Kooks Burritos

What are the limits of cultural appropriation in the culinary world? 

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