The Winter Olympics are an exhilarating time for reveling in the exquisite athletic performance of global human excellence. (“Hey — skating’s on! Don’t touch the remote — it looks like Takahashi is going to try the quadruple toeloop!”)
It’s also the time we can breathe a collective, unifying sigh; happily making space on our sofas for the whole gang — Russians, Chinese,etc., and, for the first time in Winter Olympic history, Pakistanis. (“Ouch! What a fall —well, at least he tried. Oh — could you pass me that bowl of wasabi nuts?”)
Food, too, is a cultural unifier. Whatever angst one may feel toward’s a country’s policies, we can at least appreciate their culinary gifts. What would America be without foods like hommos, tacos, egg rolls or, perish the thought, pasta? Even if language doesn’t allow, passing a plate of food can stimulate the universal sign language of thumbs up, smiles and friendly gestures.
And what better melting pot to celebrate culinary diversity than Vancouver, the ideal Olympic host city for reveling in both sport and food.
The New York Time’s writes: “Poised geographically and psychologically between Asia and Europe, Vancouver is a multicultural town, one with access to great ingredients from both land and sea. And it shows in the city’s excellent food.”
Vancouver is particularly famous for authentic Asian restaurants. Conde Nast Travel writer Mark Schatzker says: “”I would say I’ve eaten Chinese food all over North America and in China, and the best I’ve eaten in the world was in Vancouver. Hands down.”
This recent flurry of press around exceptional Chinese food led me to Susanna Foo’s(1995) “Chinese Cuisine” cookbook. Chef Foo, often referenced as America’s leading Chinese chef, brings a global awareness to the table.
In the introduction to her book she writes, “A good cook should be open-minded,” taking a fresh global approach to recipe ingredients. Her cooking style borrows the best techniques, herbs and spices from around the world, much like the Olympic games unite the world’s greatest athletic stars.
The enticing aromas emerging from this pan would woo even the most recalcitrant of world players around the dining room table.