Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kitchen Notes: Perceptions and Reality of Ethnic Cuisines

Plus lots of pretty Venn diagrams! This is darn interesting stuff, actually.  Here's the methodology:
I polled Texans -- not just Houstonians -- on what they thought of when they were asked to consider foods from places like Ethiopia, Lebanon, Germany and several other countries. Through Facebook, Twitter, email and personal interviews, I compiled the most common responses from Texans far and wide. And then I set out asking people that were actually from those countries what their idea of commonly consumed foodstuffs were. I was interested to see how often the American concept of another culture's food overlapped with that culture's actual dining trends. And that's where Venn diagrams come in.
The results were surprising in some areas, not so in others. In the Venn diagrams below, you'll see Texans' answers on the left, the actual countryman/countrywoman's answers on the right, and any overlap between the two in the middle.
Here's an example.  Go read the whole thing. (I am curious, though: how large were the testing samples?  And how about repeating this little experiment in different parts of the country, not just one state?)

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