International Flavor

Christina - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Humans are consumers- devouring, indulging, and savoring. Yet I believe beyond the senses- I believe in the international power of flavor.

I was born to a multicultural background- my mom a first generation immigrant from the Philippines and my dad- a beef loving son of the United States. Both instilled in me a deep passion for flavor, my mom with her Pacific Ocean spices, and uses of seemingly bizarre appendages, as well as my father- offering the fusion cuisine of the American Melting pot. It was through these influences that I first saw- perhaps more appropriately tasted, the world.

I broadened my world view through food- testing areas between the two hemispherical extremes I that I had for so long relished. From vegetarian South Indian cuisine, to the grilled chicken hearts of South American Churascorias- I felt as if I had traveled the world. When I did in fact have the opportunity to travel to regions such as Japan I enjoyed all that was offered, from the fresh ingredients to the foreign flavors.

It was in High School that I found true interest in the culinary arts, as I learned more than ever of the cross cultural dealing throughout history that enabled such fine delicacies as Turkish delight- infused with pecans- a nut of American origin. Yet I was disappointed to see that some of my classmates were not so thrilled. From then on I devoted a good amount of time trying to wean them off of their diet of fried, processed, and frozen goods- through exposure to the world.

One of my closest friends particularly seemed to hold a prejudice towards anything she considered foreign. It was only after a culinary world tour, accompanied by a long speech of how what she considered “American Food” was merely a great amalgamation of these many foreign tastes, that she finally began to appreciate the universal aspect of food.

It is through a magnitude of culinary genius, accompanied by a curiosity for culture that has driven my passion for this essential life ingredient. I believe the power of flavor enables a deep understanding of a region and its history.