How I ended up serving pulled pork in Colombia
It all started about a month and a half ago. I had just moved into my apartment in Medellin and invited a couple of friends over for dinner. Tim, who I’ve written about on several tales, and Vivi, a local chick I hang out with regularly. I decided to serve a small version of a Mongolian Buffet. The main items were set on chicken and rice, but there were a variety of vegetables, spices, and sauces to choose from.
I didn’t really know Vivi all that well at the time, but I was a little surprised when Tim said he’d never eaten at a Mongolian Buffet. Tim is part owner of a restaurant in NYC, so I figured he would have had to try one at some point. Apparently not.
At some point in the evening, Vivi asked me where I learned to cook. Neither my smart-ass answer of YouTube or my honest answer of “I just learned” satisfied her curiosity.
The Next Couple of Meals
About a week later I invited the two over for dinner again. Tim already had plans, but Vivi came. I cooked a pepper and sausage linguini in a white wine sauce that I had been craving for a couple of days. The question of where I learned to cook came up again. I still didn’t understand the question and she dropped the topic as soon as it started.
A week later a couple of my friends came to stay with me for a few days. Claire, the lady of the couple decided she wanted to cook us all dinner as a thank you for me letting them stay and Vivi showing them around town. Claire decided to cook an eggplant lasagne that turned out to be delicious. It was at this point that Vivi’s question began to make sense to me.
While Claire was cooking the lasagne, Vivi and I sat on the balcony for a little while. She explained to me that she really believed that Gringos only ate hamburgers and hotdogs. She assumed that I had learned to cook outside of the US because I had cooked something other than a hotdog or hamburger.
Where had she gotten such an impression? Homer Simspson is to blame! It was obvious she was embarrassed to admit to having stereotyped Americans so poorly, but it was funny as hell!
This probably wouldn’t be so funny if Vivi were one of those people who’d never left a 5 mile radius of her home. Vivi has traveled most of Europe and various other places. She even has a few other American friends who live in the area. I was more than a little surprised that she assumed Americans ONLY ate hotdogs and hamburgers.
The Pulled Pork
As you may have noticed, all of the meals cooked so far have been American adaptations of other cultural meals. It’s kind of a given that the U.S. derives much of her culinary charm from the varied cultures of the people. But BBQ in all it’s wonderful forms are truly American. I agreed to make a dish specific to my culture and nothing seemed better than some pulled pork.
So, I prepared a meal with a North Carolina vinegar based pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, and fried green tomatoes. I also added baked beans to the menu, but they were definitely a Colombian version of baked beans. The pulled pork was baked and missing a couple of ingredients that I couldn’t find, but I’d say it turned out pretty good. The coleslaw and fried green tomatoes were awesome.
So my question for you is: If you could make one dish to show off an American cuisine, what would it be?