A Mexican-American Food Writer Says The Notion of Authenticity Is Defined By Tourists

May 29, 2019


“Gorditas de Chaya” are thick maize pancakes with sauteed greens, a boiled egg and pumpkin seed ground, served with chaya sauce, onions, cilantro, habanero chili pepper and lemon; Credit: OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images


John Paul Brammer is “from a Mexican family that can’t cook,” in his own words.

When he began food-writing, he realized that as a Mexican-American writer, his expertise was expected to be about food, the immigrant experience, or his culture, which felt limiting.

This raised the question about what “authentic” Mexican food should be considered.

Brammer then wrote about the imposed expectations he has experienced in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

Larry sits down with Brammer and features writer for the LA Times and author of “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America” to discuss the notion of “authenticity.”


John Paul Brammer, author of the Washington Post op-ed we’re discussing titled “I’m from a Mexican family. Stop expecting me to eat ‘authentic’ food” and is the creator of the advice column “¡Hola Papi!” for the community platform called “them” ; tweets @jpbrammer

Gustavo Arellano, features writer for the L.A. Times and author of “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America”; he tweets @GustavoArellano

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