When the idea of keeping a blog to track my own explorations of the ways in which food and culture and diplomacy intersect each other (with some identity, branding, and critical analysis thrown in) first germinated in my mind, I knew the biggest challenge was going to be myself. Specifically the part of me that can barely write a one-paragraph e-mail without rewriting each sentence 5+ times, without stopping after a few words to reread the whole thing to make sure the tone and flow are what I want it to be, without typing, then deleting, then retyping the same word several times before finally deciding that that is indeed the word I want to use. You know the idea of "dashing off" an e-mail or a blog post or even a quick text message? Yeah, doesn't happen with me.*
Add to that my desire to live up to the great writing, analysis, and wit of some of my favorite blogs, as well as the intense intimidation of knowing that at least a few of my colleagues who, with the same amount (if not more) of work and commitments and social lives, make this whole blogging thing look incredibly easy are, indeed, reading my blog, and perhaps you can sympathize with the psychological barriers that prevent me from actually, well... blogging.
That said, I also hate to fall into the "starts a blog, posts somewhat regularly for a few weeks, and then falls off the face of the earth" camp. So, here is my compromise: in an attempt to at least keep this blog train going at some sort of speed, I'm going to resign myself to only posting links from time to time, without the full-blown analysis that I would love to accompany said links. I'm still hoping, of course, that some analysis and original thoughts and ruminations can accompany these things from time to time, but if I spread some of these things and leave it up to you to come to your own conclusions (which I'm sure will be brilliant with or without my accompanying commentary), at least I don't have to sacrifice entirely the notion of blogging -- which I still aspire to embody in the full sense of the term at some point in the future.
With that, I would be incredibly remiss not to at least repost this recent blog by Paul Rockower on South Korea's missed opportunity in harnessing the power of the Kogi Taco Truck to further its gastrodiplomacy aims. (And thanks for following me now, Paul!). It would seem that something about LA is particularly conducive to these types of culinary fusions of cultures. The LA Times recently did a piece on the multitude of cultural appropriations of "pizza" on offer in the city of Angels, and while these specimens hardly come close to meeting DOC requirements**, my tastebuds aren't about to quibble with "authenticity". (For Paul's more timely assessment of these offerings, see here).
*Actually, it does happen sometimes, but it often involves me having to talk aloud as I write. Somehow saying things aloud curbs the revisionist in me...
**Link leads to my fave pizza place in DC, which offers both DOC and and non-DOC pizzas, both of which are crazy delicious.