$16 Taco

I thought this reading was a great way to wind down the semester. It had a combination of themes from several readings we’ve discussed over the past few weeks. In the introduction, the author talked about ethnic food in big cities like San Diego, but these concepts they introduced are rampant across the nation. The author brought up the idea of gentrification and connected the idea to ethnic food in the city. The author brought up a coffee shop in East LA that combats food gentrification and fascism with quirky quotes and signs. The second concept they brought up was the idea of cosmopolitanism, which is the idea that stuff like food does not belong to any single person or ethnic group, but this food should be shared and celebrated by all. The author’s last main theme in the introduction was the breakdown of the word “ethnic”. The Author called it an oversimplification of the idea and the word sometimes comes with negative astigmatism behind it. 

The fifth chapter was super interesting to read. The author starts by talking about how foodies will target “up and coming” restaurants in “bad areas” to review and talk about. A lot of times their reviews will include the negative connotation of the neighborhood along with the food. They then talked about how there is more of a positive image around urban life than it used to be due to “urban coalitions”. They talked about the idea of “gastro-development” which is the idea that cities use their famous foods to draw in foodies and the creative class to increase profits and tourism. The sixth chapter talked about the “taste of gentrification”. In this chapter, the author talked about how gentrification is affecting the food market and ethnic restaurants. The idea of gentrification is both good and bad for urban life because in some ways it revives a city, but in other ways, it alienates the city’s lower-class residents and backbone. She calls the use of gentrification racial capitalism, which has investors and the upper class preying on ghettos and old urban neighborhoods. The last chapter talks about the public reclaiming the ethnic food space which I thought was really cool. They talk about how the most successful restaurants in the city are ones that embody an ethnic and authentic aesthetic. The author goes on to talk about the idea of white privilege, which has people basically being whitewashed with an inability to turn off their color blinders. They bring up the idea that they use ethnic foods to prey on profits like selling a 16$ taco. Overall, I thought this reading was pretty cool and really brought together a bunch of ideas.

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