The 2011 Project is a work by San Francisco artist Tofu. Each day in 2011 he created a 4”x4” mixed media piece. The finished project was made up of 365 smaller mixed media pieces. In 2013 the individual pieces will be distributed to project supporters. The project also acted as sketchbook for new ideas, which continue to be incorporated into new work For more information please visit 2011project.com
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
March 9, 2011 – Stir-Fry Nation
Jennifer Lee puts the melting pot metaphor to rest for the final time when she describes America as more of a stir-fry than a melting pot. She writes, “We are a stir-fry; our ingredients remain distinct, but our flavors blend together in a sauce shared by all.” It’s all in her book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. The book has two of my favorite topics — Cultural history and in particular the immigration experience. And it’s about Chinese food. I did love this book and learned even more things about the role of Chinese Food in our culture. I have to thank the library for recommending this one. Another great pick in their On The Same Page Series.
Ironically, just before picking up this book, I did a piece for the 2011 Project on fortune cookies and then one on chop suey. So today it is about the stir-fry.
You’ll note my stir-fry is in my trusty, old, cast iron frying pan. I used to have a wok, but that never made it out here from the East Coast. Space is at a premium in a San Francisco kitchen, and you can make a stir-fry without a wok. I am sure some purists would disagree. But that is what is so great about a stir-fry there are no set rules. The stir-fry does make a great metaphor for America, because pretty much anything goes in it. I was aghast when my Australian friend Alan once tossed in peanut butter (a trick I have since copied many times. My cousin Bekah is a good cook, but when I saw the smoked kielbasa going into the stir-fry, I had my doubts. We are both half Polish-American, but I was raised on much more traditional Polish cuisine. Bekah, having far less experience with Polish food, clearly had no issues with using smoked kielbasa in a stir-fry. Needless to say, it tasted great and I do the same thing all the time. The only question is what’s next? Could I put soy sauce and hot oil on pierogis instead of sour cream and call them Polish Potstickers?
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