Disappearing foods and recipes, around the world
June 5, 2019 9:10 AM   Subscribe

In the rapidly changing world, another thing to track and preserve is food. From the nearly lost art of making su filindeu, or threads of god, pasta in Italy (Saveur; previously from BBC Travel), to the local breakfast favorite, Api (morado), a warm Bolivian drink made of purple corn flour (Bolivia Belle with a recipe, without fermentation), and rare foods like Omajovi mushrooms in Namibia (Gondwana Travel blog) and Bhutanese red rice (Gastro Obscura), the Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity has a map and more information on local ingredients and cuisine that are in danger of disappearing around the world, while Slow Food USA has an "Ark of Taste" focused on the U.S..

Bonus food map: Taste Atlas can help you "discover local ingredients, traditional dishes & authentic restaurants" (keep zooming in to see more local items, then click on a dish to possibly find restaurants serving the item).
posted by filthy light thief (23 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

I grew up one town over from the town that produces its own cheese and I never even heard of this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]

Bookmarked and bookmarked!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:32 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]

I had my doubts but that Taste Atlas is pretty good. It is certainly missing some stuff but nice that they allow people to log in and submit info. Regardless, disappearing food culture is one of my favourite topics.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:47 AM on June 5

"Once firm, it’s ready to be crumbled into a vat of boiling sheep broth on the big day. Lest anyone miss out on that dank sheep flavor, a heap of local sheep’s milk cheese is thrown into the mix."

Mmmm. Dank sheep flavor.
posted by jzb at 9:57 AM on June 5 [6 favorites]

the Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity has a map and more information on local ingredients and cuisine that are in danger of disappearing

One regional mid-Atlantic US food I don’t see on here is terrapin, although it may be illegal to eat? My grandfather used to horrify us by telling us terrapin soup was his favorite food. (I do see my grandmother’s favorite on here—shad roe).

I’m hoping Maryland blue crab isn’t on here because it’s in no danger of disappearing.
posted by sallybrown at 10:04 AM on June 5

I got Arkansas Black apples in a CSA share a few years ago. They were...ok.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:27 AM on June 5

I’m hoping Maryland blue crab isn’t on here because it’s in no danger of disappearing.

I think it’s the oysters we really need to worry about. And beaten biscuits are harder to come by than they used to be, although I’m sure some families still make them.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:49 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]

Champurrado is on the menu in Bakersfield, similar to api, with lighter corn, and chocolate. That is very hearty dessert- like drink to wash down big tamales! Api is very like Navajo fry bread, but that is leavened rather than raised. I want to get lost in Bolivia, just the colors of everything, and then the infinite markets, I could drop a tenth of a lifetime there, easily, if they would have me.
posted by Oyéah at 11:24 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]

>One regional mid-Atlantic US food I don’t see on here is terrapin, although it may be illegal to eat?

While not illegal, turtle soup is pretty uncommon in the US today. The commercial collection of several species of snapping turtle, the most popular kind of turtle for soups and stews, is outlawed pretty much everywhere. The alligator snapping turtle in particular was almost wiped out by the 1970s due to the massive amounts of turtle meat people used to eat. They are now protected and there's recently been pressure to add them to the endangered species list.
posted by theory at 11:32 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]

Thai Red Cargo Rice looks similar to the Bhutanese red rice.
posted by Oyéah at 11:39 AM on June 5

The taste Atlas for NM is missing all of the traditional foods I eat, many of which I imagine are “endangered”. Three sisters stew, atole, all the native greens that don’t make it to grocery stores, pashofah, anything with ash in it, and all the preserved foods for over wintering. I first encountered a modern grocery store as a teenager, and sadly over the last five years have eaten more of a standard American diet. I feel much worse than I did eating all homegrown and home cooked food. But the convenience has kept me fed while I haven’t been able to cook for myself. I long for my endangered foods.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:57 AM on June 5 [11 favorites]

Wow, the Armenia page is like a who's who of childhood favorite foods for me.
posted by potrzebie at 12:21 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]

Turtle soup can still be found pretty easily in Louisiana restaurants. I don't know if that's enough to keep it off the Ark, since Mid-Atlantic style might be a very different beast.
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:28 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]

This is a surprisingly good list of food and the places to eat them. Philadelphia checks out (they have the full sandwich triumvirate of hoagie, roast pork, and cheesesteak with the right places to get them). And they have the most important restaurant in Milwaukee.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:03 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]

That Taste Atlas is a mix of "this is a food that is originated or is really popular around here" and "this is my favorite burger." Which is okay, I'm always on the lookout for a burger, but after reading about the Mother-In-Law Sandwich I have a new item on my bucket list.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 2:10 PM on June 5

The Slow Food movement was born out of a manifesto published in the Gambero Rosso food, wine and cinema insert that Italy's most erudite, with-it (and chronically broke) communist daily il manifesto featured in the late eighties. I would never have imagined foodstuff to be such a resilient vector for the well-intentioned soft-revolution their global expansion seems to be gearing up for.
posted by progosk at 2:27 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]

I'm concerned about the lack of anything for Bakersfield.
posted by rhizome at 2:33 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]

I got Arkansas Black apples in a CSA share a few years ago. They were...ok.

black twig are better
posted by poffin boffin at 2:55 PM on June 5

Every nation adapts the manifesto to fit their needs. America is, after all, the home of Fast Food, so our Slow Food focuses on local producers for the grownups, and Seed to Table for the kids. Plus, you wind up eating a lot of interesting food. The big insight is that the way to preserve endangered food stuffs is to eat them. If there is a market, there will be producers.
I've been a Slow Food member for at least 15 years. I highly recommend giving it a look. When you start going to Slow Food events, and get acquainted with your local producers, grocers, chef etc, it changes your relationship to where you live, in a totally good way!
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 3:04 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]

That Saveur article was absolutely phenomenal.

The New England list is a real reminder that my family are relatively recent immigrants; I've never heard of any of those things. (Although cider donuts really belong on there; I've had a tough time finding them when I've gone home.)

I question "shrub" being in the Ark of Taste. It is the trendiest thing right now.
posted by rednikki at 9:32 PM on June 5

The Taste Atlas map for Denmark is kind of uninteresting, and the Slow Food Foundation map is only slightly better which is weird because there are so many slow food activists here, some of whom are my friends. I'll have to ask why they aren't more into the mapping side of things.
One of those friends has family in Nuoro, and is both active in Denmark and Italy. It'll be interesting to hear him about the pasta.
posted by mumimor at 4:33 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]

The Pasta Grannies Channel on YouTube has a good video that shows the making of su filindeu. The video includes a sequence showing the use of a home-made-looking "motorized dough beater."

"This pasta is always cooked in mutton stock."
posted by bz at 1:51 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]

"I'm concerned about the lack of anything for Bakersfield."

"... Bakersfield’s Old Town Kern neighborhood—also known as the Basque Block. Here in the largest concentration of Basque restaurants in the United States..."

Visit California: Bakersfield’s Basque Food Culture
posted by bz at 1:55 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]

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