Tasty Tangents

Food, life and other morsels

Defining authenticity

How do you know if food is authentic? Do you have any specific indicators that you use to determine if the Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Indian or Greek restaurant you’re at is serving what you would consider authentic food?

And does it matter to you?

Authentic is one of those terms that I find really difficult to define when it comes to food, because everyone’s perception is so different.

I have the most experience with Italian food. And the food that I’m used to comes from a few specific regions in the country. I have also spent time in Italy, eating what I would consider to be “authentic” food at restaurants and homemade by friends and family.

So to me, that style of Italian food, fresh, with richly-flavoured olive oil and made from scratch, is authentic.

But maybe Italian-American cooking, which I find richer, creamier and heavier, is its own style of cooking and can also be considered authentic.

I guess it’s all about what you want at the moment. Some days I want an “authentic” thin crust pizza with prosciutto, olives, arugula and mozzarella. Other days I want a thick slice of pepperoni and mushroom pan pizza.

What do you think? Is authentic important when it comes to food? Is it even possible to define when food is authentic?

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