my answer to your friend…I’m sorry but:
Eating or cooking the food of another culture is NOT appropriative! Even if you weren’t from Latin America, it’s not appropriative! The reason why I push back so much at the abusing of the term “cultural appropriation” is because: 1) people delegitimise the issue of cultural appropriation by making it seem segregationist when they say things like eating the food of another culture is disrespectful. 2) they’re sucking up oxygen from real examples of cultural appropriation that are actually hurtful and need attention.
Cultural appropriation = treating and reducing an entire culture and people to costumes or stereotypes. This happens by stealing and taking sacred and important aspects of another culture without the permission of the people of that culture, and cheapening, distorting, sexually exoticising + doing that because it’s cool. For example, people wearing Native American war bonnets (they’re like veteran’s medals) as part of lousy Halloween costumes or as fashion. Or a company making cheap shit and calling it “dreamcatchers” when they’re nothing like the real thing.
Food mostly doesn’t fall into that category because usually the act of eating in of itself isn’t sacred, and the different cuisines we have arose out of how most cultures develop their cuisine around local ingredients. It’s not like you have to be say, Indian, to fully appreciate the taste of curry. You just need tastebuds. Treating cutures as costumes is a serious issue, but eating food or learning a language exists in a very different context from traditional clothing and religious ceremonies. Food and language, for example, are usually something that are shared freely with outsiders, compared to traditional costumes and ceremonies that need much more understanding and knowledge.
(The tortillas common in Mexican cuisine are Mesoamerican in origin- the Aztecs were one Mesoamerican peoples who made and consumed them.)
(Coffee was spread to Europe thanks to the Ottoman Empire.)
(The Mesoamericans first made chocolate into a drink around 4000 years ago! The Mayans were one of the original cultivars of the plant that produces cacao beans. )
(The domestic pig is believed to have first been bred from wild boars either by the Chinese or people in the Middle East around 8000 years ago. Other theories suggest two separate instances of domestication. Btw, it was the Europeans who introduced pork to the Americas!)
please explain to them this, yeah? If they still say no you can tell them I’m officially banning them from eating spaghetti because like EXCUSE ME I read somewhere that Italians appropriated the noodles which were ORIGINALLY from my culture!
P.S btw it’s believed the Arabs were the ones who actually introduced dried noodles to Italy. The Marco Polo thing is apparently a legend. It’ll be a sad world if every Italian restaurant had to strike pasta off, yes. This example illustrates how the history of food and cuisine is so mixed and varied we really can’t be sure its origins and it’s pointless and silly to segregate food- without all that mixing and borrowing, many of our plates would be so much more dull and tasteless.