It’s not as if most people didn’t know cauliflower existed until recently, it’s that few had the experience or exposure to mine its potential. Even the theoretically “new” technique of making gluten-free crusts from cauliflower comes from centuries-old techniques of using finely chopped cauliflower as a base for almost anything saucy. Cauliflower “risotto” certainly isn’t traditional when you call it that, but chopped cauliflower in broth is nothing new. That you can overcook cauliflower, and its little granular bits remain flavorful makes it a candidate for use in countless dishes.
Among them is my (vegan) homage to the traditional chicken tinga. The key ingredients in these hearty tacos are tomatoes and chipotle; both are originally from the Americas. Tomatoes, of course, have become universal – everywhere they’re grown, and even in places that they aren’t, they’re beloved. But the chile chipotle – the smoked jalapeño (usually; other chiles are also smoked and called chipotle) – remains distinctly Mexican and Central American. Although it’s been widely adopted in the US and elsewhere, it remains closely associated with those cuisines. And it’s the key to tinga — which is generally thought to be from Puebla – and the most distinctive flavor in this dish, regardless of the “main” ingredient.
We produce reported pieces, profiles, interviews, and rants about what’s broken in the food world (there’s a lot) and how to change things for the better. People sometimes tell me to just keep politics out of it. Respectfully: No. Food is political. We can’t and won’t ignore that.