By Khuong E. Nguyen
President Donald Trump sure does have a knack for talking smack on cities and countries around the world. Since before his election, he’s racked up a list of hundreds of places, people, things, ideas around Earth that he’s either criticized or somehow shat on in some form. Most notably, he uses his Twitter account to express his opinions. So much so that the New York Times has a page dedicated to his comments made on Twitter about different subjects followed by a direct link to said tweet – in alphabetical order! In this blog post, I highlight a few different places President Trump has fucked over in some fashion, and showcase a popular dish from that region so readers can enjoy a brief lighthearted look into the culinary culture of these places. Regardless of how these places rank on the globe’s political map, I hope this small venture into these different cultures can bring a sense of grace for people around the world and their cultures’ foods rather than hate-filled tweets that serve absolutely no good anywhere.
Mexico – Menudo
Mexico has been on President Trump’s hot shit radar for quite some time now. As a matter of fact, he’s quoted describing the country as the #1 most dangerous place in the world. Sheesh. Well, if there were ever an opportune moment for families and friends to come together during these trying times under Trump’s harsh critiques of Mexico’s beautiful culture and people, it should be done so over a hot bowl of menudo. This bomb ass soup is made from cow stomach and a red chili pepper base, with sliced tripe, onions, lime, and oregano added in. It’s a traditional soup prepared by Mexican families during times of celebration or any sort of gathering. It takes hours of patience to prepare, but it’s been sworn by abuelitas left and right that this magical red soup and its medicinal qualities can cure hangovers of any magnitude.
Puerto Rico – Mofongo
President Trump once described Puerto Rico as a disaster before the hurricanes hit. He even criticized the people of Puerto Rico for “wanting everything to be done for them.” I mean, it’s not like they had just been hit by a Category 5 hurricane and had lost power throughout most of the region, right? Who should give a damn about them, it’s not like they’re considered a state even. Well, as far as I know Puerto Rico is territory OWNED by the United States. The way Trump talked about the beautiful island during their time of need was pathetic and demeaning. Not only does Puerto Rico have a vibrant musical culture, their Caribbean-inspired food is some of the tastiest. One example is mofongo. This dishes’ main ingredient is fried plantains! So you can already believe this one’ll hit. After being fried, the plantains are mashed up with salt, garlic, and oil. Once mashed up into a tight ball, chicharrones (fried pork rinds) are added in. This dish is typically served with a soup made of chicken broth.
Russia – Chicken Kiev
Since Donald Trump’s campaign run for the presidency, it seems as though we haven’t been able to avoid the words “Trump” and “Russia” being spoken in the same sentence. Every. Single. Day. Although in this particular scenario, Russia might have been the one to perpetrate the United States, we can’t forget about the history, culture, and especially the food that the country brings to the table (literally). I’d like to highlight one of their most popular dishes – chicken kiev. This dish consists of a chicken cutlet — after being pounded down — rubbed with butter and garlic, and then coated with eggs and bread crumbs. The chicken is then fried (baking works as well, though the results aren’t as delicious) and typically served with potatoes on the side.
Middle East – Meze
It’s no secret how Trump feels about the Middle East. One of his early agendas was to eradicate Muslims from the United States. Recently, he attacked Representative Ilhan Omar on Twitter which resulted in an increasing number of death threats made towards her. The Middle East has some of the most vibrant cultures in the world, the people I’ve met from there have all been nothing but welcoming and the kindest souls anyone could meet. There is more to the Middle East than what our current president says about them. The art, the landmarks, and the people throughout the region are perfect reflections of the rich history of the Middle East — and the culinary dishes are no different! Rather than talk about one specific dish, I’d like to talk about meze. Meze is an arrangement of several small dishes served around the table. It is typically served as part of a multi-course meal where family and friends sit and munch on while bonding together. Popular dishes served in a meze are pita bread, hummus, babaghanoush, falafel, lamb and/or beef sausages, dolma, tzatziki sauce, salads, olives, and the really does go on and on. You never really go hungry when eating with the wonderful people of the Middle East, that I’ve learned from experience!
Turkey – Baklava
I was fortunate enough to attend a high school that comprised of a large Turkish culture. It was a charter school founded by people from the country. Early on, I was shown the unique and historical culture of Turkey — so when Trump posted tweets about the country in a negative light, I couldn’t help but wish the Western world was more familiar to how great the people were. Although Turkey is considered part of the Middle East, and they, too, relish in all the foods a meze serves, I couldn’t resist but highlight one of the tastiest foods I’ve ever had: Baklava. This rich and sweet dessert consists of layers of “filo” (thin, unleavened dough), finely chopped nuts, and is then glazed in delicious honey or syrup. This very rich pastry will fill your mouth with different textures between the filo and the nuts, the sweetness of the glaze and the contrasting nutty flavor that follows make for a delightful dessert experience for any foodie.
Canada – Poutine
How can we forget about the greatest neighboring country there is — Canada! Well, President Trump might disagree with that. He called them out on Twitter by saying they “have been taking advantage of our country for many years.” Most people would object that statement, especially because of the great many things Canada has given us — one of those things being poutine. Poutine is a dish that consists of french fries with cheese curds added on top. Then, brown gravy is poured over the dish and that folks is poutine. Other variations of the dish have meats added on top such as bacon, chicken, sausage, etc. This meal serves as a symbol of the culture that is the city of Quebec and is sure to leave a clean plate everytime.
United States – Fried Chicken
I couldn’t leave out the beautiful country that I live in. Indeed, Trump has shat on the U.S. in several ways. I mean, the list really goes on and on. So for our beautiful country, I wanted to write about one of our culture’s greatest staples in the kitchen: Fried chicken (yes, that rhymed)! This dish consists of pieces of chicken — the thigh, breast, leg, or wing — dipped in flour and batter, and then fried either on a pan or deep fried. The outcome is a crispy, crunchy, delicious chicken with the out layer being the breaded skin. The chicken can be made with a variety of flavors via seasonings or sauces. This meal is the secret to keeping families together, to having your grandkids visit more often, and even to ending feuds. Fried chicken is best served with fries, mashed potatoes, biscuits, or all of the above!
While it hasn’t been proven that delicious meals can end all wars, it is fact that it brings not only people, but cultures, together. The current President, Donald Trump, has spread several words of hate, racism, lies, and hurt throughout the entire globe in the recent years. I believe the world needs a little more positivity, light-heartedness, and great dishes to share with one another. Showcasing the meals from different areas around the world is, I hope, a step forward to getting more people to explore different cultures and different people.