Post by Steven Dale
A thought experiment:
Imagine you’re a chef with a decent reputation, good training and a strong generalized understanding of most popular world cuisines. You know your Classical French, your Fresh Market California, your Asian Fusion, your Italian. But then one winter, you take a trip to The Philippines and discover something: Filipino cuisine is incredibly unique, incredibly interesting and (most important of all) incredibly underrepresented and misunderstood within mainstream culinary circles.
You therefore decide to dedicate yourself for a few years to learn about the intricacies of the cuisine. You travel the country and learn how to make such staples as Adobo, Kinilaw and Kangkong. You see it made first-hand and read as many cookbooks as you can find – which are few and far between.
By the end of that time, you’ve developed a base of knowledge on Filipino cuisine rare in your industry and find ways to inform the food industry about that knowledge. Maybe you write a cookbook or start a website. You never say that Filipino cuisine is the best cuisine there is (because you know how pointless that would be) but you maintain that it’s an interesting cuisine worthy of further attention and use in mainstream culinary circles.
Does that make you a Filipino Cuisine Zealot?
Hardly. It makes you a chef who knows a lot about Filipino cuisine. Nothing more.
Some chefs specialize in Molecular Gastronomy. Others in pastry. You happen to specialize in Filipino cuisine.
I bring this up because last week I was accused by a commenter of being a blind “modal zealot” uninterested in “promoting transportation solutions that will actually come to pass.” I’m not going to go into why that’s demonstrably false. If you want to know why that’s demonstrably false, spend a bit of time reading this website (or just this post, for example). This is not a site of zealots. It’s a site of people passionate about public transit and passionate about looking at it from a different perspective.
That doesn’t make us zealots, it makes us transit specialists with a different specialization than the majority. That’s it.
We’ve a demonstrated understanding of public transit and its various permutations. We’re not hostile to other modes. We don’t claim gondolas to be superior to all other forms. We aren’t violent, rebellious or aggressive. At the end of the day, all we say is that gondolas are a transit tool – nothing more.
Perhaps the worst we could be accused of is getting a disproportionately high amount of media attention for what is – admittedly – a completely ridiculous idea.
But that doesn’t make us zealots any more than it makes us Filipino chefs.
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