Here at Flat 493, we have very specific food rules. Most of which… are my fault. No matter how much I love cooking certain new-to-me foods and different cuisines, I still am very much a child when it comes to certain ingredients. That are used Everywhere.
Enter our take on Mardi Gras. Hampton *really* wanted to do something traditional this year to capture his love of the Crescent City [ask him about the spring break with the Wayne Gretzky cutout]. I looked at a bunch of recipes and decided that since it didn’t have sausage, étouffée was the most scalable for two. I even went to multiple grocery stores on a hunt for crawfish tails on the day I planned to stay at home in my pajamas.
We mainly used this recipe, subbing half a *red* bell pepper for the trinity [at least I like the green ones, but they’re one of Hampton’s few dealbreakers] — and plenty of garlic. Also, instead of the real tomatoes, we browned a healthy squeeze and a half of tubed tomato paste (which Trader Joe’s is discontinuing. RIP). A few extra shakes of Tony’s (salt-free) and a dash of worcestershire, and I feel confident only the most devoted devotee would complain.
I say all this to say: cooking is flexible! Recipes are a jumping off point! It’s one thing to monetize your blog and act like you have the perfect “authentic” recipe from a culture to which you do not belong. But if you’re just cooking for you… do you. You can appreciate without appropriating.