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Was a Portland burrito restaurant justly shut due to cultural appropriation?

Kook’s Burritos stole Mexicans' recipes

Borrowing other cultures' recipes isn't new

 Getty: John Moore / Staff

The owners of Portland-based Kook’s Burritos stealing recipes from Mexicans robs them of the option to monetize their own food cultures, a practice which has long been prevalent in the US, writes Jagger Blaec of the Portland Mercury. She asserts that this is part of larger a trend in which white people take recipes from minorities and repackage them as their own. The restaurant owners in question admitted to taking the recipes without permission. The insult to Latinos is that white people pick and choose which parts of their culture to adopt while they routinely get discriminated against for other aspects of that very culture, implies Blaec.

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Cultural appropriation is a longstanding tradition in the food industry, and Mexicans are perpetrators of it just like everyone else, holds Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly. Borrowing food trends and recipes is what allows any cuisine to mature. Arellano highlights that Mexicans have done so with American burgers and hotdogs, European beer and Lebanese shwarma, not to mention within their own regions. Saying that Mexicans can’t commit cultural appropriation while portraying them as helpless victims is highly condescending. Cultural appropriation of food has given us amazing innovation in the kitchen, suggests Arellano.

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