Welcome to the new online home for Cleveland Ethnic Eats. This is a place where I can share my thoughts on culture and cuisine, post information and updates about the listings in the books, and let you know what the media around the country and the world are saying about ethnic food trends. You can also click on the links to see where I’m signing or speaking, and read excerpts from the book. And best of all it’s a meeting place for all of us who have an interest in adventurous eating so we can exchange news, ideas, and stories.
To kick things off I want to riff on an article I read recently entitled America’s Most Endangered Foods. It’s about how varieties of fruits ands and vegetables and breeds of animals are disappearing due to the impact of agri-business and the commodification of our food supply. To stop the loss, Gary Paul Nabhan, editor of Renewing America’s Food Traditions, advocates a concept called eater-based conservation.
I’ve been talking about something similar ever since the first edition of Cleveland Ethnic Eats was published in 1995. The places in my book are endangered species, at risk of extinction from the onslaught of corporate chains, cheap fast food, and mass-produced products. Corner stores, neighborhood butchers and bakers, and little mom-and-pop restaurants are disappearing from our cities and suburbs and with them the wonderful diversity of choices and quality they offer. If we don’t support these kinds of businesses, we’ll lose something precious, something that makes this region such an exciting and unique place to live. That’s part of the reason I wrote Cleveland Ethnic Eats, continue to update it regularly, and why I have launched this blog. My aim is to celebrate handmade, homemade, traditionally made foods, and at the same time to remind people that we must recognize and help preserve this valuable cultural resource. And all you have to do to help is eat! You can use my book and this site to find out where to go. And please come back here often to post your questions, comments, and discoveries.