In many ways, my desire to write about culinary geography has been one of the main reasons I have tried to learn to cook more and better (and because one can only stand so much of ramen, chips and pizza rolls). One of my favorite recipes I have found online has been this Korean Beef Bowl recipe by Damn Delicious. It is super quick and easy and doesn’t require many ingredients. As is stated on the original site’s page, this recipe is meant to be a cheater’s version of Korean BBQ/bulgogi, which requires thin slices of marinated sirloin. You can read more about Korean BBQ from a previous post of mine, “Cultural Nights 2015-16“.
Ok, so I kind of lied in my last Cultural Nights post, “Cultural Nights 2015“. The three mentioned were not the only ones the Geography Student Association (GSA) attended in 2015. I forgot about two more that occurred later that year. So here are three more Cultural Nights, two from 2015 and one from 2016.
In September 2015, the GSA went to Los Compadres, a Mexican restaurant located in Long Beach. This restaurant is a favorite in Long Beach and fills up quickly during the dinner hour. The wait can be over an hour and it’s almost impossible to find parking. Many times people have to park in nearby residential areas and then walk back to the restaurant. You know that is a sign that the food is good. Los Compadres serves traditional Mexican food as well as specialty margaritas in flavors like lime, mango and strawberry. The lollipops they hand out at the end of the meal are also said to be amazing with unique flavors.
These days Mexican food can be found almost everywhere in America but the history of its spread throughout the country is long and complex and of course directly tied to the immigration of Mexicans into America. Because of the length and complexity of Mexican food history, I can’t explain it all here but you can read more about it in this NPR article, “The California Taco Trail: ‘How Mexican Food Conquered America”. I also highly recommend the book “Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food” to learn about its spread all around the world.
Usually LAGS ends the spring lectures with a student night, letting students present their work. This year though the California Geographical Society (CGS) was in town. They worked with LAGS and hosted the 68th Annual CGS Conference at Los Angeles City College. This year’s conference was titled:
A World City by Subway & Light Rail
The conference was from May 2nd to 4th and featured academic presentations and field trips. The first day had field trips and the opening events, a kick-off mixer with a BBQ dinner and a keynote address.
The keynote address was by Glen Creason on Los Angeles maps. He started with some of the oldest maps, which show California as an island. This stems from a misconception from a 1510 romance novel Las sergas de Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, which included this passage:
Know, that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.
Creason then moved on to maps from the time of Spanish rule and showed how names changed and how people’s influence on the land is still present today.
My last summer adventure (even though school had already started) was a mini hiking trip to Angels Gate Park in San Pedro. The two most interesting things there are the Korean Friendship Bell and Battery Osgood-Farley, part of Fort MacArthur. Plus there’s a spectacular view of the ocean. Culture, history and an ocean view. Yep, it has everything.
So why are these two seemingly very different attractions located in the same spot? To answer that, we have to go back. Way back, to the late 1800s.
Thanksgiving Day is something that Americans usually think is just related to them. Pilgrims, Native Americans, food. Well, there may not be pilgrims and Native Americans anywhere else, but food is everywhere. Food is life.
The importance of food and being thankful for it can be seen in these two articles: one about Havana’s second revolution, discusses how politics and food interact and the other about poverty in America, Our Cupboard was Bare. There are also many organizations that provide food and companionship to the less well-off, such as Food Finders and Volunteer Action for Aging (VAA). Food Finders provides food to the poor by connecting them with volunteers and others in the community and getting donations.
Here are some facts stated on their information brochure:
Of all the people affected by food insecurity 32% are children and 14% are seniors.
2 billion people could be fed for a year with the amount of food the U.S. throws away each year.
The VAA helps seniors to maintain independent living in their homes and provide much needed companionship. They list several ways to volunteer and help, one of which is a Thanksgiving Meal Delivery Event. Others listed on their website include:
- Friendly Visitor Program: Weekly or monthly visits to homebound senior or disabled adult in order to reduce loneliness.
- Phone-a-Friend Program: Once a week call to a homebound senior or disabled adult in an effort to offer support, conversation, and companionship.
- Administrative Assistance: Aid in administrative office duties that support our volunteers in the field.
- Volunteer Events: Episodic single day volunteer events such as Serve Day, Annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery Event, Letters to Troops, and other community projects.
On a lighter note, Thanksgiving Day can be thought of as a harvest celebration, and countries around the world have their own harvest celebrations. Each one unique and culturally important.