Blog Title: Foreign Fork
About: Alexandria is the food blogger behind The Foreign Fork, a food blog on which she is cooking one meal from every country in the world. After graduating college, Alexandria backpacked for 6 months, eating and cooking everywhere she went. When she came home, she wanted to continue the adventure, so she started her food blog! For two years now, Alexandria has been cooking the world in alphabetical order, “traveling” to each country from her kitchen.
Notes from Episode #128: How To Avoid Cultural Appropriation
Fun fact: Alexandria loves to read. She has been working her way through a list of classic books for the last couple of years. There’s 300 classic books on that list and that is what she spends a lot of free time doing.
Alexandria joins Megan this week on the show to share about how her her 6 month journey backpacking across more than 15 countries, starting in Italy, taught her about different cultures, how she sampled their foods and how that turned into The Foreign Fork once she returned home. She shares ways that you can be sensitive to people of other cultures and avoid appropriation.
Takeaways from this episode:
- Alexandria was intentional about taking cooking classes and learning about the food of each country that she visited while living abroad. It helped inspire Foreign Fork.
- Every 2 weeks, Alexandria shares about a new country on her blog. In addition to actual recipes, she shares about the culture and what is unique to the country.
- She plans to make it through the entire alphabet in about 9-10 years with just some time off here and there for holidays.
- Alexandria helps her audience to experience traveling and new cultures with her style of blog, especially now while we’re staying at home more in the pandemic and many peoples travel plans have been interrupted.
- Avoiding cultural appropriation starts with being respectful of the culture; doing your homework and speaking to people from there to help authenticate the recipes being shared.
- Alexandria tries to research ingredients and cooking methods unique to each country she’s sharing on.
- When she can’t replicate something exactly or knows her audience might not be able to attain the recipe ingredients easily, she makes note of substitutions and options for them so they can still try out a meal/appetizer/dessert.
- Alexandria uses Facebook groups to help connect with people from other countries. This also allows her to get to know people in her community, and to ask questions of someone native to the country she’s creating food from.
- The Foreign Fork gets a lot of traffic from Facebook groups she’s joined so Alexandria’s focus this year is to build up traffic from other platforms.
- There’s a thin line between appreciation and appropriation of sharing a cultural meal that you’re not a native of. Be respectful of differences and be sure to honor a culture with your take on it.
- If you’ve published a recipe that an audience member shares is incorrect to a culture’s way of preparing it, Alexandria recommends thanking someone for that heads up, then go back and do your research again, update the blog post with your findings.
- Have fun visiting new niche grocery stores. Buy random snacks or seasonings and sauces. Try preparing something with them. Share that with your audience. It’ll create interest within your audience.
- Alexandria’s favorite quote: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
Helpful references from the episode:
Congratulations! Foreign Fork won a Saveur Blog Award for Most Groundbreaking Voice in 2019!