Why Arugula's Ubiquity Matters
We live in a global society of instant gratification.
In the same way that friends and family around the world are now only an email, text, or Skype call away, it increasingly seems like just about any type of food is available to us in any place and at any time we want it.
It's easy to forget the time when peppery arugula wasn't a given in every supermarket in town, and melt-in-your-mouth premium Wagyu required a round trip airline ticket to Tokyo. When mozzarella meant only the gummy stuff found at your local pizza joint (the true, fresh mozzarella balls but a dream of past Italy trips).
But these days, as our borders, languages and customs have become more fluid, vernacular cuisine now bears global influences. Our fries come regularly dusted with flaky fleur de sel from France and popcorn comes dashed with white truffle oil from Northern Italy. Look closely and you'll begin to realize how much overlap there can be between disparate cuisines, from the emphasis on rigorous technique shared by French and Japanese chefs to the common palate of spice and garlic found in both Korean and Mexican dishes.
There's no question that the globalization of ingredients makes for stimulating dining, but it also has important cultural repercussions. Since food is perhaps the most accessible path toward understanding an unfamiliar culture, let's hope that this culinary trend fosters greater cultural cross-pollination among the members of our global community.