In her biweekly column, A Shared Tradition, CIA grad and amateur food historian Molly Siegler cruises around the world (and into the depths of her pantry) to explore the versatility of a single food item.
This week: Molly travels to Austria, Japan, Italy, and the American Midwest on the back of the humble pork cutlet.
Photo by William Brinson
I love a good food theme and I have a competitive side, so the idea of creating multiple meal themes from one food item felt like a good way to satisfy both appetites. A recent article in the New York Times by one of my favorite writers, Melissa Clark, got me thinking about how versatile a single ingredient could be. How could the same food item -- in this case, the pork cutlet -- be altered to represent different culinary traditions?
One line from an Emily Dickinson poem I was forced to read in eighth grade has always remained trapped in my head: There is no frigate [ship] like a book. I love that line, but I think your plate should be right up there with its ability to transport you. Let’s go!
Transport yourself to Vienna with this schnitzel of a meal.
For a quick lunch in Kyoto, a tonkatsu-style cutlet will do just fine.
Midwestern United States
For a cozy fall supper, these ingredients highlight the best the Midwest has to offer.
For an Italian meal worthy of the highest praise, draw inspiration from the saltimbocca (traditionally made with veal).
These are just a few of the ways I like to travel by way of pork cutlet. What other regionally inspired meals would you create based on this staple? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Do you love a good food theme as much as I do? Tell me what food items or themes you'd like to see featured in this column and your idea could be the subject of an upcoming post!
Molly is a chef and food educator living and cooking in Northern Wisconsin. When she's not dreaming up themed menus, she's dishing out other delicious content as the editorial assistant for the Whole Foods Market Cooking program.