Wandering Eye: Native American cuisine is primed for a comeback, sleazy tech companies, and more

Here in Baltimore, you can find restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world—Ethiopian, Nepalese, Afghani, Korean, German, Lebanese, Peruvian, Brazilian, the list goes on and on. But in a culinary climate that promotes local eating and ethnic cuisines, one cuisine is surprisingly underrepresented: Native American. Eater has an essay arguing that Native cuisines (there isn't just one—"there are 566 federally recognized Indian Nations . . . and there are regional [if not tribal] differences between food preparations and ingredients") should be the next big thing for the American palate. For one, it'll appeal to the farm-to-table fans, as Native chefs try to use foods indigenous to their area. And it'll appeal to the health nuts avoiding processed foods: "Today, many Native chefs focus on what's known as a pre-colonization menu — the foods that were eaten before European settlers came to the Americas. That means no factory-produced white flours, processed sugars, and dairy, and no farmed meats like beef, pork, and chicken." There are very few Native restaurants now— "Even New York City, one of the culinary capitals of the United States, has boasted only one such restaurant, the now-defunct Silverbird, which opened in the mid-'80s. It says something that one of the few Native restaurants on the East Coast is housed in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C." But Native chefs believe their cuisine is finally going to get its time to shine. "It's a cuisine that people, once they are exposed to it, absolutely love," says Loretta Barrett Oden, member of the Potawotami tribe, chef, and host of PBS television show "Seasoned with Spirit." (Anna Walsh)

 

Gotta love this New York Times editorial on the "loopholes" that allow companies to hire tech workers from overseas while laying off Americans. As literally everyone alive on Planet Earth has known for at least two decades, corporations have used the H-1B program, as it's known, to bring cheaper, foreign computer programmers into the country through service agencies as perma-temps while laying off full-time, more-expensive employees here. The legislative history is easy to find as are examples of the law in practice. Companies often have the laid-off employees train their temporary replacements, as the L.A. Times' Michael Hilzik wrote in a February column the NYT linked to. "A mass influx of foreigners doing the jobs of the workers they displace is clearly not what the law intended," the NYT states, like Captain Renault upon discovering gaming at Rick's Cafe Americain. (The Times' "winnings" include at least some of the 98 H-1B employees it requested via the Department of Labor, according to this tracker.) "Congress surely did not want to give companies a more efficient means of slashing payroll costs while pushing more people to the curb. But despite common perceptions about the H-1B law, it does not require companies to recruit American workers before looking overseas." How could that have happened? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Maybe you noticed our cover story this week is all about the horse industry and the tax breaks that support it. Because it doesn't seem like these tax breaks are going away anytime soon, you might as well enjoy them. And lucky for you, Laurel Park is moving up its summer schedule of racing! Previously, it didn't start running in August as part of some agreement with Colonial Downs, in Virginia, but now that that track's gone, Laurel can take advantage of the heart of the summer, as The Sun reports. Also in the works: "a new Friday twilight series featuring live music and food and other family-oriented days." Your tax dollars at work! (Brandon Weigel)

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