In response to "Department of New Jerkies" (Cookstuff, Dec. 8), I cannot stand by and watch our indigenous California foods constantly being attributed to other cultures. There is a pervasive attitude here in the Southland that there is no local culture, and that is not true.
When I was a child, I enjoyed our road trips to the edge of L.A., where the people that lived in those dome-shaped houses made of tules would sit by the roadside and sell rattlesnake, halibut, trout and beef jerkies. Salmon jerky would begin to appear only a short distance to the north.
During the 1970s, the Board of Health made a concerted and successful effort to rid our culture of all open-cooked foods. People's memories are apparently very short, as most of this tradition has been forgotten. I have always maintained the tradition of making fish jerky in my home.
Although it is true that Japan and other countries share many of the same traditions we do, everything that a person is unfamiliar with is not necessarily from somewhere else.