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A View of L.A. : Kaleidoscope of Cuisines

February 07, 2001

Two of the letters you've published recently annoyed me sufficiently to trigger a response. I thoroughly enjoy the articles about various cultures and the recipes that accompany them. Of course, I will prepare only a few of them, but reading the recipes gives me a better understanding of the food I eat in various ethnic restaurants.

Los Angeles has never been a monochromatic society. The variety makes the place interesting, and food is certainly an important part of the whole culture of this place. Since so many people don't know much about cooking these days, adding extra directions certainly doesn't hurt the recipes. I have been cooking for many years but am always interested in seeing new ways of doing things.

BEVERLY TAYLOR

Via E-Mail

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American cooking with its influences from many countries seems to me to be what you should be concentrating on. I have no problem with foreigners, but they are here because they chose America, for the most part, so let's show them how delicious our foods are.

ESTHER W. NELSON

Whittier

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I cook and bake intuitively. I rarely use any one recipe as written. Sometimes I take out three or four recipes related to what I'd like to create and read them over. Then I put them away and cook or bake my own concoction based on them.

Yes, sometimes the Food Section prints recipes designed for the culinarily challenged. So, while acknowledging the diversity among Food Section readers, I read through those recipes for whatever I can learn about the process and/or pairing of ingredients. It takes only a few seconds to scan a recipe for ideas.

I generally read every word of the features on ethnic cooking. I collect connective thoughts about spices, seasonings and condiments, which I frequently apply later. I study ethnic cooking processes to give me an idea of that culture's value system and perception of reality. I frequently appropriate ideas from recipes without even remembering where I got them.

I consider The Times' Food Section recipes to be elegantly balanced between the culinary novice and the expert, and feel personally expanded by articles about ethnic food and about unique and unusual fruits and vegetables. Please continue to be as eclectic as you are!

CARLA STRANDBERG

Long Beach

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Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Letters are subject to editing and condensation. Send to Food Letters, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or e-mail to food@latimes.com.

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