From Spencer two cubicles away from me:
So I'm going to [vacation spot], and will be hosted by a family. Apparently, it's a cultural thing that guests treat their host family with food from the region they're from. What can I give them?
The obvious answer would be any of our ethnic cuisines that you can find best in Orange County and few other places–Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, chilango, Michoacán–but those cuisines aren't indigenous to OC. Nor is Mexican-American cuisine, at least the way we know it today. Valencia oranges? Maybe back in the day, but I doubt Spencer wants me to give him that as an answer without me going on a rant about the Citrus War.
I wish the padres hadn't destroyed Juaneño culture so much that few of their recipes didn't stick around, although my chica knows how to make a wonderful acorn bread. Though Orange County is now home to many fast-food chain empires, their offerings weren't created in OC–even Old Man Karcher got the idea for a hamburger from somewhere else.
We're left with three options: the Kogi taco (remember that the founder attended Villa Park High), the Balboa bar and the boysenberry. I suggest Spencer take his hosts a jar of boysenberry jam, not only for its delicious, tart flavor, but because it tells the Orange County story of bigotry and capitalism well. Mmmm…that's good hate!
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