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Other People’s Food Pt. 4: Rosie Perez ≠ Rice And Beans

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Oct 06, 2016

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Ahead of the launch of a new series on race, culture and food called "Who Is This Restaurant For?" we’re repeating our series Other Peoples Food, in case you missed part of it the first time around.

In the fourth episode in our series, we hang with Rosie Perez.

Rosie loves food. The Academy Award-nominated actress (below on the red carpet, with her father) also knows a thing or two about stereotypes:

"A lot of the media jumped on the image I had portrayed in 'Do The Right Thing,' labeling me as street and tough," Rosie writes in her recent autobiography. "Yes, my accent was strong, yes, I was Brooklyn, yes, I was poor, but did that mean I should be limited to only playing unintelligent, downtrodden, and humiliating stereotypes?"

RosieFather

This week on The Sporkful, Rosie opens up about her personal experiences with stereotypes of food and culture -- in an interview taped live onstage at WNYC's Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York:

"You know it’s so insulting when people go, 'Do you still eat rice and beans?' ... Yes I still eat a lot of Puerto Rican food, but I like all kinds of food," she tells Dan. "They wouldn’t ask an American, 'Do you still eat meat and potatoes?' Why would you ask me that? Is that what you see? You don’t see me as a human being first?"

RiceBeans_lonbinder

Later in the conversation, Rosie gets personal, talking about her childhood spent going back and forth between her loving, "very Puerto Rican" aunt's home, and an abusive Catholic convent where they tried to beat her Puerto Rican identity out of her.

When she went to Puerto Rico for the first time as a child, the food there helped her to cement who she really is:

"I felt like an alien inside the convent," Rosie tells Dan. "But when I went to Puerto Rico I was like, 'This is me.'"

Listen in to the full episode to hear what happens when Dan asks Rosie why it offends her when people ask her about eating Puerto Rican food -- and to hear Rosie talk about her memories of learning how to cook with her Aunt Ana in Brooklyn.

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with Dan on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

This is a rebroadcast of an earlier episode.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

- "Fresh Air" by Erick Anderson

- "Dreamin'" by Erick Anderson

- "Legend" by Erick Anderson

Photos: Matthew Septimus; FlickrCC/Jessica and Lon BinderHollywood.comFlickrCC/my kasahara 

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