Kali Wilgus and Liz "LC" Connely", two white women who operate Kooks Burritos in Portland, OR, are being accused of cultural appropriation and stealing recipes after selling Mexican-inspired cuisine out of their pop-up style taco truck. The two women reportedly took a trip to Puerto Nuevo last year during which they spoke to local women about how they made their tortillas. "I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did," Connelly told the Willamette Week. "They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look."
After returning from the trip, Connelly explained that she attempted to recreate the tortilla recipes she tasted in Mexico through a trial and error process, and then filled them with "California-inspired" ingredients that would satisfy the hungry people of Portland. Now the women have virtually disappeared off the face of the earth after a rough critique in the Portland Mercury sparked harsh backlash. Kooks Burritos has deleted its website, Instagram account, Facebook page, and Twitter profile despite having their fair share of supporters. The shop had been open for months and was for the most part a hit before the May 16th blog post was published, stating "Because of Portland's underlying racism, the people who rightly own these traditions and cultures that exist are already treated poorly." It continues, "These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise."
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