The connections between neighborhoods, ethnicities and food are quite strong. So I wondered, what if we could relate data about geography and ethnicity through taste?
I then created recipes for each borough, assigning ingredients to each group of people, keeping proportions, flavor profiles and reasonable correlations in mind. The population figures of each group determined the volume of each ingredient and when combined, produced five different spice rubs, one for each borough of New York City.
Not everyone loved the rubs, of course. A few people were angry and offended as soon as they understood that the barbecue rubs represented census data and people groups. "You know," they would say, "some people would find this very offensive." "Are you saying that this group is this ingredient?" "Isn't this racist?" "How do you know this is the right ingredient?"