The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘curry’ as ‘a food, dish, or sauce in Indian cuisine seasoned with a mixture of pungent spices.’ Note – spices – not one spice.
But seems like Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten forgot to refer to any dictionary whatsoever before blatantly declaring that Indian cuisine ‘is the only ethnic cuisine in the world insanely based entirely on one spice.’ By that one spice, he was referring to the ingredients of a curry – half of which I am sure he would never have heard of before.
In a fantastical list of foods that no one can make him eat, Mr. Weingarten went on to include an entire cuisine. The Indian cuisine. And now he sits flabbergasted at the social media bashing that he received left, right, and center from the billions of Indians and all South Asians. Because no matter how many pizzas we may devour we all still love our curries and respect the cultural heritage that our food brings with it.
Our grandmas would smirk at us, and tell us that we are lazy to be just picking masalas from shelves of the supermarket, while they made them at home by carefully roasting and lovingly grinding the spices to make aromatic blends that made their food delectable.
Activist, model, author, host, and renowned chef, Padma Lakshmi set SM on fire by rightly calling out this piece. She wrote, “There is truly no need for something like this to be published in 2021 (or ever). It’s racist and lazy at best. My issue is not this person’s performative contrarianism (although it is tedious) or that he didn’t enjoy the Indian cuisines he’s tasted. My problem is in this attempt at a comedic piece he’s actually just regurgitating old colonizer tropes, gleefully reducing the culture and country of 1.3 billion people to a (frankly) weak punchline- and that the @washingtonpost published it.
As one Twitter commenter said:
“I pride myself on my Pakistani cooking. I also love South Indian, and fusion dishes. That you got paid to write this tripe, and boldly spew your racism is deplorable.
May your rice be clumpy, roti dry, your chilies unforgivable, your chai cold, and your papadams soft.” – @footybedsheets ”
We could not have expressed the feeling better!
Though the article has now been edited and the author has apologized – not too willingly it seems as he had initially refused to ‘take back his words,’ it is indeed disappointing to read something like this from someone who obviously does not understand the cuisine.
We would suggest Gene Weingarten check out the latest season of MasterChef Australia and acquire some more knowledge about Indian cuisine, (the 3 judges on the show are far more qualified than him for sure) which he is eager to disregard at the drop of a hat.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.