Actor-producer Mindy Kaling and model-television host Padma Lakshmi have slammed a post that said Indian cuisine has only one spice. In an article written by American columnist Gene Weingarten for Washington Post, he spoke at length about Indian food and ‘the only ethnic cuisine in the world insanely based entirely on one spice’.
Reacting to the article, Meena Harris, lawyer and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted, “Apropos of absolutely nothing name your ONE favorite Indian spice. I’ll go first: asafoetida.”
Replying to her tweet, Mindy Kaling said, “I love fenugreek! There are so many spices in this wonderful cuisine!” She also tweeted, “You don’t like a cuisine? Fine. But it’s so weird to feel defiantly proud of not liking a cuisine. You can quietly not like something too.”
Padma Lakshmi in a series of tweets said, “What in the white nonsense is this?” She added, “Is this really the type of colonizer ‘hot take’ the @washingtonpost wants to publish in 2021- sardonically characterizing curry as ‘one spice’ and that all of India’s cuisine is based on it?”
She also shared a screenshot of the article that read, “Indian food. The Indian subcontinent has vastly enriched the world, giving us chess, buttons, the mathematical concept of zero, shampoo, modern-day nonviolent political resistance, Chutes and Ladders, the Fibonacci sequence, rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB ports … and the only ethnic cuisine in the world insanely based entirely on one spice. If you like Indian curries, yay, you like Indian food! If you think Indian curries taste like something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon, you do not like Indian food.”
The article has now been modified and it now reads, “…rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB ports … and curry. If you like Indian curries, yay, you like one of India’s most popular class of dishes! If you think Indian curries taste like something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon, you do not like a lot of Indian food.”
Besides the tweet, Padma also took to Instagram and shared a lengthy note reacting to the piece. A part of her note read, “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.”
Following the criticism, Gene took to Twitter and said that he visited an Indian restaurant again and while the food was ‘beautifully prepared yet still swimming with the herbs & spices I most despise’. He added, “I take nothing back.” Replying to him Padma tweeted, “On behalf of 1.3 billion people, kindly f*** off.”