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Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Good Indian Food Happens to Bad People

After the positivity of yesterday's post you know I am just ready to let loose the demons that I have tried to keep quiet. "Quiet, you!" I yell over my left shoulder. They complain a little but will generally retreat. I shake my head vigorously and say "Demons OUT!" and shake a little harder to loosen the ones still in residence. It seems quite effective.

At the very least it is effective at drawing frightened glances from John.

Good. Now I can think. Is it just me or is Thinking HARD? Sometimes more than I can handle. I felt like I did too much thinking during the other night's Top Chef Finale and now my brain is mush and I am still no closer to being able to cook for riz-eal.

But today I wanted to share with you one of my pet peeves which many of you may not be aware of. And don't even assume that I am being rational. I know that this is very irrational.

I really don't like it when people tell me they don't like Indian food.
Often misunderstood, the curry just needs a chance

I don't know why I take it so personally. I know you don't mean to hurt my feelings but I really really hate it.

I feel like often times, when people realize I am an Indian American, one of the first comments I will hear is "oh I love Indian food." This comes after at least ten other people inform me that "they don't like Indian food, because they don't like cumin" or something like that.

Why does it bug me? Maybe because I know how much the food and the culture is intertwined for me. With our special events, the food was an integral part of all of it and so in many ways, its hard for me to hear that you don't care for the food, because food is so much a part of our culture.

So I make this instant assumption:

I Don't like your food = I Don't Like your Culture = I hate you people and your stinking curry.

Gandhi was one of my people. So if you don't like Bhindi Masala - it means you don't like Gandhi.

What did Gandhi ever do to you?

(I said it wasn't rationale and I am fully aware you think I am crazy but sometimes it's just better to put it all out there)

Maybe I am overly-sensitive about it. It makes me feel bewildered and sad. Like this.

I get it. Some people really just don't like any spices beyond salt and pepper. But I think if I can be open to trying some of the crap I have tried over the course of my life, you could maybe humor me and have a piece of naan with some tandoori chicken.

That's not too spicy, is it?

And I mean, you're really going to balk at chicken curry? It's tomatoes, chicken, seasoning, onions and garlic. who doesn't like that? It doesn't have to be spicy either. We Indians are very willing to work with you and we like to ensure that people are fed, maybe even more than my Italian relatives do.

So just a hint, next time you see me and want to tell me all about how you "could like indian food, but you're not crazy about cilantro or something," just keep it to yourself. Pick up some Taco Bell and eat it in the car before you get to my house. Say you have the stomach flu and don't eat what I'm serving you.

But stop telling me you don't like Indian food. It's like a dagger in me. After you tell me, I usually go to the bathroom and have a good cry about it and then I come out and figure out what the heck I am supposed to feed you now.

If you don't want to eat my mom's samosas, please know that I will judge you. If you can't dip your roti in the lamb curry, I will snort at you behind my hand, and loud enough for you to know. When you pick at a yummy kabob and think you're too good for it, I will walk over, slap that kabob out of your hand and say - yes! get your stinking hands off that kabob.

Give me back those stinking kabobs. They're too good for you.

When John and I got married, we had to have multiple caterers - for his Italian side of the family we catered in Italian food and for the Indian side we catered in Indian. So many people adamantly told John - hey you better make sure there is something for us to eat. So we represented across the ethnic board. Ironically - most of the Italian food was not eaten and everybody braved up and had the Indian food because it smelled so good.

When in Rome, John.

Or maybe I should say, when in Delhi. People will eat chappati and Rogan Josh. It you serve it, they will eat it. Especially if you get them really really boozed up in advance. (There WAS a lot of booze. They must have thought the naan was garlic bread or something).

Our reception where Italians and Indians danced and ate in harmony

So just telling you. If I serve you Indian food and you don't happen to like it - slip it in your napkin and feed it to our neighbor's dog. Don't tell me you don't like it because I am still hormonal and I can't be trusted to respond appropriately other than maybe throwing my samosa at your head.
This looks light but I have wielded it before and caused someone intense pain

And just to reiterate, your dislike will always be a wedge in a our relationship, I am just being honest. So you go on judging and acting like you know what the bloody hell you are talking about and I'll make sure never to offer you my mom's famous chicken biryani.

There's only one SUCKA in that situation and its not me.



Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

Daaaaang girl! You let those samosas fly! You can cook for me anytime. My husband loves, loves, loves all of it. He has traveled a lot to Bali. And I just haven't been around it enough to form an opinion. Especially an authentic Indian recipe. So, I'm down to be invited to your dinner party. You tell me when and twinsie will be there.

miss dabree said...

There is no rational way an intelligent person couldn't like Indian food. It has so many complex, but fresh flavors, it's always awesome. Even when it's not done right, it's still really good.
I think people that don't like different cultures' foods are limited by palette and mind and perhaps you should think of it that way. THEY are the ones who are missing out.
It has always been a treat to myself and whomever I am seeing to go out for Indian food. It means you are eating well and it is a comfort food also so it makes you more comfortable with the person.

So basically don't listen to the haters, Kiran, Indian food is awesome!

Masala Chica said...

Thanks Debbie. You are SOOO right.

So I guess you are board with me using the samosa as a weapon, right?


miss dabree said...

I think vindaloo-soaked Naan bread rolled in fennel would make for a more dangerous weapon, but those samosas can be sharp (and sadly sometimes dry).

(I did, however hit up Rasoi in Little India in Jersey City and their samosas were to die for!!)

Masala Chica said...

(brought over from Facebook)

Frank Lin - I LOVE Indian food! But I also understand why certain people don't.. My ex grew up in a household (Spain) where salt was the only spice in the kitchen..ok, maybe parsley..They like the "natural" taste of food. Point being, if you didn't grow up with the spice, and can't take the heat of it, there really isn't much that you can eat except for roti! Also, some people don't know how to appreciate the smell of good food on their cloths..that could be a problem as well!

James Mangano -Food equals love... So Kiran, Now you realize how much I love you.

Masala Chica - Frank, I realized that last night's blog was too agressive. I had too much wine when I wrote it. I revised it now so that its much more "passive aggressive" which is better. Dude I am sorry to hear that your ex did not like indian food. I hope she is happy somewhere eating paella. It's sad we shall never meet.

Find a good dry cleaner! That is key for anyone who likes indian food.

Jimmy - I love you too!

Laurel Cox Smith
We ate it last night (all of us... kids included)! A little C'ville Maharaja love!

Debbie Manville
I LOVE Iindian food, no second thought necessary.

Amiotesh Kumar Singh
definatelyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy I'm Lovin' it

Kim Hall
Hmm, Kiran, I've never had Indian food (that I can recall). You should throw some over the fence so I can try!

Tish Das
haha -lol ... nice ... btw, like the wedding reception pic - good memories ... :-)

Senita L. Sullivan
I LOVE Indian food. And no, you are NOT being too sensitive or irrational when people say that to you. One of my homegirls is a communication professor specializing in intercultural communication. I read your instant assumptions to her and she said that your assumptions are absolutely correct.

Additionally, I make the same assumptions when men tell me they don't date Black women - which, ironically, I've only heard from Black men (what the crap kind of foolishness is that!)

Masala Chica
Kim - I will cook for you ANYTIME. Piku - that WAS fun, wasn't it?

Senita - I knew it wasn't in my head and now your smart friend has confirmed it. wow. I will have to think about this some more. As for the men who say they don't date black women, I think we can hit them on the head with those samosas too. Or as debbie suggested - some stale naan.

send em my way sister!

Meaghan said...

Kiran - we love, love, love Indian food! You can cook for us anytime (when we're back on that coast, of course). There's acually a FAB place in Laurel,MD where we went every Monday and became part of the "family". Every time we went we had to get a Ledo's pizza for David's mom b/c she doesn't like Indian (which, by the way, she's never tried) We're 0 for 5 in restaurants out here and I'm having serious withdrawl:(
Miss Dabree, I used to live in J.C and LOVE Rasoi!

Masala Chica said...

Meaghan, Next time you are here - I would LOVE to cook for you guys - promise not to disappoint :-) Miss you!


kys said...

I love Indian food. And I'm not just saying that to be nice. Indian food is very hard to find where I live which makes it even more delicious when I finally get some. (That's what she said.)

Masala Chica said...

KYS - I knew that you were a woman after my own heart!

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom said...

I can't imagine disliking Indian food. Since a gyro was considered exotic in my hometown, I had to wait until college to experience masala and navratan korma and dal and everything else that is yummy and good. I am determined to make up for this by indoctrinating my daughter. She eats chana like it's going extinct, so I think I'm on the right track.

Alison said...

Kiran, I'll do you one better than just loving Indian food. Right now I live in Islamabad and let me tell you how much I HATE Pakistani food. It's all ghee and no flavor, so all you get is a plate of meat mush and a big, fat a$$. Indian food, however, is like mana from heaven.

Loving your blog!

Masala Chica said...

Ali! Hey Beautiful - its so wonderful to hear from you from islamabad. You know - I always thought that Indian food was similar to Pakistani food, so I am surprised. Not speaking from experience - I just always made that assumption. I highly doubt the big fat a$$ my dear. you were always so tall and thin.



Shons said...

Just caught your awesome blog on DCblogs. I am also Indian and I feel your pain when people tell me they dont like Indian food. Its like the kicked my dog and punched my mom all at the same time.

Masala Chica said...

Hey Shons - thanks for stopping by! I love meeting some of my peeps who can empathize :-) I really shouldn't take it so personally but it's hard not to.

Oh well, more curry for me, I guess!

MiMi said...

Sadly, I have never had Indian food. But I think I would like it.
And also I would PAY to see you slap a kabob away from somebody. That would be hilarious!

alessandra said...

Is it ok, if I tell you that I love masala dosa and tandoori chicken?
Plus I'm 100% italian and I married a Moroccan, so I totally understand the discrimination thing and the pain. :)


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