Indians and true foodies around the world are furious after an opinion piece in the Washington Post, written by humorous columnist Gene Weingarten, described Indian cuisine as “based entirely on one spice”, and may do falling “a vulture from a meat wagon”. The article, since its publication, has been criticized by celebrity chefs, top diplomats, food lovers in general and Indians on social media for its ignorant remarks, with many calling it racist.
In the article published on August 19, Weingarten wrote: âThe Indian subcontinent has greatly enriched the world, giving us failures, buttons, the mathematical concept of zero, shampoo, nonviolent political resistance of modern times, chutes and scales, the Fibonacci sequence, rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB portsâ¦ and the world’s only ethnic cuisine madly based entirely on one spice. “
TV host and Top Chef judge Padma Lakshmi criticized the article for being “lazy and racist” and accused Weingarten of “gleefully reducing the culture and country of 1.3 billion people to a punchline (frankly) weak”.
Here’s how people reacted to the article and its author on Twitter:
After the backlash, the Washington Post updated the column, saying, âAn earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Indian cuisine is based on a spice, curry, and Indian food is made up of curries only, of types of stew. In fact, the very diverse cuisines of India use many mixtures of spices and include many other types of dishes. The article has been corrected.
I took a lot of perspective on my aversion to Indian food in today’s column, so tonight I went to Rasika, DC’s best Indian restaurant. The food was beautifully prepared but always swam with the herbs and spices that I despise the most. I don’t take anything away. https://t.co/ZSR5SPcwMF – Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) 23 Aug 2021
From start to finish plus the illo, the chronicle was about how I am an ignorant, whining head of a child. I should have named just one Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, and I see how insulting that brush was. Apologies. (Plus, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices.) – Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) 23 Aug 2021
Initially, Weingarten himself responded to the reaction by saying he had gone out to dine at the best Indian restaurant in Washington DC, and the food “always swam with the herbs and spices that I despise the most.” I don’t take anything away. However, he offered a better apology later, accepting his fault.
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