Washington Post column denigrating Indian cuisine elicits backlash, correction, apology


The Washington Post this week published a correction and rebuttal of a humorous column after the writer’s reaction to Indian cuisine as “the only ethnic food in the world based entirely on a single spice.”

In his weekly Washington Post Magazine column, Gene Weingarten wrote a list of foods that he doesn’t like to sarcastically challenge criticism that he “looks like a toddler that I seem to adamantly hate and complain to many. food “.

With Old Bay seasoning, balsamic vinegar, blue cheese (“rhymes with” eeuuu cheese “), he listed Indian cuisine.

“The Indian subcontinent has greatly enriched the world, giving us chess, buttons, the mathematical concept of zero, shampoo, modern day nonviolent political resistance, falls and scales, the Fibonacci sequence, rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB ports … and the world’s only ethnic cuisine that is incredibly one-spice-based, ”Weingarten wrote in the column’s original version.

“If you like Indian curries, yes you like Indian food!” says the original text, according to screenshots.

“If you think Indian curries taste like something that could knock a vulture off a meat cart, you don’t like Indian food very much.… It’s like the French have passed a demanding law. that a large part of their dishes are coated with mashed and mashed snails, ”added the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

On Monday, “Top Chef” and “Taste the Nation” host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi tweeted screenshots of the article and asked, “What’s that this white nonsense? “

On Wednesday, she wrote for the Washington Post that Weingarten’s column “is unintentionally anti-humor, regurgitating an unimaginative racist joke without a punchline.”

“His writing, besides being racist and lazy, just isn’t funny,” she added.

Lakshmi, who was born in India and wrote “The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World”, also gave a brief overview of the word “curry”, which was coined by the colonizers and has been used in racial slurs against people of Indian descent.

“For generations people have hurled racist slurs at the ‘stinky’ food of immigrants: Italians with garlic, Irish with cabbage, Koreans with kimchi and, yes, South Asians with curry. was never funny, ”she wrote.

“What’s confusing is that editors and editors let their words slip. Does The Post still have so little diversity among editors that this mini screed has not raised no red flag? ” she said, baffled that such a take could go to press in 2021. She pointed out that the newspaper’s food editor had nothing to do with the article.

In response to the coin’s recoil, Weingarten repeatedly defended himself.

“I took a lot of perspective for 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 with the highest standards. herbs and spices that I despise the most. I don’t take anything away, “he said. wrote in a tweet since deleted.

But the Washington Post added a correction at the top of its column that read: “An 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, Types of Stew In fact, the very diverse cuisines of India use many blends of spices and include many other types of dishes. “The Indian food portion of the article has been edited.

Lakshmi said the correction was about factual errors “but not the root of the problem: bigotry.”

In response to Lakshmi, Weingarten said that “from start to finish,” including the illustration of Weingarten as an adult baby in a high chair with a bib, “the column was about who I am.”

“I should have named just one Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, and I see how insulting that brush was,” he said. “Apologies. (Plus, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices.)”


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