WaPo corrects controversial Indian food column

WaPo corrects controversial Indian food column
The Indian curry debate has again rocked social media

The Washington Post issued a clarification over “curry,” days after Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Gene Weingarten received backlash from furious readers for “racist” stereotyping of Indian food.

Mr Weingarten courted controversy through a column titled “You can’t make me eat these foods,” in which he wrongly claimed that the entire Indian cuisine is based on one spice and that is “curry.”

In its clarification for the column published on 19 August, WaPo wrote: “A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Indian cuisine is based on one spice, curry, and that Indian food is made up only of curries, types of stew. In fact, India’s vastly diverse cuisines use many spice blends and include many other types of dishes.”

Although the author received flak for expressing his dislike for other popular food items such as anchovies, blue cheese and hazelnut, netizens especially tore into him for his lack of knowledge on the diverse and multi-cultural cuisine that is home to India.

“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,” the column read.

“Top Chef” mentor and author Padma Lakshmi called the article “white nonsense” and asked Mr Weingarten to “kindly f**k off.”

She added: “Is this really the type of coloniser ‘hot take’ the Washington Post wants to publish in 2021 – sardonically characterising curry as ‘one spice’ and that all of India’s cuisine is based on it?”

Similarly, Mindy Kaling, an American actor with roots in south Asia, slammed the article on Twitter. ”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,” she wrote.

“Dude you f*****g boiled down some of the most diverse cuisine to ‘ew curry’. It was racist and terrible and made me even question where you’ve even eaten Indian food. I am still appalled it made it to print,” said a user.

Mr Weingarten apologised on Twitter for his “whining infantile ignorant” column.

“I should have named a single Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, and I do see how that broad-brush was insulting. Apologies. Also, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices,” he wrote on Monday.

In an earlier post on Monday, Mr Weingarten said “took nothing back” after a taste of Indian food at Rasika, Washington, DC’s “best Indian restaurant.”

“Took a lot of blowback for my dislike of Indian food in today’s column so tonight I went to Rasika, DC’s best Indian restaurant. Food was beautifully prepared yet still swimming with the herbs & spices I most despise. I take nothing back,” he wrote.