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A PROFESSOR LACKING GOOD TASTE

Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
January 2020
A PROFESSOR LACKING GOOD TASTE

Not many of us enjoy eating every kind of ethnic food. But we’re usually smart enough not to pass judgement publicly on other people’s tastes and preferences. Tom Nichols, an international affairs professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island, wasn’t so wise when a Twitter user asked him for some “controversial food opinions.”

“Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn’t,” he tweeted, adding that “people often pretend to like non-American cuisines as a way of showing sophistication. I’m honest enough to say that my mostly Irish taste buds can’t handle whatever it is that is called ‘Indian’ in the U.S. and U.K.”

Predictably, there was a heavy backlash on Twitter. “Do you not have taste buds?” Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef, asked Nichols. Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, tweeted, “Tom, I’ll take you to a place. We need to bring the country together. #ButterChickenSummit.”

Eileen De Freest, an American YouTuber living in the U.K., tweeted that “one of the great joys of living here is the Indian/Pakistani food. You may find the perfumed spices not to your liking but, wow, I LOVE IT. All of it. Plus, like every country there are delightful regional styles & dishes.”

Nichols responded to the uproar with an op-ed in USA Today, saying that he was not targeting the billion people who genuinely love Indian food, but was “trying to tweak the pretentious foodies among Americans whom I often suspect of suffering through meals they don’t like for the sake of saying they are engaging in ‘authentic’ cuisine.”

 


Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]



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