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Should ‘Curry’ be Cancelled?

Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
September 2021
Should ‘Curry’ be Cancelled?

Chaheti Bansal, a California-based food blogger, caused a stir in Britain and elsewhere when she suggested in a video that the word ‘curry’ should be canceled. The Instagram video went viral after it was shared by Buzzfeed Tasty, gaining more than 3.6 million views and causing an uproar in the British media.

ChaiTime_10_09_21.jpgBansal said she didn’t understand what ‘curry’ meant when applied to Indian cuisine.

According to historian Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, an associate professor at University of Vermont, the word ‘curry’ does not exist in any South Asian language. “Curry is one of these words that most historians attribute to the British bad ear,” she told NBC News.

One theory is that British officers in colonial times misheard the Tamil word ‘kari,’ turned it into ‘curry’ and applied it to all Indian dishes, instead of learning the various regional terms.

​Using ‘curry’ for some South Asian dishes is acceptable, but it’s important to be discriminating, Bansal told NBC News. “My partner is Sri Lankan, I have friends that are Malayali, friends that are Tamil, and yes they use the word curry,” she said. “I enjoy their curry. Even their curry names have very specific traditional names paired with it, or it’s referring to something very specific. But you shouldn’t just lump all of our foods together under this term.”

More of ChaiTime here:

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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