September 25, 2023


Qualified food specialists

Padma Lakshmi responds to Washington Post writer who doesn’t ‘get’ Indian food

2 min read

(NEXSTAR) – Padma Lakshmi didn’t mince words when responding to the Washington Post columnist who characterized Indian cuisine as “something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon.”

Gene Weingarten, the author of the column, had written an opinion piece for the Post detailing his picky-eating habits, including his hatred of Old Bay seasoning and balsamic vinegar, the latter of which he described as smelling like “the anteroom of a 19th century San Francisco bordello.”

But it was Weingarten’s comments about Indian cuisine that Lakshmi — and plenty of readers — took issue with.

Weingarten began his rant on Indian food by giving credit to the Indian subcontinent for inventing “chess, buttons, the mathematical concept of zero, shampoo, modern-day nonviolent political resistance, Chutes and Ladders, the Fibonacci sequence, rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB ports … and the only ethnic cuisine in the world insanely based entirely on one spice.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist then went on to describe his distaste for Indian food, calling it something that “could knock a vulture off a meat wagon” and saying he just didn’t “get it.”

Lakshmi, an accomplished television personality and cookbook author who has written opinion pieces for the Washington Post in the past, shared a screengrab of Weingarten’s column to Twitter.

“What in the white nonsense™️ is this?” she captioned the post. She followed up by calling out the Washington Post for publishing what she described as a “colonizer ‘hot take.’”

She also tweeted directly at Weingarten and told him to “f— off” on behalf of the people of India.

Other Twitter users also began bashing Weingarten for his apparent misunderstanding and mischaracterization of Indian food.

Weingarten, who admitted that this would be his most “hated” column, initially responded to the backlash by claiming to have visited an Indian restaurant. In a Twitter post that has since been deleted, he admitted that the food was “beautifully prepared” but ultimately declared that he takes “nothing back.”

On Monday, however, he apologized.

“From start to finish plus the [illustration], the column was about what a whining infantile ignorant d—head I am,” he wrote on Twitter. “I should have named a single Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, & I do see how that broad-brush was insulting. Apologies. (Also, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices.)”

In addition, the Washington Post has since amended Weingarten’s opinion article with a correction.

“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,” reads a correction posted to the top of the online article. “In fact, India’s vastly diverse cuisines use many spice blends and include many other types of dishes. The article has been corrected.”

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