Padma Lakshmi Slammed a Washington Post Columnist Who Said He Doesn’t 'Get' Indian Food

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Padma Lakshmi Slammed a Washington Post Columnist Who Said He Doesn’t 'Get' Indian Food
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Earlier this week, the Washington Post Magazine published an opinion piece titled “You can’t make me eat these foods.” The author, humor columnist Gene Weingarten, wrote about how he doesn’t eat several foods and explains why. The article discusses his thoughts on why he refuses to eat foods like cooked green peppers, sweet pickles, or balsamic vinegar.

“Okay, you take some perfectly good vinegar and infuse it with perfumes that make it smell like the anteroom of a 19th-century San Francisco bordello,” he writes. “Then you declare it elegant, charge a pretty penny and ruin an otherwise fine salad in seconds flat.”

But Weingarten also said he doesn't “get” Indian food “as a culinary principle.”

“It is as though the French passed a law requiring a wide swath of their dishes to be slathered in smashed, pureed snails,” he wrote, referring to Indian curries. People on the internet were not happy, criticizing him for oversimplifying a diverse cuisine that varies vastly from region to region.

Padma Lakshmi quickly responded in the best way possible: “On behalf of 1.3 billion people,” she tweeted, referring to the population of India, “kindly f**k off.” She added that Weingarten needs “an education on spices, flavor, and taste,” linking to her book The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs.

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Padma went even further, writing a piece for the Washington Post, calling Weingarten’s article “unintentional anti-humor, regurgitating an unimaginative, racist joke with no punchline.” She calls out his writing as lazy and not funny, referencing the generations of immigrant foods that have been called “stinky.”

“On the heels of a pandemic that particularly devastated India and a cultural reckoning with racist structures in the United States,” Padma continued, “mischaracterizing and denigrating the food of 1.3 billion Indians is not a good look.”

She also criticized the editors and copy editors who approved his words, diving into how diverse Indian cuisine and even just curry can be from region to region. She ended the piece by assuring she would call out young comedy writers of color who would write a syndicated column for the Washington Post, something she follows up on in a tweet.

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