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Weingarten on "Foods I won't eat"


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Not being a WaPo subscriber I missed this initially, but Indo-Canadian Twitter (and I guess, Indo-anything Twitter) has been up in arms over his description of Indian food as "based on one spice." In fairness, the piece was intended to be humorous.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/gene-weingarten-you-cant-make-me-eat-these-foods/2021/08/12/e34996a8-efc0-11eb-81d2-ffae0f931b8f_story.html

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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In these touchy times why poke the (humorless) bear?

 

I got pay-walled and can only see the Old  Bay in the illustration. I'm with him on that one

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I think it was an attempt at humour that largely missed its mark. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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This most assuredly was not one of his best columns. I think he's been struggling ever since his weekly chat got axed by the Post. If you're not familiar with him (obviously I am), you might want to check out his longer pieces, which are on the right-hand side of this page, under "Best of Gene." The day after reading "Fatal Distraction" I told a co-worker that it was Pulitzer Prize quality—and sure enough, it won, as did his later piece "Pearls Before Breakfast."

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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19 hours ago, gfweb said:

I got pay-walled and can only see the Old  Bay in the illustration. I'm with him on that one

 

Here's what he wrote:

 

Quote

I won’t belabor this because if you read my columns, you know where I stand. I have written that this appalling seafood additive tastes like dandruff from corpses mixed with the rust from around the toilet fixtures at a New Jersey rest stop. I retract none of that. In fact, I hereby double down: They also apparently throw in some dried ostrich guano.

 

As others here have pointed out, it's not all that funny or clever, but it's also not that far off base. (Sorry, Marylanders.) If you like, or at least don't mind, Old Bay, you're probably better off making your own, in very small batches. Here's a recipe from Leite's Culinaria.

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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It's kind of sad when good writers stoop to churning out drek, possibly to meet quotas and deadlines, maybe from fatigue.    Humor is tenuous at best, embarrassing when ill-conceived.     There are a handful of writers whom I have loved and followed in their early careers but whose late work I find heavy-handed, not amusing, even painful to read.    IMHO, the quoted passage fits the latter.

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I wonder where he got his info on balsamic vinegar, and has he tried actual hazelnuts, not just hazelnut flavored products? 

 

But it's ridiculous to dismiss all of Indian cuisine as if it was a single ingredient.  Go ahead and hate cardamom or cumin or even the vast array of garam masalas, but claiming all Indian food tastes the same is beyond ignorant.

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4 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

I wonder where he got his info on balsamic vinegar, and has he tried actual hazelnuts, not just hazelnut flavored products? 

 

But it's ridiculous to dismiss all of Indian cuisine as if it was a single ingredient.  Go ahead and hate cardamom or cumin or even the vast array of garam masalas, but claiming all Indian food tastes the same is beyond ignorant.

The man is extremely well read and well educated. Knows better about all of these things. Trying for humour. Exaggeration is a mark of humour. But it’s a little like the timing needed for stand-up comedy. It needs to be handled deftly. Where was his editor I wonder. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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He apologises for one-spice Indian food. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Now if someone could tell me what the “one spice” is in shelf-stable packet Indian meals that tastes nasty, I would love to know. They all have the same note and it isn’t present in freshly cooked Indian.

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This is what the internet has done. A megaphone is given to unworthy idiots and then the offended must respond.

 

And its all noise,   serving only to agitate.

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

This is what the internet has done. A megaphone is given to unworthy idiots and then the offended must respond.

 

And its all noise,   serving only to agitate.

 

Nothing to do with the internet. What you are describing has been going on for centuries. The only thing that has changed is the medium. The original article here and the response from India were from respected newspapers and were both published on paper and the web. Prior to there being a web, such things appeared in print in just the wame way.

 

The history of English literature is full of such to-and-froing arguments between writers. It happened in Chaucer’s time and Shakespeare’s , reaching a peak in the 18th century with poets like Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift etc. Pope famously retaliated against Lewis Theobald who had criticised his edition of Shakespeare’s works by writing the Dunciad, throwing attacks on the Poet Laureate Colly Cibber and the politician Horace Walpole. When published, albeit anonymously, it met with both fury and delight, the fury escalating to physical danger and Pope was forced to carry pistols with him everywhere he went.

 

There is nothing new under heaven.

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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11 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Nothing to do with the internet. What you are describing has been going on for centuries. The only thing that has changed is the medium. The original article here and the response from India were from respected newspapers and were both published on paper and the web. Prior to there being a web, such things appeared in print in just the wame way.

 

The history of English literature is full of such to-and-froing arguments between writers. It happened in Chaucer’s time and Shakespeare’s , reaching a peak in the 18th century with poets like Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift etc. Pope famously retaliated against Lewis Theobald who had criticised his edition of Shakespeare’s works by writing the Dunciad, throwing attacks on the Poet Laureate Colly Cibber and the politician Horace Walpole. When published, albeit anonymously, it met with both fury and delight, the fury escalating to physical danger and Pope was forced to carry pistols with him everywhere he went.

 

There is nothing new under heaven.

 

 

 

Well, no.

Its a matter of scale and reach.  Nobody read the arcane squabbles of obscure Brits except a privileged few obscure Brits. I'd wager more people read about them today than at the time. 

I admit I'm entertained by the idea of an effete poet needing to pack heat. Dirty Popey..."Do you feel lucky, poet?"

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8 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

 

Well, no.

Its a matter of scale and reach.  Nobody read the arcane squabbles of obscure Brits except a privileged few obscure Brits. I'd wager more people read about them today than at the time. 

I admit I'm entertained by the idea of an effete poet needing to pack heat. Dirty Popey..."Do you feel lucky, poet?"

 

Chaucer, Shakespeare and Pope were very popular in their lifetimes and were far from obscure. And not only with 'a few obscure Brit's', either. King Lear was performed in Europe and Africa in Shakespeare's lifetime. People didn't 'read' Shakespeare, though. They paid hard cash to 'see' the plays. 

 

I'd say more people read the others then. When was the last time you read Pope or Chaucer?

 

Glad to see you couldnt resist responding, though. What was it you were saying about noise?

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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