Craciun then asks his staff to wait and carefully discuss certain dishes with customers in order to avoid any problems. “We have to explain exactly what a dish is, that we maybe use some of the same ingredients, but we do it our way. That way, there are no surprises, ”he adds – and no social media storms that follow.
But isn’t it the pleasure of eating? Isn’t that how dishes develop? Isn’t this how food culture spreads across the world? And when food cultures spread, isn’t that how we come to understand and appreciate each other more, and to get closer? And have peace in the world?
You could, for example, claim that chicken tikka masala, Britain’s favorite dish, was both the bastardization and theft of a nation’s identity by a brutal colonizer; the authentic dish of pieces of grilled chicken with spices, ruined by being smothered in a cream of tomato, to appease our virgin palates.
Still, this dish – first prepared in a Glaswegian curry house in the 1970s – trapped the British diner and prompted him to try other dishes. Indian cuisine has become almost the most beloved food in Britain, created countless thousands of jobs in the curry house industry, made us love the Indian immigrant, then made us love it, further afield , chefs like Atul Kochhar who, as recently as 2019, launched Kanishka in London’s Mayfair, where he both educated us on the joys of strongly regional Indian cuisine and made fun of us for it. creating a chicken tikka pie (which is incredibly delicious, by the way).
Yet across the world, throughout history, whether for economic reasons or due to scarce resources or different palates, food culture is stolen, reused and assimilated, the result being a kaleidoscope of heavenly choices.
We’re eating curry tonight. I will spice up and add creaminess to the dal with a little Dijon mustard and a knob of butter. Oops!