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Monday, June 5, 2023

Bloggers want food nomenclature decolonized, ask to cancel the word ‘curry’

Food bloggers have asked for the cancellation of the work curry stating that it has roots in British colonialism. The call was first raised by food influencer Chaheti Bansal who called on people to cancel the word curry in her social media (SM) video. Bansal opined “Curry shouldn’t be all you think about when you think about South Asian food.”

In the clip, the California-based blogger says:

The term has long been misused by foreigners to describe any dish made on the Asian subcontinent. There’s a saying that the food in India changes every 100km and yet we’re still using this umbrella term popularised by white people who couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual names of our dishes. But we can still unlearn.

Bansal has been quoted by NBC News as saying “Curry shouldn’t be all that you think about when you think about South Asian food”.

In this regard, Sky News quotes associate religious studies professor at the University of Vermont Ilyse Morgenstein Furest who is also an expert on the Bharatiya subcontinent. Furest states that the word curry doesn’t exist in any language of the Bharatiya subcontinent and came into use due to the “British bad ear” during their colonial rule over Bharat.

Sky News quotes Furest as saying:

Several historians claim British officials misheard the Tamil word ‘Kari’, which has varied meanings depending on the region but can translate to both “blackened” and “side dish”. The professor claims that after the British arrived in the region in the 1850s, they started using the term, and because of the power structures in place, locals started to coin it too.

Professor Furest claims this is why ‘curry’ should not be used as an umbrella term because it is largely incorrect and “rooted in white, Christian supremacy”.

Another food blogger Nisha Vedi Parmar asks “What the hell is curry?” Bansal opines that even though the term curry is used in South Bharat to describe a variety of dishes from meat ones in gravy to vegetable side plates, the term should not be used indiscriminately. “But you shouldn’t just lump all of our foods together under this term” adds Bansal.

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