Recently I read a piece on Indian cuisine from a “woke” perspective, Reclaiming Indian Food from the White Gaze: The same food I was teased for as a kid has become trendy and divorced from its cultural origins. Now, I’m using my cookbook to change the narrative. Obviously I disagree with the ideology interlaced throughout the piece, but the author is a pretty good writer, and a lot of the illustrations and experiences “ring true” to me. You could strip out a lot of the jargon like cultural appropriation and gaze, and the piece would be a fine read.
For example, the point that white women cooking “exotic” food is “trendy” and marketable in a way it isn’t when immigrants or nonwhite people do seems likely, and something I’d rather like explored more.
That being said, the implicit idea that people “own” culture and that the boundaries are sharp and strict seems to me wrong-headed ultimately. Synthesis is as old as human-kind…my family’s cuisine includes red chilis, potatoes, and tomatoes. Just to give one example.
I’d be curious what Indian readers think, as the piece is obviously inflected by an Indian American lens.
Addendum: I’m from the far east of Bengal, but shrimp is my favorite food.