Thursday, February 14, 2008

A lament

Not enough serious foodies reading Jabberwock! The version of the Bombay post that went up on Ultrabrown has over 30 comments, mostly about the varieties of food available in Mumbai and Delhi. But out here, people are discussing the weather instead. Gah. What will become of the sub-blog dedicated to food that I've been thinking about starting?


  1. Or, serious Indian foodies go out and chow instead of ineffectually missing it from their bland Amrikan offices :)

  2. manish beat me to it. Seriously why would one read and write about food when in the same time can go out and have a bite..

    personally, I was put off by the non-veg snobbery. that's another reason :)

  3. Because readers of this site are not food pornographists?

  4. Maybe most of the folks who read Jabberwock dig books and films more than gourmets and such stuff.

  5. Oooh, yes, please start a food sub-blog!! I live, breathe, think, food. I don't buy the bit about people who like books and films not liking food - in fact they tend to be more foodie than anyone else IMHO.

    But perhaps you do have to be juda from good desi food for a while to really pine for it and become obsessive about it, hence the slobbering from outsiders. When I lived in Delhi I actually took friends/nieces and nephews who had lived in Delhi all their lives to Karim's and Natraj bhalla and other old Delhi places for the VERY FIRST TIME. They just didn't bother with them.

  6. Jabs: Please let me have a little travel column in the sub-blog. Will give you one on kangaroos, emus, crocodiles and possums immediately - a "Exotic animals in Oz-land" post. Let me know.

  7. Gee BMR!

    I wish I could introduce you to a friend who is so obsessed with the foods you talk about that I have heard him talk about that and exotic food of nepal (sun dried buffalo, apparently) for hours together.

    What makes it interesting (and very trying) is that I am a pure vegetarian.

  8. Non-veg snobbery is a good point. Though I am personally a non vegetarian , the point is to respect someone who does not share your food habits. Though i don't personally think that Jai has glorified Non vegetarianism in his columns.

    I think sometimes its more of a cheeky comment on somebody's food habits than anything else.However one thing that I am amazed is the sudden spurt of Non vegetarianism among Indians recently.For me it is easy as I give in to my taste buds rather than any stupid compulsion. There is a select group of people though who have made eating Non veg a fashion and for them it consists of nothing more than Butter chicken or Tandoori chicken and I have a feeling would cringe at any sea food offered to them.

    Though my comment is a little different from the actual post , the term Non veg snobbery actually made me to think about it. I would rather say 'selective Non Veg' is more appropriate about Indians.

  9. Shwet:remember this post and the comments?

    Btw, I'm not sure what the definition of "respect someone who does not share your food habits" is. "Respect" always seems like such a vague, open-ended word in this context, subject to different interpretations and entirely dependent on the situation. If it means "am I capable of sitting at the same table as a hardcore vegetarian and not commenting on their food habits", well, yes, I guess I'm respectful. (In fact, even my wife is not a natural-born non-vegetarian; she prefers veg food on the whole.) But if being respectful means "don't say anything snarky about vegetarians (or Karol Bagh-chicken tikka insulated non-vegetarians for that matter), even as a joke", well then I can't bring myself to be respectful. (Likewise for religion or any other sacred cow, of course.)

  10. But why would you want to say something snarky about vegetarians? This is something which I really can't fathom.Being a vegetarian is not a sin as many of my family members are vegetarians. If somebody does not say anything about my food habits , I don't understand the need to be critical about somebody else.

    My father and Grandfather were both above six feet tall and hardcore vegetarians , if being snarky means that vegetarians don't get enough protein or any such nonsense which I listen to so many times on TV than it is sheer stupidity. Similarly I do not credit my physical attributes to non veg food as to my genetic traits.

    Unfortunately we in India have a complex against vegetarians , and despite being a Non veg I speak for them because I really don't understand this bias. What somebody eats is his or her choice and we need not go into this debate.

  11. Shwet: To the question "why would you want to say something snarky about vegetarians", my only reply is: For humour's sake (and you can substitute "vegetarians" with any other word). If I see the opportunity to say something funny about anything (and that anything can be vegetarians, or non-vegetarians, or religious people, or atheists, or even my own mother), I'll say it. Anything in this unholy world can be snarked - though of course I'm not expecting other people to agree with my definition of humour.

    I'm not sure why you're bringing protein supplements, or the height of your grandfather and father, into this - that has nothing to do with anything I've said. Also, what exactly is the point of the sentence "Being a vegetarian is not a sin as many of my family members are vegetarians"? Did you read my last comment? I have vegetarians in my family btw (in addition to unapologetic bigots/racists and maid-molesters).

  12. Ok , OK so maybe I got a little carried away. The reason most of my Non Vegetarian friends and realtives give is the protein content and all such nonsense of Non vegetarian food. There have been attempts to convert my brother to non vegetarianism by such comments.

    These things have led me to be a little sensitive about this issue.As was a discussion I was hearing on NDTV last week which had an idiotic 'Chetan Sharma' glorifying non vegetarian food when said that Ishant Sharma can bowl at 150 kmph despite being a vegetarian. Almost all of the audience was saying that he should turn Non -veg to become even faster. Apart from Ajay Jadeja who has turned out to be an extremely sane man after all , even the NDTV anchors were swept apart by the jingoistic wave.

  13. this is so bizarre. i cant understand why vegetarians in india get so hetted up about every little thing. im a garhwali brahmin, and culturally, our community used to sacrifice goats for dusshera (like nepalis still do). yet i have tons of friends who're simply aghast at this practice, and say things like, "How can you be a brahmin and eat meat?"...and i reply, " Umm, because Hindus are NOT forbidded to eat meat anyway. In fact, vegetarianism came with reform movements like Buddhism and Jainism, otherwise Vedic Hindus ate everything from onions to gralic to meat to yes, even beef."

    Obviously, this is met with even more shock and horror and I'm sick of explaining this to people- EATING MEAT IS NOT A SIN.


  14. I went out with a gang of around 10-12 "vegetarian" pals to Delhi’s O Calcutta. I joined them a little later when the food was already ordered by one person, on behalf of others. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why “dal makhani” had to be ordered with those mouth-watering Luchis. The traditional way to have it is with “Cholar” dal. Though I had my dinner peacefully, it was for the very first time that I felt agitated. One reason was someone else simply ordering on my behalf (something which obviously I was willing to forgive, considering the steep bill which would’ve cost many bucks for the host). But what really upset me was that the lady didn’t give the cuisine (strictly in my opinion) an honest try. One doesn’t need to stick to rules (not when cuisines can be interpreted and experienced in countless ways). But some “combos” in the culinary world simply complement each other if had in a particular way. Would you, for instance, have a Rajasthani “baati” with chole or rajma?
    My problem was that the lady just didn’t want to “experiment” thus ruining the experience for others, who I doubt have even tried these dishes.
    That one doesn't always relish food from different parts of the country is a different matter. But when people don't even try, it's like failing yourself from a unique experience.

  15. If I see the opportunity to say something funny about anything (and that anything can be vegetarians, or non-vegetarians, or religious people, or atheists, or even my own mother), I'll say it. Anything in this unholy world can be snarked - though of course I'm not expecting other people to agree with my definition of humour.

    couldnt agree more...