'Washington Post' columnist apologises over column that 'insulted' Indian cuisine

Humour writer Gene Weingarten claimed that Indian food was based 'entirely on one spice'

Columnist Gene Weingarten has apologised after claiming Indian food was made using 'one spice'. Photo: Unsplash / Lior Shapira

A Washington Post columnist has apologised over a piece he wrote last week discussing his eating habits, in which he claimed Indian cuisine was “based entirely on one spice.”

In a piece published last Thursday, titled “You can’t make me eat these foods”, humour writer Gene Weingarten listed a number of foods he did not like, and wrote that "If you like Indian curries, yay, you like Indian food!

“If you think Indian curries taste like something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon, you do not like Indian food. I don't get it, as a culinary principle," he added. "It is as though the French passed a law requiring every dish to be slathered in smashed, pureed snails."

An illustration of a moustached man in a bib turning his nose up at a spoonful of food being offered to him accompanied the piece.

The claims made in the column sparked backlash online, with many calling the statements dismissive and inaccurate.

"You don't like a cuisine? Fine. But it's so weird to feel defiantly proud of not liking a cuisine. You can quietly not like something too," Indian American actress and screenwriter Mindy Kaling wrote in a tweet.

While Indian American author and model Padma Lakshmi, who hosts Bravo's Top Chef, tweeted: "What in the white nonsense is this?"

On Monday, Weingarten acknowledged that his tweet was “insulting” and tweeted an apology.

"From start to finish plus the illo, the column was about what a whining infantile ignorant ******* I am," he said. "I should have named a single Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, and I do see how that broad-brush was insulting. Apologies. (Also, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices.)"

The Post also amended the column with a correction.

"A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Indian cuisine is based on one spice, curry, and that Indian food is made up only of curries, types of stew," the correction states. "In fact, India's vastly diverse cuisines use many spice blends and include many other types of dishes. The article has been corrected."

Updated: August 25th 2021, 11:17 AM