True ignorance is something I'm fortunate enough to rarely be exposed to. Still, every once in a while I'm privy to hearing things I had rather not hear and I'm not sure how to address these issues. Today I'm writing about such an incident.
I was sitting at a local cafe that had served chicken curry for lunch. This was not an Indian restaurant but rather just a healthy-eating cafe that varied their menu. At a nearby table one girl had apparently ordered the chicken curry and I overheard her making comments about how she didn't want to "stink like curry."
As an avid over-thinker my first reaction was to question why she had eaten the chicken curry if she thought that curry stank so much. Then I also thought that if she ate it, why would she think her clothes were going to smell like curry....had she actually bathed in it rather than putting the food in her mouth. In further thinking I suppose she could reason that her sweat would begin to reek of curry smell. I actually was perplexed at this point wondering how she could smell like curry when she hadn't actually touched it (because Americans don't eat with their hands).
About an hour or so later I encountered the same woman and she was asking a man to smell her. I couldn't help but eavesdrop at this point. She told him that ever since eating the chicken curry she had continued to smell curry and was worried that she smelled like curry. He told her he couldn't smell anything but her perfume. She then had someone else smell her for confirmation.
Being married to an Indian, I KNOW that Indian people smell like the food they eat because they either cooked it, or they ate it with their hands. This isn't all the time either because Indians also eat with forks and spoons or other eating utensils. This is true of every single cook in the world. They will smell like the food they cooked quite often. At least until they scrub it off at the end of the day.
I actually find it funny that this woman felt tortured for at least an hour over whether or not she smelled like curry. Serves her right for what I feel like was a racial undertone to her line of thinking.
Anyway, I thought since curry was the subject of this post, you all might like a little educational cooking lesson on curry. I love this Alton Brown cooking episode. He's one of my favorite chefs.
Alton Brown: The Curious Case of Curry
I also thought this article was quite interesting as it discusses finding curry ingredients in the teeth of 4000 year old skeletons.
BBC Food - Curry: Where did it come from?