[gardeners] Authenticity

asidv@fbg.net (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 24 Jul 1998 12:11:20 +0000

Whenever anyone speaks of "authentic" this or that, I am reminded 
that none of us is an expert in all things. One may know how to 
protect a rose from the snows of winter while another is an expert in 
keeping sun scald from late tomatoes.

The recent discussions about East Indian (as opposed to Red Indian) 
food are a case in point. Those whose experience has been limited to 
US restaurant fare may find a "curry" or a Samosa totally delicious 
while a more traveled or experienced diner would find the same fare 
unacceptable in the extreme.

For example: as a Texan, I take the making, serving and eating of 
chili as an art form. Once, for my sins, I was sentenced to a bowl of 
Cincinnati chili -- I'm certain the Ohioans found it delectable; I 
found it garbage in its purest form, but it would have been 
discourteous of me to fault them for their provinciality.

While living in England, my good neighbor found my tea undrinkable 
while I found his coffee dispicable. Instead of re-starting the War 
of Independence we met under a white flag; he taught me to make tea, 
I taught him to make coffee. A better solution, don't you agree?

If it is difficult to agree on something as simple as dissolving one 
substance in hot water -- consider the difficulties of agreeing on 
East Indian food. Of course it is true that Muslims (83% of the 
population) are forbidden pork as are almost all high-caste Indians, 
but I am sure there are those (usually the untouchables, I am told) 
who would eat bacon if sufficiently hungry (just as our local deer 
will even eat gray plants when there is little else to eat)..

At base, we must all keep open minds, be agreeable, and permit others 
their culinary peculiarities; after all, they are usually based on 
inexperience and that is to be pitied, not censured.  On the other 
hand, no one who IS inexperienced should claim expertise nor attempt 
to instruct others in their own ignorance. To do so would not be in 
keeping with the courtesy always shown by the members of 
GlobalGarden. Pat