Nobody picks their taste buds so it’s not anyone’s fault for not liking any kind of food. But to throw a whole culture’s food under the bus seems to be taking things too far. When writer Tom Nichols did that on Twitter it was met with outrage and a fiery debate on the deliciousness of Indian food. This Twitter storm started when one user, Jon Becker asked: “Please quote tweet this with your most controversial food opinion, I love controversial food opinions.” Tom decided to throw in his two cents and trash Indian food.
“Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn’t,” Nichols tweeted.
Nichols, an international affairs professor at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, was immediately challenged on his statement. He was called out for his blandness and questioned if his taste buds were intact.
“Do you not have taste buds?” celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi tweeted.
“Imagine going through life this flavorless,” another Twitter user said.
Others questioned if he actually had Indian food and all its varieties.
“I have had it in Boston, New York, and London, and maybe it’s better in India, but I doubt it,” Nichols replied.
It wasn’t long before Tom Nichols waxed poetic about the challenges of eating ethnic food.
“I said it many times. I think people whose eyes are watering, gulping water, sweating, and telling me they enjoy it are doing it because they are somehow trying to embrace an authentic experience, not because they like it, I know may people love it, Me. I don’t,” Nichols tweeted. “… I think people often pretend to like non-American cuisines as a way of showing sophistication. I’m honest enough to say that my mostly Irish taste buds can’t handle whatever it is that is called “Indian” in the US and UK. You may all continue with your outrage.”
In a post on USA Today, Nichols wrote about his tweet and the “performative outrage” it created. He stated that all he was trying to do was “to tweak the pretentious foodies among Americans whom I often suspect of suffering through meals they don’t like for the sake of saying they are engaging in “authentic” cuisine.”