A dad literally wrote into Dear Prudence to complain about his son being fed Indian food without parental ‘consent’
How to properly season food and openly experience food from other cultures are two things many white people do not excel at. Take this letter sent into Dear Prudence, the Slate advice column, for instance. A dad (presumably white, because come on, he absolutely is) is clutching his necktie over the fact that his son was served Indian cuisine while playing at a friend’s house. A delicious dinner prepared by gracious adults who are hosting your child? The horror!
The letter writer states that his 9-year-old son (“Chris”) was recently allowed to hang out with a trusted friend (“Neil”) and his family during this never-ending pandemic, and his friend’s parents, who are Indian and also both doctors, cooked an Indian meal for everyone to enjoy while the two boys were playing.
“When we came to pick up Chris, Neil’s mom recounted to me how much chicken curry and lentils and vegetables Chris ate,” Bland Dad writes. “I couldn’t believe that they served my son spicy curries without even calling to ask us if that would be OK! I was taken aback and gently mentioned that spicy foods can be hard on small tummies, but it didn’t seem to register.”
IMAGINE having the gall to address two physicians in this manner. “My wittle son could have gotten a boo-boo tummy because of the yummy-wummy food he clearly enjoyed” is just not really how most self-aware people would handle something as banal as this, but here we are.
“Thankfully Chris didn’t get sick,” Bland Dad says. “My wife says to drop it because any conversation will look racial in nature and to only let the boys play at our place. Please help.”
Yeah. YEAH. The internet had some thoughts about this one, and the column quickly went viral.
Luckily Prudence (the incomparable, always spot-on, always amazing Danny Lavery) had the perfect response for Bland Dad. After setting him straight on the fact that vegetables and lentils are, in fact, safe for consumption, Prudie went in.
“There’s something so grotesque about the infantilizing language of ‘gently informing someone’ — especially when that someone is ‘two doctors’—about ‘small tummies,’ coupled with the racist horror that your 9-year-old ate and enjoyed a few servings of chicken curry, one of the world’s most popular and adaptable dishes,” Prudie responded.
Also, spices and seasonings are not all spicy? And if your son enjoys them, what’s the issue? (It’s racism. Racism is the issue here, in case that wasn’t clear by this not-at-all-micro-microaggression.)
“Not all curries are spicy, and not all spices pack heat; your son ate a meal he enjoyed (one you didn’t have to prepare or clean up after ) and continued to enjoy good health for the rest of the evening,” Prudie continued. “Neil’s parents didn’t take him to a ghost pepper festival and turn him loose. Your kid was not endangered by chicken curry, and your problem is not one that Neil’s parents can fix for you. Take your wife’s advice and let this go.”
The real MVPs here are Chris, Neil, and Neil’s parents. May they continue to enjoy fabulous spicy dinners forevermore.