Indian Foods Are Not Indian at All

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The Heartbreaking Truth About Indian Foods That Are Not Indian at All

Being an Indian, at one time, I believed everything originated from India. Now, I accept that everyone thinks of his motherland in the same fashion. 

In High school, I thought my Mothers’ food was the best in the world, there was nothing like it, but when I started sharing the food from the tiffin boxes of other friends, I learned that not only my mother cooked well, but my friends mother also cooked well. Then some restaurants had good food,  then came the foods of other nations.  This is what we call universalizing oneself or broadening the horizons of life.

I am a pluralist in most aspects of life – meaning respecting the otherness of others and accepting the uniqueness of each element of nature.  I am a pluralist in my food habits, and I enjoy every food that is out there with three limitations – cannot eat cheese due to lactose intolerance, cannot have regular milk, and am prejudiced towards pork meat. 

Once, I  thought that the Spanish, Italian, French, and consequently Mexican food had origins in India because they all came to get our spices; hence they developed variations of our foods. No, each nation, each community and each tribe has developed similar things around the world. A mother in normal circumstances knows exactly what to do with her baby whether she is from the Zulu Tribe or lives in Manhattan. 

Though I do not believe in the palmistry, I can never forget what a friend said looking at my palm when I was a teen – that I will be married around  30, that I will  go to a foreign country, will have two kids… and, that I will continue to be blessed with a variety of foods. He was right about almost everything;  though it was a mere coincidence, but certainly, he was right about a few things including food. 

I was an administrator in a catering college in Bangalore called Food Craft Institute, where we trained students to get ready to the upcoming boom in the hospitality industry – we trained Chefs, Bakers, Canners, Waiters, House Keepers, and Receptionists etc. 

Each day was a new menu, and new food. The students would prepare and serve. Some of the best international foods were cooked there – we had Italian, Mexican, French, Japanese, German, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Moroccan and of course some extraordinary Indian dishes. Today, if I see new food some where, I go there, I’ve got to taste it.

Indeed, through visiting different places you come to realize that we all want to Indianize our foods, and perhaps the French see that others have modified their food… does it matter? Pizza is as American as Naan is Indian.

I am always curios about the origins of the food, if someone has done some research, I would like to know about Ethiopian food.  The Dosa we make in South India comes in soft and crisp, and thick to thin varieties.  The Injira bread of Ethiopia is identical to Dosa,  also known as Cheela in India. I discovered, but will have to sit down and search, the grain they make the bread is similar to Ragi – the Rye looking tiny black-to-purple balls of grains, and they do the same, soak the grain overnight and then grind it.

A few months back I was reading that we have had a King in South India with Ethiopian origins! Did he bring the Ragi Mudday (dough balls)? Or did he take Ragi from Karnataka to Ethiopia?

Hey, we could have learned everything from every one, but no one had zero, we gave the Zero to the world, and made all the technological innovations possible.

Hold it! Gregory Gomez is a Native American from the Apache nation, we are friends, and one day we were talking about the plight of Native Americans and loss of pride in the new generation. He shocked the hell out of me, when he said; we have to let our kids know that we gave mathematics and Zero to the world. I argued with him, he said, your records were preserved but ours were destroyed by the marauding missionaries. We gave the Zero to the world! Go figure!

Enjoy the rest of the article about some of your favorite’s dishes, if you are not an Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali or Sri Lankan, cand you identify these?

The following article inspired me to write the column:
The Heartbreaking Truth About Indian Foods That Are Not Indian at All

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampoliticshuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine Terrorism and foreign policy. Over 3000 Articles have been published on the subjects. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at and bulk of his writings are at  

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