Norman, I Do Not Like Curry! Maybe?

I’ve always seen myself as being a rather tolerant person. Especially in trying to understand the beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures of other people. Back in the 80s we would make an annual pilgrimage to the International Folk Festival in Cincinnati to help enrich our children’s cultural experiences. For us all, the favorite aspect of each festival was the food.

Every ethnic group would have an area from which they prepared and vended examples of their nation’s cuisine. For a few dollars one could eat their way around the world and wind up with a satisfied soul and a case of global heartburn.

Looking back I’m pretty sure my time was mostly spent exchanging greenbacks for food with the Italians and other Mediterranean cultures. There’s not much that comes from the Italian boot I don’t love. And Greek desserts like baklava are to me like heroin to a junkie.

The geographical region I seemed to have little or no attraction to was South Central Asia, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan specifically. I would walk by their food booths, stop and look at the offerings, and decide it all looked the same. In my mind’s eye I recall it all having a yellow or orange hue and looked like some form of potato salad without the potatoes. Whether correct or not, I concluded that the colors were due to the amount of curry powder the dish contained.

I really don’t know what curry is. I’ve read about it, heard TV chefs talk about it, observed many super market products labeled “curried,” and in the spice section you can buy a powder called curry. There seems to be lots of versions of curry but every curried dish I’ve tried had a flavor that I didn’t care for.

Until recently, and to my knowledge, I had never eaten anything professionally prepared that was curried. A few nights ago my wife and I had a chance to sample some curried chicken prepared by a chef who was very familiar with cuisines that use the spice. I was hoping this would be different and my whole world food view would be expanded.

Was it? Well, let the word go forth, I do not like curry. I don’t care if it came from Heinz and was labeled Curried Pork and Beans or whether it was prepared by a professional and experienced chef, I don’t like curry. The list of things I’ve given the “old college try” and still didn’t like has grown by one. I don’t like liver or organ meats, I don’t like salmon, I don’t like raw fish even if it’s called sashimi and overpriced, I don’t like Limburger cheese, I don’t like sweet tarts, I have no further interest in trying anything that taste like chicken other than chicken, I don’t like raw oysters or clams and trying to gag one down seems senseless, and now, I’m adding curry to the list.

Now, having come out against curry opens the door to all those who love it to tell me, “You just haven’t had it done correctly.” That’s the way it’s been all my life with liver. Liver and onions usually smells great and has a certain visual appeal. But, once a fork full passes my lips, it just won’t be swallowed. I have no idea how many times I’ve tried some guy’s wife’s or mother’s liver and onions, the results are the same, I don’t like liver. It’s been years since I gave someone’s version of L&O a try. That door has closed, that train has left the station.

About curry, while having said I don’t like it I’m not sure I want to slam the door completely. Maybe I’ll leave that door slightly ajar. It’s just difficult to accept that almost 1.2 billion Indians, and my friend Norman Anderson, could be so wrong about something.

4 thoughts on “Norman, I Do Not Like Curry! Maybe?”

  1. I like beef liver and onions and have it when we butcher. I have never eaten anything curry that I know of , but I definitely do not like rosemary. I practically gag on it. I thought those little red potatoes , buttered with rosemary, always sounded good. Well I spent a fortune on the spice to find out that is a dish I don’t care for. YECH!

  2. Both Bob and I enjoy the hot spicey curried dishes. there is a chicken dish that has curry in it that the family enjoys . That’s about it . I don’t eat raw fish either. Yech!!!

  3. Larry, you’re not the first gourmet/gourmand I’ve met who cannot abide curry. When most people think of ‘curry’ they think of the flavor of supermarket curry powder which – in its familiar form – was invented by the Brits to approximate at home the rich flavors they experienced in the India of the Raj. British curry powder then made its way to the West Indies and into the cuisine of many of the islands like Jamaica. Real Indian or Indonesian or Thai or Vietnamese curries actually consist of a blend of any number of spices and herbs and have a very broad range of flavors and consistencies. What Americans know as curry powder is rarely used in Indian cooking, more frequently in other cuisines.

    I remember my first experience with Thai food was when I was probably around eight. An old friend of my father’s – Dean Spradlin – had come home from the service with his young Thai wife who decided she needed to cook for us. I remember that she had a difficult time finding ingredients (this was Greenfield in the 60s – imagine!) and ended up making fried rice and a beef dish using quite a lot of curry powder and cayenne pepper, and nearly killed the rest of us with the heat. I was smitten, and my love for spicy ethnic food – especially Indian – blossomed once I moved to NYC.

    @Michelle – There’s a lot of really bad Indian food out there, especially on buffets and most especially here in the midwest.

  4. Having never tried Indian food myself, maybe a yr or so ago I thought I’d give it a try also. We drove to Dayton to an Indian buffet, I thought that way I could try more then one thing, which I did. I discovered I am not really a fan of Indian food either. A couple things was tolerable, but why would anyone eat tolerable food when there are so many things I love.

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