Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Food history is cultural, economic, and social history, meaning that the language that we use is impactful across disciplines.
What does that mean for cultures whose language has been brutalized by white colonizers? What does that mean for the dishes?
Indian "curry" is just one example of food language being co-opted as a cop out - apathetic colonizers would try less than their best to pronounce a tamil word "kari," leading to the muttered "r"s of "curry". Instead of curling their tongue back, almost swallowing it to allow for that gargling ar sound. As if the effort of learning something new would kill them.
The best way to explain the curry experience is to let Indian people talk about it and the effects that is has had globally. Below is a collection of articles on the misappropriation of the word "curry" and ways that India have subverted the oppressive etymology of the term and used it to economically benefit the people.
Curry is a confusing term because it has had so many applications, but at the basic level of understanding it is a way to market a profound history of cooking preparation.
"There is no word for “curry” in Indian languages; you will not find curry powder stocked in Indian homes and grocery stores; and contrary to popular perception, Indians do not eat curry every day." - Annada Rathi
Read more of her article here: https://food52.com/blog/17394-the-problem-with-curry?fbclid=IwAR0687bJ0NiZ6W9jjnZ3z962ehena-EKb0kEOtJN_OL_UrCCHrjoOi6XQ5M#:~:text=There%20is%20no%20word%20for,but%20curry%20is%20not%20Indian