A British academic dissed idli, a popular Indian snack. It didn’t go down well

(CNN) – We live in turbulent times – as one British scientist found out when he denounced an Indian snack online.

Idli – a fluffy South Indian rice cake – is loved and valued as home cooking by many people around the world.

Even US Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke affectionately about the cake, telling attendees at an August event that her Indian mother instilled a “love for good Idli” with her. When British historian Edward Anderson described the snack as “boring,” he probably didn’t expect it to become national news in India.

Anderson responded to a tweet from Indian grocery delivery company Zomato in which he asked, “What kind of dish is this that you never understand why people like so much.”

He replied: “Idli are the most boring things in the world” – and lo and behold, a schism was born.

Several Indians used social media to defend their beloved court. Some said it was the food that united South India.

Some users agreed with Anderson – and others were just confused about why the topic had gone viral in the first place.

At one point, Shashi Tharoor, an Indian MP and former United Nations Secretary-General, stepped in to express his opinion after being brought to the attention of his son on the drama, who described the statement as the “most offensive attitude” on Twitter. “Tharoor replied and said, “Yes, my son, there are some who are really challenged in this world. Civilization is difficult to acquire: the taste and refinement of appreciating idlis, enjoying cricket or ottamthullal (a traditional South Indian dance form) See) is not given to every mortal. Have mercy on this poor man, for he may never know what life can be “on Wednesday.

The politician even gave some advice on how to consume the dish, writing: “Try it with a plate of steaming idlis, accompanied by coconut chutney with a side dish of mustard seeds, a samandi made of red chillies and onions and some molagapodi with melted ghee Properly fermented, it’s closest to heaven on earth! The class will be better. ”

“I know people can get very passionate about their favorite foods, but that was a little more than I expected! I think it was partly Shashi Tharoor who valiantly defended his region’s food, which made things get out of hand ! ” Anderson, a lecturer in history at Northumbria University in northern England, told CNN. “Food means a lot to people emotionally and culturally – I also love and respect my food,” he added.

Even so, Anderson did not remain convinced, even after receiving such careful guidance on how to eat the food.

“I’m afraid I’m holding onto my guns. Given the reaction, I ordered some Idlis at a South Indian restaurant in Newcastle yesterday, but my opinion remains the same,” he said.

“Lots of people have told me not to judge them on my own, but besides the sambar, coconut chutney, gunpowder, and ghee that come with them. I agree these accompaniments are great … it’s just.” That Idlis aren’t the best vehicle for them! Dosai and Vada are vastly superior! “Anderson added that he prefers foods like Chole Bhature – chickpea curry with fried flatbread – buttered chicken and marmot paneer, a pea paneer cheese dish.

“I have a particular fondness for the cuisine in the south, where my wife’s family is from. My mother-in-law’s fish moilee is a dream, and I can’t get enough konju, appam and ishtew, meen varuthathu and, of course, heaps of kerala parotta . If all of this is available, why waste your time eating idlis ?! “he added.

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