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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #261

Culinary no-no's



Regular readers know I’ve mentioned that I am not a picky eater and enjoy just about anything. Here are a few examples:


Oh, yeah.

What a great combo. That spicy meat, tomato, and onion smothered in tzatziki sauce.


Show me more.

Bring it on.

OK, so where am I going with this?

That will become quite obvious, quite soon.

But first, we travel to...

In India, it is customary to eat with one's hands. I'm not talking pizza or drumsticks.

Despite the preponderance of forks, knives and spoons, even chopsticks, many Indians insist on dining without, favoring their bare hands.

Actually, that’s not accurate. The custom is that to thoroughly enjoy Indian food, it must be consumed by using fingers. In fact, those who employ this technique claim it’s much easier than using silverware.

How do they do it? Here’s an example. Consider naan, a tasty flat bread. When I say fingers are preferred, here, too, there are limitations. In some parts of India, only the thumb, index and middle fingers are used and only the first two joints of those digits. And it must strictly be the right hand.

Again, for the Westerner who may find this uncivilized and begging the question why, Indians firmly believe eating in this manner is sensual.

Reminds me of that M*A*S*H episode where Winchester invites Margaret into his tent to enjoy some canned pheasant. He instructs her to devour the bird using her hands. OK, maybe not the best analogy, but that immediately came to mind. As I recall, they used more than certain joints of certain fingers of a certain hand. I think you get the point.

So, we’ve reviewed the Indian custom. It is encouraged in some (not all) Indian restaurants in the United States. I understand. I get it. And I respect that.

But to repeat a point that’s been hammered home in the past on Culinary no-no, many goofy  cultural ideas begin here…

At the A-Frame restaurant in Culver City, California (that's near Hollywood) that features Hawaiian fare, patrons are encouraged by wait staff to dump the cutlery, even for ribs, pork chops and salads.

The trend has caught on in non-Indian restaurants in New York that focus on crab and barbecue.

Will it develop and find its way to the unwashed Midwest? I doubt it.

Let's cut to the chase. This can be rather messy, uncool, uncultured, and very frustrating. Can you imagine yours truly attempting to handle a gyro dripping in sauce?

American chefs, endeavoring to be ultra cool Indian-style, should just forget about Americanizing an ancient India tradition.

And if you want the best reason why this concept would be foolish in US of A restaurants, it’s because Americans, especially men according to one study, are pigs. Unlike Indians who wash up before and after dinner, Americans, by contrast, are walking germ factories.

This restaurant trend can’t possibly be serious. My wife, Jennifer, who has wonderful culinary talents but dramatizes woe is me before every dinner recently made homemade chicken pot pies that would have forced Marie Callender to fade into retirement. The thought of digging in with just a few fingers would have been like Vincent Price hovering over me in The Pit and the Pendulum. On the other hand, Oscar Madison might have had orgasms.

Tonight for dinner, Jennifer made homemade pizza with all my favorite toppings. Without shame, I used a fork and knife. No offense to any Indians reading.

When in Rome (India), do like the Romans (Indians).

This isn’t Rome.

Read more in the NY Times.


Is our own government shaming us into eating less beef?

No. No way, no how, not ever.

How bad did she want Chicken McNuggets?

OK, one more time...what's in a Twinkie?

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