Hi Martha! It’s me, Ian, fictitiously writing you a letter on the blog. Actually, I’m writing to you about your recipe that I used last night to make dinner. It’s in your ‘Everyday Food: Great Food Fast’ cookbook. The one my parents got us for Christmas two years ago. See, I’ve decided that I really need to learn how to cook. It’s not that I can’t (really) already, but there’s only so much ho-hum Kraft dinner and sandwiches that any one person can take. Hence you, Martha, your cookbooks seem, by far, the best for the novice cook solely due to the fact that aside from descriptive prose you realize that people want goddamn pictures of how the meal should turn out – even if there’s no possible way of plating the meal quite like you do.

So last night I was flipping through your cookbook when I came across your ‘Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt Sauce” recipe. First off, you spelt ‘yogurt’ wrong. Oh, sorry, my mistake – you used the horrifying American spelling that everyone in Canada seems to have adopted (pronunciation-wise as well). I’m glad that you clarify in the description that ‘yogurt sauce’ is actually raita but I’m terrified at what you’ve actually done to the traditional recipe. Grated Grannysmith apple? Really Martha? I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure that if I really wanted applesauce with my meal, I’d just have applesauce (which I’m actually not a huge fan of anyway).

Continuing the thread of ruining traditional recipes, where do you get off calling this Tandoori Chicken? The chicken doesn’t marinade for a day; it also isn’t even the slightest hint of red and lacks – profoundly – the tasty spice that Tandoori is famous for. At best, Martha, you’ve made a great Turmeric and Ginger coated chicken recipe and nothing more. I’m not entirely sure which is worse: how you recommended 2(!) teaspoons of salt for the coating or how you twisted the purpose of raita from spice-control to applesauce. It’s a real toss up.

Now I can’t be all negative, Martha; the dish was quite delicious. Also, it was ridiculously easy to put together! However, I was really at a loss when it came to pairing the dish with a side. My idea of roasted red peppers and carrots was admirable, but really off. Much too sweet. I suppose you really have to combine Indian styled food with Indian styled side-dishes.

All in all, Martha, I’m pleased with the results because it really did taste good. But please don’t try and pass this off as genuine Tandoori chicken or a variation of raita. You’re making a mockery of the thousands of years of Indian cooking that led to these delicious cultural dishes.

Sincerely,

Ian

P.S. I’m perfectly aware that ‘Tandoori’ food means cooking with a specific type of oven but that doesn’t let you get away with cultural ignorance.

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