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Positive Sinking

Silly Rabbit, Penguins Can’t Spell!

By Akshay Patil

features editor


I am a white guy who hangs out with lots of Indian people here at MIT. Back home, I tried to eat Indian cuisine every so often, but I never knew what to order or what it was I was eating. Also, there was one time that I had a dish with so much curry I got sick. I was wondering if you make a guide to Indian food for white people -- what is good, what is better, and what will make me sick.

-- Matt

Well, seeing as our resident Asian food critic hasn’t been writing in a while, I guess I can step on in and offer a body of rather unhelpful and slightly irrelevant advice to the novice diner of Indian cuisine.

The first thing you’ll notice when you go to an Indian restaurant is that you have utensils. This may strike you as odd seeing as how India is well known for its avid use of chopsticks.

The proper course of action in this situation is to politely get the attention of your waiter or waitress and ask for another knife. Armed with two knives, you should grip them between your fingers in a sick, pointy approximation of chopsticks. You may have some trouble with the non-sticky rice but don't worry, over time you will master the picking-up-one-grain-of-rice-with-two-blunt-knives-held-like-chopsticks maneuver.

Alright, fine, fine, Indian people don’t use chopsticks, and, strange as this may seem, we don’t really use utensils either. You eat with your hands. Well, hand. You see, you only eat with one hand, and it better be your right-hand, too. I don’t care if you’re left-handed, don’t you go about touching nothing with your left-hand. You’ll learn some fascinating one-handed bread tearing maneuvers if you stick with it long enough. I’m totally not kidding.

I’ve heard a few explanations as to why you should only eat with your right hand, but the most plausible one concerns lack of toilet paper. If you can’t figure that one out, well then, I’m not going to help you.

That’s really all you need to know: eat with only one hand. There’s not really much else to learn except what the actual foods are but that’s boring. Experiment and order a mango lassi to put out any fires that might start.


Why does the i come after the e in "weird" when there’s no c?

-- PBMax

I honestly don’t know. How does that saying go? “I before E except after C or when sounded like A in words such as neighbor or weigh unless the moon in the sky seems unusually high or if Google searches say to spell it the other way”? Something like that. The obvious answer is that “weird” is just being “weird” but that’s so unsatisfying. It’s like when you peel an orange hoping it’s seedless but knowing, deep down, that it’s going to have seeds. Then after the rind is gone and the wedges emerge you’re just disappointed. That’s how I feel about it at least.

Having dealt with that, what the hell does your name mean? Peanut Butter Max? You like peanut butter? Not a fan of the jelly, are you Trebek? Or maybe it stands for something else, like “Penguin Breeder.” And you do it to the max. That’d be cool, all the penguin breeding... with peanut butter...

Whoa, sorry... I drifted off there for a bit.

To be Frank, or Harry, or Hairy, I’m not the best speller to begin with. I distinctly remember dropping out of the second grade spelling bee in the first round. Or maybe it was the third grade spelling bee.

Alright, I indistinctly remember dropping out of some elementary school spelling bee in the first round due to my inability to spell. Come to think of it, I don’t speak English too good either.

Mamo says I’m not as hot as his thesis. Apparently if his thesis were at a club, all the ladies would be all over it cooing “Oh! Thesis!” None of them would e-mail no, they’d all be checking out his appendix. Tragic.