Racism comes to the kitchen

I adore Hannah Goldfield, the New Yorker‘s food critic. So I feel badly calling out anything she writes.

But … here we go.

“A pile of chicken-satay skewers, draped in peanut sauce and dusted with kaffir-lime powder—a term, it should be noted, that has fallen out of fashion recently, given that it’s also a racist slur used to refer to black people in South Africa; makrut, the lime’s name in Thai, is now the preferred term—was, one evening, straightforward and satisfying, featuring well-salted, juicy nubs of slightly charred thigh meat.”

I really want to eat what she’s talking about — but I’m not sure about the racism thing.

She says “it’s also a racist slur” — but what IT is IT?

Pronouns are diabolically slippery.

In this case, it could be kaffir-lime powder, or peanut sauce, or skewers, or chicken-satay, or — is it possible? — pile.

She goes on to say that “the lime’s name in Thai” is now the “preferred term,” so now I’m inclined to move away from thinking the pile of chicken thingies is the offensive thingie — but I’m still not sure if makrut is the preferred term for the fruit or the powder.

Better to use more words, in smaller segments:

“A pile of chicken-satay skewers, draped in peanut sauce and dusted with kaffir-lime powder, was, one evening, straightforward and satisfying, featuring well-salted, juicy nubs of slightly charred thigh meat. It should be noted that that the term kaffir has fallen out of fashion recently, given that it’s also a racist slur used to refer to black people in South Africa; makrut, the lime’s name in Thai, is now the preferred term.”

Hannah, forgive me. I still love you.

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