Call the Fireman Pole Dancer- Joel Stein is in my Stomach

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Well, I was all set to do my first Foodie Tuesday post and then my stomach some  how got upset .

You see, I read Joel Stein’s Time Magazine article about his neighbourhood. Joel  Stein thought he was being humourous with his supposed satire about his  immigrant  neighbours in Edison New Jersey. It was just not a bulk complaint  against all immigrants, it was sadly about Indians. But some how his undertones  in this article scared me.

He complained how the first immigrated Indians brought in their less smarter  merchant cousins and how his movie multiplex only shows Bollywood films now. That was just the beginning.

Saturday, I went to a great Indian food place in Berkeley called Viks Chaat  Corner that has been in operation for 18 years.  It started out as a small hole in the wall and progressed to become one of Berkeley’s finest .

Their food is so good  that is has been reviewed by the likes of the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York  Times. In none of the articles I read did I hear them being called “dot heads”  as  in Joel Stein’s article.

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Viks is a family run business just like the ones Joel Stein talks about.That is about one of three things he likes about the Indian population. Far better restaurants. Even though he did not eat in them.

Apparently, so do a lot of other people in the Bay area. The line up was out the door.

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I know nothing about Indian food except that Samosas are good. So I let Steve pick out a group of things that would have fed half the street. I was thrilled  to see  the mixed cultures harmonously kneeding breads, and stirring pots. Indian mothers, and grandmothers in saris sprinkled with Latinos worked silently in the  steamy open kitchen.

We got four different items that maybe anyone who does not live outside  of the box would  try.Yes, maybe some people like Joel Stein would never try this  delicious food.

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There was Bhel Puri which looked like a wet sea gree rice salad with a
questionalble crunchy topping. At first I hated it, but by the second spoonful I was hooked.

Wonderful huge Samosas and Aloo Tiki were the next things I tried. Aloo Tiki  is  made out of potatoes and declicious chickpeas. Ahh, a fibre content to die for.

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And, no where Joel Stein, did anyone  talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and  disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy.

You see Joel Stein, I have always lived in a bubble. My family was a group of  immigrants that came over to Canada and the USA to find a better life.

One of  them even died on Ellis Island trying to be a songwriter in America.They did  menial jobs for years until they owned their own businesses.

I believe, and I am not afraid to say it , that everyone should have a chance  to have a better life.Yes, the educated, and the uneducated.

I picked all sorts of berries for a summer, and believe me none of my peers would do it. The job was not good enough and way too hard for them. How many people do you know that would  do a job like that now?

Would you Joel Stein stir a pot of steaming chickpeas for hours  on end?

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Joel, honestly, why did you not speak of all the jobs that were outsourced to India? That is where the real jobs went to, although, they too are feeling the pinch now. People should be reminded of this.

Why did you not speak to the workers that took these jobs that were named Cindy, and Gidget and Chip ?

Yes, they were given American names and taught slang and work for money no one would even consider here. Good thing they did not move to your neighbourhood. You might have not noticed the difference , except for their skin colour.

I have a hard time understanding this fear about immigration that is turning  into hysteria. To me, there is a bigger problem that should be dealt with first.

When I go into a McDonalds in Missouri, and hear an African American young man  working at  the counter being called “boy” , that to me is a problem.

When I sit next to someone in another state and hear someone  at an adjoining table say he would never vote for man that can’t control his woman that is problem number two.

When I see my friend Kevin get upset because he will never have equal partner rights that’s problem number three.

The fact that people of all colours, gays and women are still not equal in a lot of this country  is something  that should be dealt with first. How can a country work harmoniously together  when they are still at odds with themselves?

Joel Stein, I am glad that you had to apologize for that article you wrote. I am  glad you were stomach- sick that you hurt a lot of people. I would really like  to take you  out out for lunch at Viks and talk to you about your article.

I  would also like to ask you about your family’s history and see where they came  from. Are we all not born from families of immigrants?

Joel Stein says

” I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison,  N.J.”

Too bad you could not repeat that to your ancestors and see what they would have  had to say. Or have you segregated all of them too into proper race containers?

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So Joel, call me. Let’s do a cup of Chai.

So much for my Foodie Tuesday piece. Well you can tell by the pictures it was yummy.

Linda Seccaspina

words and images 2010

Joel Stein’s article

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1999416,00.html

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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