Joyce and I both grew up in Yankee families.
Hot dogs and beans on Saturday nights. Pot roast and mashed potatoes on Sunday afternoon. Bologna sandwiches in brown paper bags for school lunch.
When we left for college, it was pizza and McDonald’s.
When we were first married, it was liver and onions, Hamburger Helper and Franco-American spaghetti.
It wasn’t until we moved to Rhode Island that many new culinary opportunities opened our culturally deprived lifestyle.
Having friends at Johnson & Wales helped. We learned that meat didn’t have to be cooked until it was black, and SpaghettiOs weren’t “fine Italian dining,” but pasta with gravy or aglio and oglio were.
There were other ethnic foods besides American and Italian. You didn’t have to go to France to get crepes or India to get nan.
Speaking of Indian, and we don’t mean Indian pudding, we have become fans of the many fine Indian restaurants in Rhode Island.
We have made converts of two Connecticut relatives who grew up as we did, thinking that Wonder Bread and Howard Johnson’s clam strips were as good as it gets.
Niece Bonnie wouldn’t think of entering an Indian restaurant, convinced that curry was the only ingredient used. Nan was better than sliced bread. Vegetable pakoras, shahi baingan, and bhartha were better than hot dogs.
Whether it is Indian, Korean or Thai, or the many fine ethnic restaurants that have opened in Rhode Island, many who are now offering take-out and delivery, we’ve come a long way from hot dogs and beans.
And, like many others, you won’t like Indian ... until you’ve tried it.