"Indian" food

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Eli the Bearded

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May 26, 2021, 6:56:58 PMMay 26
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I was at the Westlake Center in Daly City to visit the Trader Joe's
yesterday. Not my usual TJs, but my usual was out of stock on a few
things last time I went there, so trying further afield.

While I was there I noticed for the first time Five Rivers Indian
Cuisine and that sounded good.

I got bengan bharta, daal makhani, raita, veggie ("vege") pakoras,
and naan. Shared some with my wife last night and had leftovers for
lunch today.

Reasonably tasty, but clearly loaded with oil and salt. I saw one of the
kitchen workers (all were Sikhs) roughly chop up an eggplant and drop it
the fryer. A little later that eggplant was in my bengan bharta. Not the
usual method, I don't think. The menu claims a clay oven is involved.
Probably typical for greasy spoons like this, but usually they do it out
of sight. This kitchen was open to observe, behind plexiglass sheets. I
saw them oversalt my pakoras after packing them.

But Five Rivers Indian -- probably the five tributaries to the Indus in
Punjab given the Sikh staff -- yet that's a name that evokes Native
American in my mind. So here I got philosophical.

It prompted me to think about how rare those are. I've had frybread
with various toppings at pow-wow events ("Indian tacos") and the like,
but those are not fixed address establishments, and such vendors
probably have all the "typical cuisine" that county fair food does.

And I know frybread is clearly a newer dish; wheat flour came with the
Europeans. Not sure how to rate its authenticity. No one really
questions tomato sauce as Italian, but there were no tomatoes in Europe
until the Spanish brought them back from the "New World." Italian tomato
dishes are accepted why? I think it's because it comes from an authentic
response to a new ingredient. Is frybread authentic the same way? I
don't really know, but probably not. The history seems more like a
forced "making do" response to supplies than an "organic" (so to speak)
adoption of newly available ingredients.

I do know that Italian, Indian (real Indian, not misnamed Americans),
Burmese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, German, Russian, Ethiopian, etc
restaurants are easy to find around here but Native American? A casual
search finds nothing in California, just places in New Mexico and farther
afield. I did find some Yelp discussion from 2007 ("Casino San Pablo?")
where someone chastized the question asker by comparing the lack of
tribe specificity to asking for "European" food in Italy, while ignoring
that we ask for "Italian" restaurants and not Calabrian, Roman,
Sicilian, etc.

Those search results probably mean nothing more than the ones around
here are low publicity or I don't know the terms to use. All sarcasm
about Casino San Pablo aside, the casinos are evidence that not all of
the Native Americans have been forced out of the area, but has all
of their food been repressed and forgotten?

Elijah
------
purchased a can of kvass at Fort Ross, but didn't find any Pomo food there
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