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Aarti Paarti drives me nuts!


keeperrox

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While you might think this thread is in the wrong section, it's not. If you don't know who I'm talking about, Aarti Sequeira was last season's Food Network Star winner. I liked her in the competition, in fact, I even rooted for her, excited that FN was getting an Indian presence. Once her episodes aired, and it was a cross between Sandra Lee and my local Taj Mahal buffet, it was sorely disappointed.

THEN... I checked out her blog. Oh Em Gee. Her husband is a nutbag and God is responsible for all her success. Nope, not hard work, perseverance, or self-confidence, it was all God. Hmmm.... okay, so she's devout, I can accept that.

Then I start reading things like this:

Rather than put myself on one diet after another, I’m eating “respectfullyâ€.

That is, with respect to the Provider of my every need, to the system He set up both within and without me...

When she cooked for Sugar Ray Leonard:

Nervous doesn’t even begin to cover it. You know me by now… whenever God sends me an opportunity, my first thought isn’t, “Thank you!â€â€¦ it’s “but I can’t do it! Why are You doing this to me?â€

Cue an extended period of whining.

Somewhere, wherever it is that God lives, He’s probably shaking his head and smiling at me. I especially hope He’s doing the last part.

She didn't win a contest, God gave her this "position":

“All the days of the afflicted are bad,

But a cheerful heart has a continual feast…

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is

Than a fattened ox served with hatred.â€

(Proverbs 15:15 and 17)

These two verses really touched me when I read them last week. I was coming out of a particularly gloomy period, where I was really questioning my ability to cook, my ability to come up with a good recipe. Everything I made was, in my eyes, a huge flop. I started to fear my position, fear this job that God had given me, fear with a sense of impending doom the day when people would realise that I was a hack, that I had been pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes with my lack of talent.

and...

Bren [her husband] calmed me down, reminding me that I went through this after the first season too, that even before NFNS victory, not every dinner was something to write home about (or heck, write on here about!), that I was putting too much pressure on myself to come up with James Beard Award-winning recipes every night, and that God was not vindictive; He had not brought me this far to abandon me.

So, (yeah, here I go making this about me again)… (deep breath!), to those who write unkind things about me… God bless you! I (gulp) love you! As much as I possibly can right now! But I promise to keep trying to love you more!

So I’m learning. Trying to be less harsh on myself. Trying to trust that God has recipes to download into my little pea-brain hard drive (compared to His brain, I’m sure mine is a split pea!), just as soon as I stop putting up barriers on our, um, wi-fi connection. Even now, after He has blessed so thoroughly, so fully, I STILL have moments where I subconsciously think that He’s going to leave me to my own devices. And I don’t have a lot of faith in my own devices, because they’ve let me down so many times before. Isn’t it crazy the lies we tell ourselves?! It makes me love Him even more when I think about how patiently He waits on me, bearing through all my kicking and screaming for that one moment when I get so tired that I stop… and that’s when He wraps His arms around me and says, I’m here. Trust Me. Peace be with you!

I’ve been working as diligently as possible for an upcoming project that will test me, I’m sure. And I want to be as successful as possible at this challenge. But I have to stop. I feel like God’s saying, if I don’t want you to be successful in this particular challenge, then you’re not going to be no matter how much homework you do. And if I want you to be victorious in the coming days, I can bless with all the abilities possible IN YOUR SLEEP!

I find her whiny and self-flagellating. Eventually though, I got bored and stopped reading. However, in a fit of insomnia tonight, I checked out her blog. This is what I found:

See, a few weeks ago, I dropped Bren off (at his request!) at a national forest not far from here, where he was to camp out for 40 days with nothing more than a tent, a sleeping bag, a water filter, some spirulina and his Bible, give or take a few things. No food. Cell phone off. Just him, the wilderness, God and whatever else might be out there.

It’s a long story, and I kinda want to make sure that Bren is cool with me telling it before telling you — and since he’s not going to be back for a few weeks, I guess I should wait. Long story short: he felt like God asked him to do it. And Bren said, “okâ€.

Yes, her husband spent 40 days in the woods with no food or clean water, because God told him to. In the process he lost 50 pounds, read his Bible for 10 hours every day, and, apparently, was in God's presence daily.

I don't watch her show anymore, so she's really not on my radar, but am I being too judgmental? Has FJ made me cynical towards all Christians? Or are they really as crazy as it seems? Her husband has over 1,000 Youtube videos, most of which are his crazy rantings: http://www.youtube.com/user/fireballmcnamara

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I am so there with you! She's not Indian - she's home-made "Indian" takeout that's just "ethnic" enough to be interesting, but white-washed enough for the average Middle American Christian to watch and not feel too threatened.

Here you have it, ladies and gents: the end result of decades of missionary influence.

Sorry if it's offensive to any Christian Indians, but every.single.one I've personally ever met has learned from their teachers and looks down their nose at "mainstream" Indian culture, food, etc., just like evangelicals/fundies everywhere do, and is desperate to be and act white. Aarti seems to be one of them.

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I am so there with you! She's not Indian - she's home-made "Indian" takeout that's just "ethnic" enough to be interesting, but white-washed enough for the average Middle American Christian to watch and not feel too threatened.

You clearly don't like her, but that doesn't give you the right to declare her "not Indian," even figuratively.

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You clearly don't like her, but that doesn't give you the right to declare her "not Indian," even figuratively.

I thought she was describing her show/food, which the above is a perfectly apt description. It's not Indian.

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I liked her in the competition, too. I've watched her show a couple times. I don't really care for it. I've no interest in the type of food she cooks.

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I thought she was describing her show/food, which the above is a perfectly apt description. It's not Indian.

You may be right, but the wording -- "she's not Indian" -- and the second paragraph about self-loathing Indian Christians still give me an uncomfortable "arbiter of Indian identity" feeling.

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You may be right, but the wording -- "she's not Indian" -- and the second paragraph about self-loathing Indian Christians still give me an uncomfortable "arbiter of Indian identity" feeling.

I did indeed mean her show/cooking style, not her specifically. Of course she is Indian, but her style is as Indian as Indian Takeout cooked by Pedro at Safeway.

I'm not an arbiter of Indian culture - or anything - by commenting on her and the general "converted" Indian people I've run into and observations of how they appear view others and themselves, any more than anyone here is of American culture by observing/commenting on fundies and how they view mainstream Americans.

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Aarti Sequeira isn't a convert, I don't think. I believe she grew up Catholic.

MANY Indians are not "recent" converts - Catholicism has been In India since the 1400s, obviously the British were in India for many years, and St. Thomas visited India in 52 AD, so there are converts in Kerala dating back until then.

ETA:

Sorry if it's offensive to any Christian Indians, but every.single.one I've personally ever met has learned from their teachers and looks down their nose at "mainstream" Indian culture, food, etc., just like evangelicals/fundies everywhere do, and is desperate to be and act white. Aarti seems to be one of them.

I don't know who you've met but AS a Christian Indian who knows MANY "fundamentalist" Indian Christians (who are different from fundie *white* Americans but are not less dangerous, etc) I have never met a single one that is "desperate to be and act white." And this is a culture I grew up in. What exactly does it mean to be "desperate to be and act white"?

American does not equal white.

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I didn't know the right word for it; I meant those who had been separated by missionary influence. Converted looked like a weird word to me too, but I don't know exactly what she would be called when at least a few generations removed.

I guess what I meant to say is that the sect of Indian Christians seem to separate themselves and do the same thing fundies here do, looking down on others and attempting to culturally distance themselves, and Aarti seems to fit into that model by how she behaves, what she writes, etc. That's all.

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I didn't know the right word for it; I meant those who had been separated by missionary influence. Converted looked like a weird word to me too, but I don't know exactly what she would be called when at least a few generations removed.

I don't know - what do you call American fundamentalists, who 800 years ago might have been Anglo Saxon pagans? Or 1400 years ago might have been Roman Pagans?

You just call them Christians.

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Desperate to be Western, I guess is what I meant. White probably being the wrong word too.

I've explained what I meant. Semantics.

Same idea (not religiously, but culturally) as people who take physical measures like skin-bleaching and hair blowouts to adopt a western ideal and estrange themselves from the standards of their own society. Just on a religious/cultural note instead of a physical one.

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So in a nutshell, she tries way too hard to fit in... which, oddly enough, I said about her on TNFNS.

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Like I said, just my personal experience not being part of the culture. My grandmother was Indian Christian (the family WAS converted during the later part of the 19th century) and though I only vaguely knew her, I have gotten to know a number members of that side of the family, spent time with them recently, some who grew up in the US and some who grew up in India. Perhaps it's just that specific group/area, but I have noticed an incredibly culturally effacing manner amongst my relatives and people within their community, and a desire to separate and distance themselves from non-Christian Indians and elect to conform to more western-Christian ideas.

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Guest Anonymous
It is a good thing she has a job since her hubs seems on the verge of pulling a Gabriel Ananst.

Bwah! ... Seriously. Run, girl, run. We've seen where that ends up and it ain't pretty.

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Well this explains her annoyingly sweet voice and silly terms like "husby". She's trying to act like Michelle Duggar.

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Going on a 40-day-woods-Bible-50lb weight loss...thing is eye-roll worthy. But if he self-destructs, she'll be able to make her own way. I think that distinguishes fundie from very religious to me: if the patriarch goes down, is the whole family thrown into poverty, or can women have financial protection without offending God's Plan For Marriage?

Her food may be bad, and her husband may be eccentric, but I don't think they're hurting people the way fundies are. We can still make fun of them, but I'm OK with their schtick for the most part.

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Her food may be bad, and her husband may be eccentric, but I don't think they're hurting people the way fundies are. We can still make fun of them, but I'm OK with their schtick for the most part.

I'll give you that.

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I cant believe she isnt prego yet, then. I guess God hasnt make that decision yet? I really hated her on the show and was pretty pissed when she won.

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I really liked her on TNFNS and was happy when she one. I have watched a couple of her shows and thought meh, guess we saw any interesting food from her already. I tried to read her blog but it is a little to God heavy for me. As a non Christian I get really annoyed at the way some Christians feel the need to tell everyone about their God all the time.

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There are a few other Christians on the food network. Alton Brown and Melissa D'Arabian come to mind.

I made Aarti's chicken tikka masala and it was wonderful.

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