Born and brought up in England (Lancashire, actually), I had my first curry when I was in my early twenties.
I’d no idea what to expect this foreign food would taste like, but I knew it would be ‘strong’ and likely to have an explosive effect on the digestive system. A sort of culinary roller-coaster.
That first curry, for which my colleagues the Rigby’s can take full credit, just tasted of ‘hot.’ Several curries later, over the months, persevering, I started to taste the food, and to enjoy the experience.
Strange that I very much thought of curry as foreign food. Me, for whom the normal food of my childhood was vareniki, holubchi, borshch, platski and the like. We adopt things as ‘foreign’ for a variety of reasons.
I was brought up catholic – Ukrainian (which is Greek Orthodox by tradition) and Roman Catholic. All other denominations were the same – ‘foreign’ – which meant a combination of unorthodox, or not true, but more simply ‘not ours.’
When Ann and I were married, in an Anglican church, this was stepping onto foreign turf for my mum. Took some courage. After the service her simple, enthusiastic comment, said with genuine surprise was “They kept talking about Jesus…”
As Larry Norman famously sang “What a mess this world is in, I wonder who began it? Don’t ask me, I’m only visiting this planet.”