Food for thought: "Axis of Evil" cookbook stirs in satire

Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:50am EST
 
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By Gillian Murdoch

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Memos from North Korean nuclear negotiators are not your average cookbook fodder, but perhaps the world would be a better place if they were, Chris Fair suggests in her genre-defying "culinary castigation" of 10 foreign policy hotspots.

"Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States" (www.evilcuisines.com) stirs a generous dose of satire into its recipes for Pashtun cardamom tea, Israeli carrot salad and other dinner party fare from "Axis of Evil" states North Korea, Iran, and Iraq; hotspots Israel, India, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Burma (Myanmar); and "Great Satan", the United States.

Political analyst and South Asia expert Fair talked to Reuters Life! about why talking foreign affairs is safer over dinner, and the politics of falafel.

Q: This may be the world's first foreign policy critique cookbook. When and why did you cook it up?

A: "It actually had a sad origin in late 2002, when my brothers were deployed to Iraq. I'm a smart arse by nature, and I was full of anger that the Bush administration had cooked up this ridiculous concept "the Axis of Evil" to justify a war that was unconnected to 9/11. The Axis of Evil dinner party was really just a way of kvetching, and bringing together friends...

After my brothers came back from Iraq it became a fun thing to do -- the cookbook came afterwards."

Q: You suggest talking politics over dinner lessens the chance of fist-fights breaking out. Why?

A: "Dinner parties are actually a relatively safe environment to have these discussions in, because you cut people slack... Everyone's drinking, which sort of gives people a license to be obnoxious, and speak their minds even if they don't have one..."   Continued...

 
<p>Chris Fair, South Asia analyst and author of cookbook "Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States", poses in Lahore, April 2008. REUTERS/Handout</p>