Our core group of fourth and fifth-grade girls were rewarded with a loyalty lunch at Tandoor Cuisine of India, a real find in Schererville, Indiana. Although none previously had tasted an Indian dish, they were game to try everything: naan, chaat pappri (with the tamarind and mint dipping sauces), vegetable biryani, tandoor chicken, curry chicken, aloo gobhi, dal makhani. No grimaces, no fuss. They were intent and sedulously polite diners, who tickled the restaurant staff.
We were so impressed by their approach to a new cuisine, and a novel experience. Most never eat in any kind of restaurant. One girl noted that she was clumsy with a knife and fork, as virtually all her (tortilla-based) meals require no implements.
The one disappointment: coffee. All had insisted on a cup with the meal, a habit restricted to Lake Wobegon retirees. Blame rested upon their recent Wisconsin camp experience, where dining hall "coffee" was constructed with one tablespoon java to 16 hazelnut creamers. Coffee in its raw state was a bitter shock. One fourth-grader did finish her cup, and one shudders to extrapolate to her college caffeine-tolerance.