Desi Obama can cook dal, but finds naan tough

August 19th, 2008 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama considers himself a “desi” who is an expert at cooking dal and other ethnic dishes, though he isn’t that good at making naan, the Indian bread.”Not only do I think I’m a desi, but I’m a desi,” he said using a colloquial term that describes South Asian immigrants at a San Francisco fundraiser Sunday. The remark was greeted with laughs. “I’m a homeboy.”

Obama told the group, which included many Indian and Pakistani immigrants including San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, that he is not only familiar with their cultures, but also proud of his lifelong association with them, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

He said that when he went to Occidental College, his first roommate was Pakistani. And in his dorm, he said with a laugh, “Indians and Pakistanis came together under one roof … to cause havoc in the university.”

To applause, he said he became an expert at cooking dal and other ethnic dishes, though “somebody else made the naan”.

“Those are friendships which have lasted … for years, and continue until this day,” he was quoted as saying by the Chronicle. “I have an enormous personal affection for the people of South Asia.

“I’ve also had an orientation toward Asia and a recognition … that over time we are going to see … more economic growth” and an economic partnership with the United States that is strategic.

Using his own name and heritage to make a point about change at the fundraiser that raised a record $7.8 million for his campaign, Obama said it was “a testament to the American spirit that I’m even standing here before you” as the Democratic Party’s presumed nominee, because some Americans are “still getting past” his name, which he said some consider funny.

“Change is always tough, and electing me is change … and it means that people are going to hesitate a little bit,” the Hawaii-born son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas told a crowd of supporters at a reception for South Asian and Pacific Islander supporters.

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