Giving an Example an Indian Flavor

My mother told me I taught myself to read using the comics in the newspapers, but at school I remember plowing through the tedious “Dick and Jane” stories in first grade.

When I first started writing “Common Errors in English Usage” back  in 1997 I used generic “Dick and Jane” names in my example sentences, throwing in names of friends and relatives from time to time.

But since my professional interests were international, I decided eventually to widen the scope of personal names to be used. On p.10 of the third edition appears this sentence in the entry “all be it/albeit”: “Rani’s recipe calls for a tablespoon of saffron, which made it very tasty, albeit very expensive.“

“Rani” is a common Hindi name, meaning “queen.” In olden times a rani would usually be married to a raja.

I enjoy cooking and eating Indian food, especially using a pinch of saffron. I continue to use some of the saffron we bought in Spain several years back. It’s still surprisingly flavorful.

My favorite Indian cookbook is Julie Sahini’s Classic Indian Cooking.

I love India, though I’ve only visited there once. During my final decade in academia I specialized in South Asian literature written in English. I spent five years annotating Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and eventually published an introductory book on writers like Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

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