Several years ago, scientists at Nottingham Trent University, alarmed by the state of the Queens cuisine, set out to discover why curry had become such a hit in Britain. What they found shocked them: Ingesting spicy food increases the heart rate, stimulates the senses, and raises blood pressure. In short, curry-taking is addictive. "By activating several areas of the tongue simultaneously, we are literally dazzling our taste buds to a state of confusion, Professor Stephen Gray said, deadpan. "When we crave a curry, it seems our taste buds are literally crying out for stimulation," he continued, perhaps thinking of his retirement. The professor is right, of course, and no one knows the lure of curry better than Ranjan Dey, star of the PBS show My India! and owner of New Delhi Restaurant. Before opening his downtown restaurant in 1988, he spent years working in Calcutta, New Delhi, and Hong Kong kitchens, three of them his own. In his lecture Curries of the World: History and Tasting, Dey talks about the march of curry throughout the world as well as its impact on Southeast Asia. After the lecture, the lids come off, and youll forget all about your Thanksgiving plans.
Tue., Nov. 25, 6 p.m., 2008