TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI: Peppered With Unsuitable Content
By Stephanie Speck
TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI is a Hulu original docuseries that explores food cultures across the United States. In the series, television host and cookbook author, Padma Lakshmi, travels across the country to explore the history of well-loved foods and the immigrant groups that shaped them. While this interesting and educational series is likely to attract food lovers, it does present some cautions for Christian families.
Padma Lakshmi is the host, creator, and executive producer of TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI. Lakshmi immigrated to the United States from India at age 4 and is best known for her work as a host on TOP CHEF.
In each episode of the series, Lakshmi travels to different regions of the United States and explores the culinary traditions of various ethnic groups. The host explores everything from the history of the burrito to the foods of the indigenous Native American tribes. Lakshmi meets with local experts and learns how to prepare traditional dishes. The show examines the history of ethnic groups and their food. It also conveys strong social and political implications regarding the immigrant experience in America.
The series is rated TV-14 since there’s some content that’s not family friendly. There are over a dozen profanities taking the Lord’s name in vain and over 20 other assorted obscenities. There are also two scenes where a word, most likely the “F” word, is bleeped out. Many sequences in the series also feature drinking, preparing food with alcohol, and brewing alcoholic beverages. Joking references are made to getting drunk. One episode features a subtle reference to getting high on medicinal plants.
As a multicultural docuseries, TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI, does feature references to a variety of religions. While exploring the food culture of her home country of India, Lakshmi makes mention of growing up with the Hindu religion. Images show her and her daughter praying at a temple. While learning about Thai cuisine, Lakshmi meets with an immigrant who discusses the support and comfort she receives from her religion and seeing the Monks at the Buddhist temple. This episode features images of the individual at her Buddhist temple. Several episodes feature images of pagan deities. Various individuals make reference to feeling connected to the spirits of their ancient peoples by preparing their foods or visiting their holy lands. One episode features an African American speaking at a Praise House, but the represented religion is unclear.
TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI presents a worldview that emphasizes multiculturalism and the importance of people feeling connected to and preserving the culture of their ethnic heritage. The implication of the series is that one’s identity is based solely on their ethnic background and their ability to connect with the roots of their ancestors. In addition, the show portrays the immigrant experience in America as oppressive and harmful to immigrant cultures. These impressions are further politicized by the appearance of an American immigrant politician and tainted references to America’s current political and social climate. Some viewers may find the socio-political commentary to be unwelcome and question the accuracy of the historical references.
The series does have some redemptive qualities, though. TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI celebrates family and highlights the joy and love that’s experienced when people come together and share a meal. The stories shared by the guests on the series are also to be celebrated, as many of these individuals gratefully share their success stories and the trials they have overcome in their lives.
TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI is a well-crafted, interesting series that allows viewers to learn more about the foods they love, as well as other food cultures that they may be less familiar with. Unfortunately, the series is peppered with offensive content and mixed worldview messages. TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI is not recommended for families.
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