Fried Green Tomatoes and the Problem with Manjula
Apu: Oh. I’m afraid this is all my fault, Manjula. To be perfectly honest with you…I have not exactly been looking forward to this arranged marriage.
Manjula: Oh. Nor have I. Marrying a complete stranger? It is crazy.
Apu’s Mother: All right. Ganesh has been subdued. Resume the ceremony.
Apu: Quickly, tell me. What is your favorite movie, book and food?
Manjula: Uh, the answer to all three is “fried green tomatoes.”
Apu: Oh. I am so torn. You are clearly so quick-witted and beautiful.
Manjula: And when I look in your eyes… I see that sweet little boy who sold me my very first kiss. And I liked it.
Apu: Oh. Do you think this marriage could really work?
Manjula: Who knows? We can always get divorced.
Apu: Of course. God bless America!
– The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilon
The Simpsons | Season 9 - Episode 7
I recently watched the documentary The Problem with Apu, which on Rotten Tomatoes has 89% rating with critics and a 34% rating with audience. Among audience reviews, the prevailing opinion seems to be that this documentary is “unnecessary” and “other things I don’t want to write here because it’s probably racist”. I completely recognize how Apu is offensive to some people, but my dumb blog is supposed to humorous (debatable) and I don’t really want to get into controversy. It also looks like this problem may have solved itself, kinda? Besides, I don’t want to talk about Apu, I want to talk about Manjula…and fried green tomatoes.
- In The Simpsons episode Homer and Apu, Apu states that he is from Rahmatpur, West Bengal
- I’m fairly certain one of the main reasons Rahamatpur has a Wikipedia entry is because it’s “notable for being the birthplace of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon”
- In The Simpsons episode The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilon, Manjula states that her favorite movie, book and food is Fried Green Tomatoes
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a novel that came out in 1987 concerning, among other things, the 1930’s US Southern town of Whistle Stop, Alabama and the cafe there that serves fried green tomatoes
- The film adaptation of the aforementioned novel, Fried Green Tomatoes, came out in 1991 concerning, among other things, “good friends” Idgie and Ruth who run a Southern cafe that serves fried green tomatoes
What I’m trying to say here is that there is no freaking way that Manjula, a woman who is almost certainly from the same area of India as Apu, had ever even heard of the movie, book OR food that is fried green tomatoes! I mean, it’s possible I suppose. But I ask you, oh reasonable reader, if you have heard of the film Garam Masala?
I know it’s not a perfect comparison, but Garam Masala is both a food and a movie. It’s unfortunately not based on a novel for the trifecta I wanted. More to the point, if Garam Masala is both your favorite movie and your favorite food I will be extremely impressed. And I KNOW I’m focusing on a dumb joke that the writers probably barely even thought about but really, what else do I have to do with my time these days? Anyway, I also made some fried green tomatoes because see the previous sentence I just wrote.
- 3 green tomatoes
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices and sprinkle with salt. Allow tomatoes to sit for 5-10 minutes so they dry out. In separate bowls place: the flour, the buttermilk and egg, the cornmeal (3 bowls). Heat a skillet with your oil of choice (I use sunflower oil) under medium heat. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour, then buttermilk, then cornmeal mixture. Cook the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes a side. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
These were pretty tasty overall. My perfectly healthy diet always has room for fried foods. At the same time, I’m not going to go out of my way to make fried green tomatoes in the future. Perhaps what these needed was a spice blend to really take it to the next level. Of course, we’re all thinking it, the tomatoes needed some garam masala. Bam!
Cromulence: 6 Cornelius Talmadges out of 10
Fried Green Tomatoes from: The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilon (The Simpsons Season 9 – Episode 7)