Ever tried a ‘whole wheat balloon bread’? On May 29, a food channel on Instagram managed to irk its Indian subcontinent audience, after they posted a video recipe, teaching their 1.5 million followers, how to make ‘whole wheat balloon bread’.
“It’s a roti,” said amused and not-so amused followers.
Rotis or chappatis, are a type of round flatbread native to countries in the Indian subcontinent.
It is made from stoneground wholemeal flour, combined with water to make dough, and flattened out using a rolling pin, before being cooked on a tawa or pan. Some Instagrammers replied, pointing out that the method showed in the video was to make a phulka, in which the flattened dough is first put on the pan, and then on the flame directly, so it balloons up with steam inside.
Amused Instagrammer, @thicclittlelady replied: “Bro, it’s a roti.”
The coronavirus restrictions across the globe saw people turn into #quarantinecooks, and hashtags such as #covidbaking trend on social media, with food recipes and photos. Some people made suggestions such as not to use hot water, as said in the recipe, to knead the dough. Instagram user @ashtarina posted: “This is Roti... do your research before posting and also this recipe is going to make your roti come out as hard as flying saucers...”
But, it was not the way the dish was made that seemed to be upsetting people but the name given to it.
@aizeh_g replied: “Balloon bread! Hahaha, what name you guys give to food our ancestors have been cooking for eons… ROTI just call it that!”
@sakinah_666: “You did NOT just take an old Indian recipe and call it ‘balloon bread’.”
Calling it cultural appropriation, @pagarkar commented: “Stop culture appropriation. This is so offensive.” In another reply she added: “I am so amused and offended by this.”
After, reaching nearly 200,000 views, and hundreds of comments about the name, on May 31, the vlog finally changed the caption to “Roti recipe”.