It was just a regular Sunday after-church potluck for members of Leamington Gospel Mennonite Church. That is, until, Lydia Neufeld, 75, showed up with butter chicken.
“I couldn’t figure out what on earth it was supposed to be,” said baffled diner Henry Dyck. “This looks nothing like vereniki to me.”
The presence of the curry dish caused quite the uproar, as confused Mennonite seniors attending the luncheon tried to make sense out of the mysterious cuisine.
“Should I put it at the front of the line, or the back of the line, and how close to the bean salad should it go?” wondered event-organizer Martha Wiebe. “In the end I just decided to put it next to the raisin buns and hope for the best.”
Neufeld, who brought the dish, said she was told to bring “good old fashioned Mennonite cooking,” but was confused by what that meant.
“I heard from a missionary last Sunday that there are more Mennonites these days in India, than there are in North America,” she said. “It was an honest mistake. I’m truly sorry.”
Attendees filled their paper plates with processed ham slices, dill pickles, and marble cheese, and somehow they all found that their plates were, “much too full,” by the time they reached the butter chicken, though a few particularly polite Mennonites managed to squeeze a tiny dollop on the edge of their plates.
Inspired by Neufeld’s efforts in Leamington, editors at the Mennonite Treasury are considering adding chicken tikka masala, onion pakora, and Brenda Panktratz’s killer saag paneer recipe to their next edition of the cookbook under the category: “Food We Can’t Make Heads Nor Tails of But Seems to Taste Pretty Good Anyway.”
(photo credit: stu_spivack/CC)