I discovered geo-politics in my son's middle school cafeteria, all because of a school email. "International Potluck!" read the announcement. "Bring the food of your heritage!"
I scanned the list of countries represented. I saw my native India, but not Pakistan, though they were one country for centuries, partitioned only 63 years ago. Their cuisines remain mostly the same, usually described as "Indian-Pakistani."
I have always -- rightly or wrongly -- considered Indians and Pakistanis to be one pluralistic people, sharing culture, language, music and food. American media treats the countries completely differently: India is the global rising star; Pakistan is the land of extremists. Acquaintances ask me if marrying a Pakistani didn't require hurdling Romeo-and-Juliet-like obstacles.
"Well, we're both American," I say.
So I asked the school if I could host a Pakistani food table, so students would see there's more to Pakistan than militants. My husband pointed out that I wasn't Pakistani.