Onam Sadhya

One of my favorite festivals in the recent past. Food replenishes not just your body but takes a deep root in your soul, elates the mood, excites the mind, and brings renewed life to the being. A bad meal does the exact opposite. My opinion, that is why importance is given to food during days of celebration, as you make the best of memories, eating and drinking the things you like, among people you love. Feeling fortunate to not eat to live, or live to eat. But sensibly enjoying it when necessary.

Never, ever, deny a sadhya once in a while. Feel it. Love it. Embrace it.

Celebrate the harvest and the return of a beloved mythical king with this 26-dish Malayali feast.

Source: Onam Sadhya

Fasting – A revelation

For the past few days, I’ve indulged myself in my work, more unusually, more intensely than my recent memories serve. The price I paid was with sleep and food. But a sudden realization came through today. Having oneself deprived of food, brings about a self so acute, senses on the edge, to quickly see what needs to be done. More quickly than a sated mind ever perceives. Yes, the blood sugar drops, no doubt, but the body survives on more than just your daily glucose. I learnt that while running, I learn that while pushing the self. Perhaps it is the mind’s way of coping up and optimizing to do tasks more efficiently.

I pondered once on the idea of fasting. I was intrigued then. There are those who wish they didn’t have to fast, all over the world, while in parallel, others do because they are compelled. I see why now. Even the sages did it. Even imbibed it as part of a belief system, in lands across. In depriving oneself of the pleasure, of food, the sustenance, there is a certain sense of introspection that arrives unforeseen. It doesn’t necessitate deep meditation nor self denial by other means but it comes from the primal need. Any abstinence, has its purest cofactor that is undeniable. Tangible and so thick that it can’t be ignored.

I understand now because I was famished. I could have eaten anything in sight. Organic, inorganic, living or dead. I could’ve eaten metal. I tried to eat paper. But I managed to bring sense into myself to get a decent order to take home and relish after a hard day but the journey home, on an empty stomach was not easy. It was only just over twelve hours since my last meal but the food in my car emanated a perfume I couldn’t resist, one which I had to endure for another hour’s drive. It wasn’t easy. I couldn’t imagine something more rigorous on the mind and visions filtered through …

I once quoted:

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.

I thought I understood. But again, it’s all relative. We constantly push the realms and unexpected as this was, took my reality for a spin to bring me back to senses. Fasting, a delirious feeling inevitable, teaches much. Restraints, denial, perseverance and strength. Of course, the taste of the food itself is immaterial for it always is as heavenly as it could be…

Passions never die.

It is funny how my recent posts always seem to revolve around either music or food or running or my work. And I think this is because when you are mature and when you feel the life’s pinch, it is only those qualities that sustain you on your everyday journey that excite you enough to go on.

And this is one of those days. Its been a very long week. I am tired with work (I just keep taxing myself with things to do; its not a bad thing in the long run though !) and ache for a vacation. I half-heartedly partied all weekend to only become really tired afterwards. But here I stand, above my expectations, nourished by a wonderful curry chicken with the most adorable flavors of red peppers, mustard, asfoetida, cilantro, carrots, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chicken. She is unique. I’ve never, ever tasted such magnificence in a restaurant and I doubt that even I could reproduce this. Driven by smell, and beauty, I derive and drive these creations. And never has she deceived me.

This post is a dedication to her. My taste buds, my food sense, bow to what my brain can conjure to enslaven the five senses. And before that, I stand, humble, obliged and small.

A dinner, worthy of the wait.

I usually hate when people write about the food they just ate, or the wine they just tasted, especially when micro-blogging, but some times, it is absolutely necessary, as a memoir, to capture that instant of ecstatic happiness in a hectic life cycle.

I’ve been told before that I do cook really well, dishes that I can pass off as authentically Indian, a taste even my grandma might find agreeable, but today was one of those days, where all the elements came together, when hunger met aspiration, forging the hands to create something so delicious that it was almost divine. The end result was probably far from Indian but my taste buds are merry after days of devouring tasteless fast food.

The recipe itself, simple. Rice, a curry dish with potatoes, green beans, carrots and a broiled salmon with ginger/garlic anc black pepper to accentuate the flavor. Ahhh. And of course, couple glasses of wine and some strawberries to take it to that edge. Subtle but taste transcending mortal words. Or maybe it was just a simple man’s food that I happened to have at the right night, in the perfect setting. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait …

Living the food stamp challenge

An interesting case-study on whether a couple can live, happily (?) and satisfied with only 72$ a week allotted for food. It would not have caught my attention since living in Texas, as a single guy, I can easily manage with 150$/month if I wanted to but since this involves 2 adults, who have been living unrestricted most of their lives, in LA, this provides a decent foundation to understanding what the people depending on food stamps are in for, every day.

Of course, you do have to be a staunch meat-eater to understand some of the plight that this couple went through but mostly, I think this is entirely possible if you cut down de trop spending. Especially during tough economic times like these.

Link: Can two people eat on $67 a week?.

Update: I must have missed this before but apparently, in 2007, several members of Congress budgeted just $21 a person, the national average a food stamp recipient receives weekly. Damn. Now that’s tight.

Don’t swear in Texas

Every now and then, you hear how conservative Texas is. But you do not realize the stark reality until something like this comes up.

Read the article about a guy who got cited for Disorderly Conduct, a misdemeanor, for swearing in a Texas restaurant.

Reminder to self: The next time you are in a restaurant, watch what you say !

Yummy. Try this Zimmern.

Over the past few months, I’ve become a huge fan of the ‘No Reservations’ show by Bourdain on Travel channel and to an extent, Andrew Zimmern’s ‘Bizarre Foods’. So of course, I’ve also started scourging the net for some really weird dishes to cook and absurd delicacies of different cultures.

But every now and then, I do find something that makes me say WTF ?! And here’s a good one: Tasty treat: Sea otter boogers.

Mmmm… Purple.