Monday, October 02, 2006

Playing Tag - The Butterfly Effect Meme

I’m tagged, for the very first time. Thank You, Paz!
This meme asks us to name food items or events that changed our foodie lives. Specifically, we’re asked to recall an item, person, event or place that affected us profoundly, and marked defining moments in our lives. Not necessarily “big and splashy” but can be something small and simple, something that changed the way you view the world. I’m not sure if they changed the way I view the world, but they did change the way I cooked, thought of food and made it a joyful experience.
These are the categories:
An Ingredient: Yeast. My interest in cooking began with baking. And like many who take on a new hobby, I was all into it, wanting to make my own bread, my own pizza bases, and what not! But my yeast would never “start foaming”. I didn’t realize that I had to use warm water, not hot water, which was killing it off. When I finally used warm water, by accident, it worked, and for me, it was a big day – the joy that I’d got something right, that I finally owned the knowledge to make something work. A moment of pure happiness.
A Dish: This is more recent. It’s not so much a dish as a method. I’ve always liked stir fries but this recipe for vegetables I saw in a Bengali cookbook somehow makes it very simple and quick, and is a great way to use up the stray vegetables in your refrigerator. I also like the spice mix that goes into it: a teaspoon each of mustard seed, aniseed, fenugreek, ginger, nigella and cumin sauteed in oil, pieces of five different veggies (potato, eggplant, peas, okra, most veggies, really) then stir-fried on a high flame , then simmered in their own juices, covered – the result is an inviting mix of veggies, neither squishy nor hard.
A Meal: Each new meal is a discovery and affects our lives in its own way. However, I will name a traditional favourite that brings back fond memories of grandmothers and airy kitchens and a day buzzing with activity: Rice with ghee and mango pickle of the first day. Fresh pickle is always pungent and even a tad bitter with its freshly-ground fenugreek and mustard seed powders. At home, pickle was made by the barrel and emptied into jaadis (earthen jars) to cure before it was ready to be shipped out to the rest of the family. The residue in these barrels would then be mixed with hot, soft, rice. Some butter would be added to it and that would be the treat of the day! Watching the white butter melt rapidly in the red, hot rice was magical!
A Cookbook or other written work: I have to say that my love for food and cuisine was intensified by the Dining and Wine columns of The New York Times. I wish I could write like that.
A Food Personality: Sanjeev Kapoor, I guess, but I haven’t watched his show, or anyone else’s, in years.
Another person in your life: My family and friends – Some didn’t really approve of my hobby, but would always indulge me, try a bit of what I made and invariably say it was good; the others always encouraged me, one to the point of calling me a food artist!
Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz tells me started this meme and that we should let him know and link to the original post, so here it is!
I would like to tag Asha of Foodie's Hope for this meme.


  1. Love the yeast story! How many of us have done that our first times trying to make bread and not figuring it out! Great post.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. OOPS!! I thought it didn't go!!
    Nice to read your first MeMe!!
    Good writing!!
    Thanks for tagging me, sra!! I will honor it ASAP and let you know!! Hope I will do as good as you!:)))

  4. Oh, wow! Awesome responses! Thanks, Sra for participating. I truly enjoyed reading your comments. Now, I want to taste the rice, ghee and mango pickle. ;-)


  5. sra!! I have tagged you for '5 things to eat before you die'!! Do it ONLY if and when you like to!! No obligation!!
    Hope you will do it, now that I know you write well too, not just a good cook!:))Thanks in advance!!

    Btw, my TBE MeMe post will be up on wed or Thurs.!!

  6. Nice meme Sra, Even i like mango pickle on first day. Every year my grandmother prepares this and we used to fight to be the first to eat.
    Also i like your post about ghee. Nothing beats freshly prepared ghee. Ah..the smell itself makes me hungry. Thankyou.