Monday, October 26, 2009
Every character in the book tells her own story in her own voice in alternating chapters, while e-mails and letters give it a great continuity as the narrative moves effortlessly from one person to the other and between past and present. Also, the mother-daughter relationships and the women's friendships are dealt with very sensitively.
However, though the novel started off well, somewhere down the line, it disintegrated into finding a suitable groom for Kiran and her subsequent marriage and therefore, was a bit of a let down. Moreover, I got the feeling that the author tried to fit in too many stories into one novel and then had to hastily finish it off; the story lines of Saroj - Preity and Uma-Rani seemed quite abrupt and therefore, incomplete. Also, there were parts that read more like speeches - the one where Saroj's guest waxes eloquent about how to solve the Indo-Pak problem was downright amateurish.
Nevertheless, The Hindi Bindi Club was an engaging and heart-warming read.
There are some very interesting recipes at the end of every chapter and since I've never made samosas before, I tried out Saroj's Famous Samosas.
Spoon about 1.5 tbsps of the stuffing into the centre of each half moon, then fold the left and right corners to form a cone.
Fold the top end to form an inverted pyramid and seal all the edges carefully, using some water if necessary.
Here is what the other members of the book club made:
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Today is World Food Day. Observed in around 150 countries, its aim is to raise awareness about poverty and hunger.
Lets look at some statistics, shall we?
The population of the world today stands at over 6 billion. Of which, about 1 billion don't get a square meal every day. That translates to a whopping 1/6th of the world population!
Articles abound about poverty, hunger and malnutrition. But none can depict the horror of hunger quite like this picture.
Taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine, this Pulitzer prize winning picture by Kevin Carter shook the world. A vulture waiting for a child to die so that it can eat it.
There are numerous schemes and many agencies that have programmes to feed the hungry. Programmes that rely on donations, sponsorships and volunteers. And these obviously go a long way in alleviating the suffering of people.
But the bitter truth about hunger is that many people go hungry because of escalting food prices and an appalling amount of food that goes wasted - wasted by the farmers, by supermarkets, in the food distribution chain and yes, in our kitchens.
Not surprisingly, every small morsel of food that we waste in our kitchens has a huge collective impact.
"I follow these items with a moldy loaf of bread, expired eggs and five bags of shredded cheese that practically walked itself to the trash can. This carried on for another hour. Needless to say, when I was done, more food was in my garbage than in my fridge."
Ever happened to you? Much as I hate to admit it, something similar - though not on a similar scale - has happened to me. Those were the days when I was just getting enamoured by cooking and would buy a lot of things from the supermarket, hoping to cook it up soon. But it was never soon enough! And one day, when I had to clear out the fridge before going on a holiday, I woke up to the error of my ways. In this article, Chef Dayo Jones shares some very simple tips and tricks on avoiding food wastage in our kitchens.
But we all know this, don't we? I am sure you all have different ways in which you have successfully cut wastage in your kitchens.
My way? Have a smaller refrigerator. Now that really limits the amount of food that can be hoarded! Jokes apart, the one way that has really worked for me is to clear my fridge every week. Yes, every week. That has really worked wonders as I no longer have stuff that is lurking in some corner gathering mold. The other thing I do is shop for fruits and veggies and other perishables as and how I need them - even if that means making trips to the supermarket a couple of times a week. Sometimes, I even buy it from a smaller grocery store closer to my house that sells stuff at a slightly higher cost. In the end, it all evens out - buying too much at a cheaper price only to throw it off, or spending a bit more to buy what I need.
And no, I don't mean to imply that I run a super efficient kitchen where no wastages happen. But I am far more conscious today than I ever was on how not to waste food.
So what are the ways in which you have countered food wastage? Do share them with me, I am sure there is a lot more to learn on how to use food more effectively.
But the last word in avoiding food wastage? Well, that truly rests with the tight fist!
All this collection of articles making its way to Sra's The Write Taste.
I do realise that this is quite a long list of articles, take your time and read these when you can.
For these are truly eye opening.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The above 3 are the ones I made for my daughter's birthdays while the ones that follow were baked for some friends' daughters.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.
But, of course, you don't not need to look up a dictionary for that - after all, we know that food is something that nurtures life. We approach food with that thought - sustaining life and enriching it. As we cook, our thoughts are nutrition, taste, aroma, variety and the like. The clanging of pots and pans, the medley of various ingredients, the steps of a recipe - all coming together to create well - balanced, tasty meals.
Consider, however, a situation where food doesn't nurture life. Consider a situation where it claims lives instead. Or becomes the reason for life to be snuffed out.
Everything was automatic now-down the steps to the cellar, the light switch, the deep freeze, the hand inside the cabinet taking hold of the first object it met. She lifted it out, and looked at it. It was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at it again.
A leg of lamb.
All right then, they would have lamb for supper. She carried it upstairs, holding the thin bone-end of it with both her hands, and as she went through the living-room, she saw him standing over by the window with his back to her, and she stopped.
“For God’s sake,” he said, hearing her, but not turning round. “Don’t make supper for me. I’m going out.”
At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head.She might just as well have hit him with a steel club.She stepped back a pace, waiting, and the funny thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds, gently swaying. Then he crashed to the carpet.
The violence of the crash, the noise, the small table overturning, helped bring her out of he shock. She came out slowly, feeling cold and surprised, and she stood for a while blinking at the body, still holding the ridiculous piece of meat tight with both hands.
All right, she told herself. So I’ve killed him.
- Roald Dahl, Lamb to the Slaughter
'They were on the point, therefore, of drawing lots on the raft when the doctor's voice was heard:"Mesdames and Messieurs," said the doctor,"You have lost all your belongsings in the wreck of the ship, but I have saved my case of instruments and my forceps for arresting haemorrhage. This is my suggestion:There is no object in any one of us running the risk of being eaten as a whole. Let us, to begin with, draw lots of an arm or leg at will, and we will then see tomorrow what the day brings forth,and perhaps a sail may appear on the horizon." '
- Gaston Leroux, A Terrible Tale
As you would've guessed, the above are extracts from - and thank god for that - some brilliant short stories compiled in an unlikely collection of short stories titled Murder on Menu. Edited by Peter Haining, this anthology has stories mixing food and well, death - some decidedly gruesome, some nauseating, others devilishly amusing. In either case, this 'gourmet guide to death' shows food laid out on a completely different table.
A word of advice though....don't read it before or immediately after meals!
Sending this to Sra's event, The Write Taste.
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!