The Doctor Is In

We had a touch of snow in Chicago about two weeks ago.  A light dusting of 20 inches or so, officially.  In some places, the snow drifts were a wee bit deeper, around three or four feet.   Even the most resolute of Chicagoans preferred staying home while the storm raged outside.  For a day or…

Inner Circle

The more sophisticated the dish, the more it hogs the spotlight.   It’s unavoidable.  Guests coo and admire: “You must have spent so much time making this!”  We bask in their admiration, glowing because the dish was in fact an effort: many steps, much time, and perhaps some anxiety.  A commitment.  But if the dish succeeds,…

The Perfect Couple

I occasionally disobey one of the cardinal rules of entertaining and try my hand at a dish that I’ve never quite made before.  It’s heresy, I know, and I’m either setting myself or my guests up for an experience we will never forget.  And not necessarily in a good way, either.  I admit there have…

All Mixed Up

The autumn puja season is officially over, the weather is now cold, and the leaves lie in crushed, swirling patterns on our lawns and streets.  As a follow up to my begun bhaja (fried eggplant) and mamlet (omelet) posts, I would like to blog about khichuri.  Loosely translated, it means “all mixed up” in Bengali  (Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuri). …

It’s a Love/Hate Thing

We say that we have relationships with food and with cooking.  A friend would say she has a complicated relationship with dairy; she loves ice cream and cheese, but almost never eats it, and yet she  is always tempted.   The brie lies there quietly, in the depths of her subconscious, and taunts her a little…

Accompaniment

The Bengali meal, when allowed to  showboat in all its unabated complexity, is a grandiose, multi-course affair.  For very special occasions, one might be served 12 to 15 courses.  But for the less spectacular, everyday meal, one would be served at least four courses, with rice holding court as the queen, without which the other…

Confessions

I have a confession to make.  I do not bake.  I am not good at it . . . yet.  My sister, on the other hand, is an excellent baker.  Some might say it’s her degree in chemistry.  Others might say that it is a matter of temperament: an unflappable patience with the oven, the…