Archive | January, 2010

Carrot (Gajar) Halwa

27 Jan

Even though my mom loved her job in the States, one of the things I like best about her not working anymore is that whenever I come home, there’s sure to be some wonderful smell wafting through the house- and into the garage, so I can smell it (and know exactly what it is, for which I credit my commendable food-smelling skills) even before I go in! Coming home to some just-made food always excites me.

She usually makes Indian food, and though when I was younger (meaning just two years ago) I’d get “tired” of eating it, I’ve really grown to love and appreciate it. I take every opportunity to help in the kitchen, constantly amazed by my mom’s apparently innate mastery of countless spices and ability to make great food without even glancing at a recipe, as well as herĀ free, dash-of-this and a handful-of-that style of cooking, starkly contrasting my careful adherence to recipes and meticulous measuring-out of ingredients.

My favorite kind of Indian food to come home to is, of course, sweets. Many people find Indian sweets overly sugary, and most of them really are super-sweet (not a problem for someone with my sweet-tooth, though)! But when my mom makes them at home, she can get the sugar just right. I love the suji kheer she makes with just a few simple ingredients: milk, semolina, sugar, and a little butter, along with some ground cardamom and sliced almonds for flavor. She follows no recipe, and yet it comes out perfect every time (the recipe will probably come soon)!

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Gingersnaps- Christmas in a cookie

27 Jan

Often times in school we’re forced to take all sorts of surveys- about bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, learning habits, course preferences, and whatever else the American school system would like to throw at us. Now, I have no idea where the results of these surveys go (we’re never told exactly what the surveys are for, only that we have to take them very seriously, you hear?), but they’re often rather thought-provoking, like those personality quizzes that all of us have been guilty of taking “for fun,” or out of sheer boredom, perhaps at one of our less glorious moments. As if we need a computerized quiz to tell us who we are.

One question I always remember is the ubiquitous “what do you do for fun,” also found in the similar form “what do you do when you’re stressed?”

I’d write a different answer every time I came across one of those questions. As a young child enthralled by the wonder of books, I’d write “reading” (sadly, now I have little time for pleasure reading, let alone school-required reading). I went through a phase where I’d do a few loops of the neighborhood on my bike, as though I was “letting off steam” like the adults I’d hear about who go to gyms (magical adult jungle-gyms, to a child of eight), then later on convinced myself that I absolutely loved swimming and that it was my escape from stress (the rhythmic stroke-stroke-stroke-breathe is rather soothing at times). If I was feeling fanciful, I’d say I played the piano to relax, but I’m really not nearly that refined and dedicated. And when I went along with the expected teenager’s attitude, I’d write “watching TV”, because really, who doesn’t find vegetating while replacing all worries with plot lines, drama, or witty banter wonderfully therapeutic?

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