It makes my heart sing. We stayed the last few days at the Lake Palace in Udaipur. We had to reach the hotel by boat. On one journey, I got into the boat with 10 muslim women from Kuwait. They were traveling in a group of 27. No men. They were laughing, singing and looked so free.
Chef Amar focused on his flaming spinach dish, while master chef Choti Lal executes.
Chef Amar, former chef of the king of Udaipur, has been at the Lake Palace for 15 years. Chef Choti Lal for 23.
I love these chefs and their wood fired kitchen. They only have two gas flames, two tandoori ovens and several small hand painted terra cotta clay ovens for the Neel Kamal, the Taj Lake Palace’s fine dining room.
Eating with ones hands is a sensual, connected, primitive delight.
The mix of flavors and one-on-one contact of fingers and food to the mouth is nothing short of nurturing yourself on a deep level. Skin to skin contact happens with the first suckle. From there we naturally learn to eat and to be fed.
In many cultures, the mothers then feed their children solid food by hand, not by spoon. The nurturing quality of being fed by the mother creates a bond and a trust that grows as natural confidence until the child can feed himself independently.
To eat with ones hand’s as adults is awkward until you get the hang of it. When you do, it’s sublime.
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Walking the small lanes of Varanasi, we passed old tea shops, paneer venders, bead sellers and so forth and stumbled upon a lassi shop popular with travelers. Our favorite was pomegranate and pistachio.
A lassi wallah sits in the window with his legs crossed and blends fruits into different flavored lassis by hand in a big silver bowl with a wooden pestle. Afterwards, he sprinkles the poms, having peeled them on the spot.
My favorite part? They are served in terra cotta.. then crushed afterwards.
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What brings you alive?
What brings me alive is the active participation of being
in a culture different from my own,
relating with a heightened sense of awareness and an open heart looking for a way in.
I feel we have found a way through food to build a bridge for meaningful conversation. In doing so, we are creating a more peaceful world. After 24 years, I have gained significant confidence and trust to move between cultures. We need an antidote to this somewhat crazy world and what better way than making and breaking bread with the light of our own smiles?
The soil has been turned over and our seedlings of Culinary Adventures have been planted with you in mind. May the sun’s light bring fruition when the time is right for you to join us on one of these significant journeys. [Read more…]
It’s Sunday morning and I’m hungry. I remember that I have some super fresh eggs from Cure Organic Farm, from just down the road. I think to myself, shall I scramble them? Over easy? Poach? Yes! I say to myself with that smile that knows just exactly what to do. Not only will I scramble them, I’ll dress them up ~ Indian style!
What does that mean exactly? It means tempering your oil with spices before you pour your beaten eggs into the pan. I use a variation of fat, depending on what I what. I use a nob of butter with a drizzle of olive oil at times, other times I use ghee, but my favorite is coconut oil which gives it a south Indian flare. [Read more…]
In cool white linen, we caught a ride over to Philipkutty’s farm with a kind man headed that way in his boat. Umbrellas were a civilized way to shield from the sun. We were on our way to visit with Anu and her mother-in-law Aniamma, to learn some of her mouth-watering dishes. We learned about so much more than curry… We learned about their family, life and spice-island agriculture. I held a bright red-cased nutmeg in my hand and realized that it was fresh mace, which turns to orange when dry. [Read more…]
Sitting under a coconut palm in Goa, India, watching butterflies flutter to the sound of crashing waves, I am still enough to let my mind wander. Pure amazement radiates from within. “How have I come to this moment?,” I ask myself.
I have always loved to travel… not an easy feat for a girl from a small town in the deep American south. World travel has the power to make one curious about karma and destiny, and the signs along the way that inform us of who we are and where we will go in our lives.
There are many people crossing our paths, arguably daily, that will never pay attention to these signs. They end up going with the status quo, creating a fate rather than finding their inherent destiny. ‘Fate’ is what happens when you don’t choose. Life chooses for you.
But Destiny is another thing altogether. It’s important to court destiny like a lover. You have to constantly work at it. Follow faint voices or intuitions that give you hints. Say ‘No’ to what does not make you sing. Try to notice with great attention to what does—and stick to it; having the will and courage to dream.
The world is full of magic patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. ~ W.B.Yeats
India gets under the skin. The desert vistas of Rajasthan with its impressive palaces and forts tell a tale of ancient history and culture. The cities of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur glitter with palaces, sparkling jewelry shops, buzzing tuk tuks, fabrics and textiles, and bustling life on the streets. Our journey puts us directly in the hands of knowledgeable experts and nobles that offer us hospitality on their fabulous properties, whether in old-world opulence or countryside tented-chic. [Read more…]
The village potter in Khera Deo Garh, near Chhatra Sagar, shares his craft with us as we creates vessels for water and everyday use. His wife will later decorate each pot and deliver them to each household in the village.