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Suvir Saran

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  1. And Ghati is the word for the original occupants of Bombay. And again, not a flattering word today. Have a good time in France. Look forward to sharing your mother and tarmars creations.
  2. Simon, You seem you proud and enthusiastic. As you should be. Bengali cooking is brilliant and not represented in places other than the homes. What is a ghoti? Sorry for not knowing it. Would love to see your motheres recipes. Would be inspiring for all of us. Will give us a way of creating those home made treasures. Thanks for the offering.
  3. What you do is you meet me before you leave. We get aquainted and then I make calls and e-mail friends to meet you when you are there. Delhi like any other city around the world, is a totally different ball game when you are being shown around by those in the know. Yes, Delhi for the most part is safe. If you stay at a hotel of at least some repute, I am sure the door men will ensure you get into regular cabs. I have had many friends travel alone to India. Never heard of any troubles. I am sure there is a fair amount of that happening. It may just have not come to my knowledge. There are great restaurants, great museums and wonderful historical sites. Markets, shops, emporiums selling handicrafts from the many different states of India. In fact through those stores you get a great look at all of India just by walking from store to store on one long avenue. But, closer to when you are ready to make your trip, do let me know... and it is best that you get to Delhi, knowing someone. It will change the flavor of your trip. All of a sudden, you are in the know, in the loop, and seeing things like an insider does.
  4. Tandoori whole fish are a reliable and common fare at Indian restaurants in the US for sure. Simple, deeply flavored and not overcooked, they are a safe bet when craving fish in an Indian restaurant. Curries as I said before, can be very tricky, fish recipes cannot be re-heated, over cooked or over simmered. Very few Indian restaurants make good fish curries. While in homes across Bengal and in Southern India, these are staple recipes.
  5. Simon is not embellishing the least bit when he speaks of the Bengali mastering of seafood. It was Bengal that I referred to when I said fish is the vegetable of the sea comment. They have many different ways of treating fish. And in Bengali cooking, fish is enjoyed for many and all its subtle characteristics. In fact some parts of eastern India use roe and make fritters with it that are succulent and wonderful. And with that last comment, we are back to the home versus restaurant debate. I think Simon is on target about bony fish and I feel most restaurants fear using recipes from that area for the same reason. Sad but true. And staff meals would be a great way for you to get a taste of that authentic fish curry. It takes little to endear another human being, start a conversation, ask the server, busser or runner if they are from India... or Bengal... or Bangladesh, and then lead your way into the Fish curry question. I am sure soon they will volunteer a tasting for you if you come during staff meal. I have done that across NYC at many Indian restaurants and enjoyed meals that are totally authentic and no fuss foods from the sub-continent.
  6. Seafood is common fare to those parts of India where it is in abundance. The south being one case and also the western part of India near Bombay and on the east the area around Calcutta. I think what has happened across the globe as restaurants started, the ownership has mostly been in hands other than from the south or west. The few owners that defied this grouping also followed the lead of the previously established restaurants. The lead was to recreate dishes mostly from the north. In New York we have a restaurant that is relatively new called Coconut Grove. They have a fair representation of seafood and also southern food in general. A friend of mine, a food critic from New York City, was amazed upon their trip to Bombay with the variety and quality of seafood served them. It was amazing to them that they ate some of the best specimens of any category in Bombay. For freshness, size and abundance that is. For some Hindus from these three regions, it is acceptable to eat fish. They call it jol torai in Bengali, literally meaning fruit of the sea, and thus even the Brahman that follow a strict vegetarian diet, can consume seafood. At Pondicherry restaurant in NYC that closed a few years ago, they served amazing mussels in a Southern Indian broth. Most guests that had that dish would keep coming back for more. So, if you travel through those parts of India where you have good quality fish, available fresh and locally, you will find many clever recipes and restaurants serving that fare. In the north we have seasonal local fish. And there are several recipes that have been made through the generations using them. Many restaurants from the North will always have Amritsari Fish on their menus. It is simply a batter-fried fish. Then there is the issue that Indian food for the most part relies on slow and long cooking for many of the dishes. This is changed in the case of fish. Many chefs stay away from fish for logistical and practical reasons. The addition of several fish dishes creates a separate protocol within the kitchen. In NYC, many restaurants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh serve but not always of great quality. They often are overcooked. As far as I can tell, Banana Leaf may be your best bet. And their success could determine the opening of other Southern Indian fish friendly restaurants. The cuisine of the South has an extensive seafood repertoire that is waiting to be exploited.
  7. Jason- Here is the recipe for you. Remember it is all approximation. I have not yet reached my poultry section for the cook book, so the recipes are not tested. Hariyaali Kabab 2 pounds chicken wings, washed and excess fat removed For Marinade: 2 tablespoons canola oil 3 tablespoons garlic paste 3 tablespoons ginger paste 1 tablespoon toasted chickpea flour 1 teaspoon garam masala powder 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder 1/2 teaspoon mace powder 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup sour cream salt to taste 2-4 tablespoons store bought mint chutney 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced 1 inch fresh ginger root, very finely minced 1. Mix all the above ingredients nicely. 2. Add the wings to this mix and marinade for 2 hours. 3. Grill in the Tandoor or your outdoor grill. Using the canola oil to baste the chicken if you are using a grill. You can also bake in the oven at 375?F for 10-15 minutes. Also, restaurants often have t he chicken marinading for hours and at other times for not even 20 minutes. 2-3 hours of marination is usually good enough. You can make your own mint - cilantro chutney and ginger - garlic pastes, but it is fine to buy them from an Indian store. Hope you enjoy making the recipe.
  8. Thanks jhlurie for your post. Yes, it would be nice to be able to read reviews of restaurants in NJ as well. What a shame the Times would not bother adding these to the web site.
  9. Hariyaali Kababs as far as I know, are made from a mint and cilantro marinade. It is traditionally grilled in the tandoor. My guess is it is from the north. I will call some tandoori chef friends and ask if they think otherwise. The word Hariyaali in hindi means green. I make them at home for parties in our home tandoor with mint and cilantro and chicken breasts. I have also made them with chicken wings. But personally find the flavor get heightened with chicken breasts. Will see if I can search for a recipe in my data base. Or will write one for you. I end up making marinades just by sight and mood. A lot of Indian cooking is very of the moment and most of our recipes are dictated by who makes them and when. Curious to know when the review came in NY TImes. As far as I know, Eric Asimov and William Grimes review restaurants. Who is this other writer? Maybe you are thinking of another paper? I remember many months ago, you and I had chatted about this restaurant. I am glad it is still good.
  10. You certainly think more deeply than most others. And you are very correct in most of your assumptions. The link works fine for me. Try it again. YOu will like it. Exhaustive and well written.
  11. I hear the words curry.. curry powder... curry paste and curries all the time. Many times their usage does not bode well with my Indian upbringing. And at other times, I am amazed at how aptly these words are used. What does Curry mean to you? What do you think are its roots? Is the word from the English language or from one of the many Indian languages? This link below goes into much more detail and would be fascinating for many. Please read and share your thoughts. The Origins Of Curry Link And now about what curries mean to Canada. The link below seems to be quite articulate with just a few Curry-facts seeming fuzzy. Canadian Story on Curries Link
  12. How does the fact that Indian cooking in homes is largely vegetarian affect the restaurants serving Indian food? What effect does it have on the sales in a restaurant? Do people go to them primarily to eat meats and sate their cravings thereof? Any thoughts?
  13. I personally would not read so deeply into Vivins comment. He may have been led to believe more than it really is. They have tried pulling the same one with me. If I were as innocent as when I first started getting involved in this business, I may have believed their shpeel. But now, I take it with a grain of salt. Partnerships come with many forms. Some in name.. some in spirit and some just for show. And some a little of each of those. Steve, you cannot be more accurate in observing that Indian restaurants will not be truly Haute until they get their entire act more democratic and consistent. There are visible and demoralising standards of employment related issues that these restaurants must address. But that is also the case for most ethnic restaurants. With many illegal immigrants working in the trade, they are willing to be abused in some ways, and that gives these owners and managers a sense of belief that their unacceptable ways are acceptable. Also your comment about a full day shift.. not just one meal service is accurate and common through many restaurants that serve Indian food. The ones with 2 stars and celebrity chefs associated with them as also t he no-star holes in the walls. The poor treatment of staff is endemic to all.
  14. Vivin, Have a wonderful trip. We do think alike. I actually found their consistency in meals very encouraging. And the breads were great. The best Naan I have eaten in 10 years. What more can I say.
  15. Here are the two locations on the east side where one can eat foods that are recreations of the recipes that would be found in Bukhara, New Delhi. I recently ate at the 58th street location, and had the best Naan I have ever eaten in North America. 217 E 49th St New York, NY 10017 (Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) and 230 E. 58th Street Between 2nd and 3rd Ave. New York, NY 10022 Has anyone gone to these restaurants? What did you think? The management and some of the chefs had worked for years in Bukhara, New Delhi. It is the restaurant that has defined the Indian food movement for the most part across many countries. While Bukhara serves mostly foods from Northern India and that too from the North West Frontier, it has gained immense popularity amongst Indians from many different regions. Today, we have a much higher understanding of the very different Southern Indian style of cooking. Bukhara for the most part, has not ventured into including it as they should. Would love to see what you all think about this restaurant. How the concept and food work with your sensibilities of Indian cooking. If it excites your palates as it does many Indian ones.
  16. Dumpukht is to Indian cooking what haute cuisine can be. It is a great restaurant. And Indian food cannot get better than that. I say this knowing that it is a blanket statement, but believe me, not many restaurants have reached t hat hight point with food. To Indian food, it is a temple of food. Bukhara is great, it is more rustic. The same team that started Bukhara started Dumpukht. Maybe it is time for you to prepare some dishes from the book you bought. And share with us what y ou think of your own preparations of the food from the city that gave the world amongst other things, the very high point of Mughal Culture. To which we owe Indian food as we know it today for the most part.
  17. I had neighbors in South Extension that owned the Moti Mahal in South Ex in DElhi. Did you know them? ALso a friend of mine is also involved with Moti Mahal.. I think. Rahul Virmani. Moti Mahal in South EX was the restaurant which I was talking about when I said the driver would come back with freshly made bread from there for parties. In fact, in my cooking classes I have shared the simple pearl onion soaked in vinegar recipe from your fathers restaurant. I loved them. And crave them more than anything from India. Such pleasure from something so simple. Have a fun trip in Paris. And look forward to hearing about your culinary conquests when you return. I knew it was Moti Mahal... Since they were one of the first in Delhi. Your father has a fan in me. I have much respect for them. Consistent and authentic for decades.
  18. very good nose you have Steven... I agree... it is the cumin flavor that remains.. the other spices for some reason die quickly.
  19. Vivin, I have a Tandoor in our apartment in NYC. It sits out in our deck on our 2nd floor baby terrace year round. Is used when I have large parties. Breads and meats are grilled in it. Also seasonal grilled mixed veggies and fruits for salads. Sometimes, when inspired, I will leave a large bowlful of lentils to cook overnight as grandma would have done. To use the spent flames and make the tastiest Maa Kee Daal (Whole Black Lentils). One that gives most restaurant chefs goose bumps. Since it is what Maa Kee Daal was meant to be.. and too many restaurants have forgotten. The slow cooking over the spent flames cooks the lentil perfectly over a very gentle flame and in doing so, preserved the shape of the lentils perfectly, keeps them from getting too mushy and releasing too much starch. My fathers family had a chef (who came from a lineage of chefs) that worked the tandoor, my maternal grandmother had her own recipes that came from her mother and aunts and extended family that she taught to whoever was the help of the decade. But I still remember vividly, that she had a small Tandoor that was used on the stove top. Over the gas flame. It was shaped like a mini tandoor and the breads and meats were cooked the same way minus the coal. Which does change the flavor dramatically. But I am talking about a very small minority within India. I make the point only to share how Tandoors were the gas stove equivalent of the Indian past. While ovens and gas ranges were more common here, tandoors were common fare in India till at least the 60s. Calcutta had gas burners before any city in India. Bombay followed soon after and then Delhi I am told. In Calcutta of the 50s, gas came to homes in pipes as it does in American homes. In Delhi of 2002, that still does not happen. Or at least to my knowledge. People rely on cylinders with liquid gas in them. And I cannot agree more about home chefs in India wanting to duplicate restaurant fare and the vice versa. But that is true for any culture. As I travel extensively through the American south, I have met home chefs that are trying to adapt their foods to the very mediocre standards set by chain restaurants in their area. Their children want foods like those served by establishments they feel have more charm than good ole mamas style.
  20. Vivin, You articulate the grandmother nostalgia for better ingredients in Pakistan very well. Mine does the same. She lives in San Francisco and serves fusion haute cusine in my granparents home in the marina. Making brownies with spice powders, corn bread with cilantro, and mint chutney and cayenne pepper or marmalade with ginger made with fresh citrus fruits from their yard. And yet, even after having lived here 2 decades, she still craves the better ingredients from India and then those typical cravings for the much better quality that all things had when the lived in colonial British occupied India in the part of India which is now Pakistan. You brought back similar memories of my own grandmother with your post. How very true.
  21. Vivin, Thanks for your wonferfully rich post. What restaurants does your family run? or is that not kosher of me to ask? I too would love to visit his restaurants. Will be in India in March. It seems like I should know about you and him. The Indian community can be so close. I feel robbed that I have had a person with your interest and background in Indian food and have never known it to be so close. Vivin, fusion in India takes a character truly its own. It is very different as you observe correctly. And no where close to what Tabla is. But is it any poorer? That remains to be seen. At India Jones/Opium Den in the Bombay Oberoi, one is given 120 dishes from six chefs cooking foods of 7 asian cuisines. They have a Teppan Bar. It is catered to feed the yearning of the gourmet traveler. And where do many Indians love going to when they have a short trip open? South East Asia I am told. While it does not cater adequately to the vegetarian guests, they have something for the amusement of any palate. I am sure the owners hope for us to believe the food is very authentic. But the fusion of Indian taste buds and Indian sensibilty could not be removed. The Gordon House Hotel in Colaba again in Bombay, you have three restaurants under one roof. Serving three distinct cuisines. The first one is All Stir Fry, where you capture in a small intimate room for 60 diners, street foods from around the Orient. You cannot call it authentic, it is again a play of fusion. You can get a great bowl called a poor persons meal or some such name.. and in that one bowl, lies a fusion of many cultures. It is nothing more than a soup very flavorful one at that topped with grilled chicken and crisp veggies. You also get to choose what soup you want, if you want extra spices or what cruncy veggies. Tides is their seafood restaurant which has sea food dishes from France, Italy, China and India. Call me silly, but the first three countries foods are far from authentic, not for lack of resources in the owners deep pockets, but because in the androgynous flavors of the foods, he has realised t he love of Indians for cultures foreign. So again, in one room, one menu, you see a play of many cuisines. And if that were not complicated enough, the same restaurant also serves as a 24 hour coffee shop, only Indians would understand that concept. Somewhat similar to a 24 hour neighborhood Diner. But in India these were mostly in the earlier part in 5 star hotels. In the coffee shop menu you can find burgers, sanwiches, pizzas, biryaanis and fish and chips. The third concept within the Gordon House Hotel is a Three Flights Up members only dining extravaganza if you may. Membership is free and by invitation only. Very Calvin Kline in all white, with very Indian undertones, you enter to an island bar and a dance floor. Caviar and smoked salmon are served at the bar. Busaba is another restaurant in Colaba. In this restaurants kitchen, women chefs from Burma, Vietnam and Thailand work in creating an array of soft and plump momos, crunchy spring rolls and many fish dishes. One sees fusion taking place in the marriage of techniques between the womens foods. It is inevitable to work together so closely and to not inspire and inspirit one with the others creations. In Opera House area of Bombay you have another trio of restaurants that are serving three menus in three different rooms. Karma the ultra chic hip restaurant of the moment. It has a roll down screen showing fashion TV and is a regular for the hip, acting and modelling circuit. Pastas, Pizzas and Starters make the menu. The Pizzas are the winning part of their menu. Thin crust and crisp. Somewhere between a pizza crust and the crunchy quality of a pappadum. The toppings are authentic. But authentic again with a slight twist. Heat of the Indian palate changes the very earthy undertones of pizzas in America. In Bellisima, the other restaurant in the Opera House complex, my past partner of Pondicherry Fame from NYC, who lives in Mumbai, Chakor Doshi has re-introduced the Chili Dusted Brie as an appetizer. There is a roasted garlic lemon-apricot salsas. Does anyone know where that comes from? Fusion I am told. Apple pie is there winning dessert in this very creative and ever developing menu. Liquid Lounge is the 3rd concept at the Opera House setting. Chakor has filled the room with music from the 60s through the 80s. It has a menu stating liquids and solids. Solids are creations of the kitchen and its chef. One finds in this menu all those kababs and tandoori dishes that Vivin talks about. Served Haute Cuisine Style. A great vegetarian Kabab selection and then curries from the south of India and also a paella. Another new restaurant is Bombay Blue in Bandra, Mumbai. Here you find tandoori fare served alongside middle eastern fare and pizzas, foccacias and pastas. The pastas are made with imported olive oil as the owners do not stop mentioning and also the sauces are made with imported tomatoes from Italy. But it is in the deft Indianising of the palate that has made the restaurant a great success. What can make pasta Indian? Lots of red chili and hints of spices without overwhelming a sauce I am told. When I come back from Delhi, I will certainly have more to write about. Vivin, what fascinates me is how Indians can crave all these foods and yet have very little desire to push for the very authentic in any of these foreign cuisines. It is that mind boggling need to have newer options yet keeping their palates limited that is driving a fusion movement unlike one we know here. Vivin, my own family has roots in modern day Pakistan. My home in Delhi had a tandoor till the mid 1970s. And then it was gone. For some parties at our home, the driver was sent to fetch tandoori breads that were made at home prior to the mid 70s from the corner restaurant where tandoori foods were being sold. That made the meal complete. WHile I cannot agree more with you about home cooking being vegetarian in its base. Restaurants became popular with their selling meats and tandoori specialties once Tandoors became obsolete. We have no Tabla in India. But Tabla will never work in India. It is food that can inspire palates here, but would do very little for people back home. Your father is wise in staying away from that. I remember taking friends to Tabla. For me it marked a great new step in the right direction for Indian food and the Indian food movement. I had warned my guests that the food would be far from Indian. Mostly with some sutble hints of Indian food. In the end of the evening, I was almost assasinated and 2 years later, I am still being harassed for my very bad choice of restaurant for that night. To these friends from India, with homes across 3 continents, Tabla was a restaurant with a great look and food with no feet and no body. Though I have to say, the Kulfi with the citric soup was a winner that evening. These were people t hat love french food but in Tabla they found the spices distracting from the pleasures of eating something clean and simple. And if they looked at the food as Indian, they found it bland. Well all I say about fusion is that with some time, we can have restaurants that serve fusion food, that will have longevity that Vivins father has had with his Indian restaurants in India. Once we see a knockout fusion concept, I am sure they will mushroom around the US and India and other countries. We are yet to reach there. But Tabla is a great begining and what makes them even better is how t hey continue to change and evolve. The best thing a growing institute can do. Vivin, thanks for your great post. Look forward to more from you on an ongoing basis. And my best to your families restaurants. I have a few restaurants that I am thinking of.. that could be your families. It is going to be a difficult evening for me... trying to figure which ones these may be.
  22. Indian Haute Cuisine in India if way beyond where it is at in the US or even London. Indians thrive and live in the world of entertaining and enjoying life. Perhaps years and years of invasions and dominance by outside powers made people live to the fullest every living moment. Thus, the Indian restaurant scene is very vibrant, alive and very fast changing and ever evolving. I speak of the large metropolitan cities. The smaller cities, like those in the US, are always some generations behind. And yes, there are many parallels between Indian and French cooking. Of technique, of historical importance of food and a respect for tradition and in their mutual indulgence in food as more than just a dietary necessity. Indian fusion as we see in America pales in comparison to what is happening in the food scene in India. There is fusion happening across many borders and cuisines. What makes fusion successful only time can tell. The Indian fusion scene in America is way to young to use as a comparitive study just yet against any other cuisine. Raji and Floyd have certainly been the trendsetters, but their own journies are yet to near saturation. There are many miles to go before we can realize the wonders of what they have started. We have so much to hope for. And yes, every culture has parallels about home food. Home cooking is special no matter where one travels. Indian home food has occupied many minds lately more so because of the anthropological and social nuances of it. A young nation that brought into a union very diverse people, the country has a history that would entertain something in everyone. And the food has done the same. But that is also true in America is it not? As one travels from the east to west, north to south, midwest to south east, one sees the many levels of subtle changes that enrich the foods of this great country. And one can study as one travels across the homes of this country how similar the food is and yet how many subtle changes leave a mark of the local flavor.
  23. And going back to Raji, her loss is sad. Tragic and certainly will leave a great mark in the world of Indian cooking and also French cooking. She was one of the more powerful women chefs in the US. She shattered many myths and generalisations that people would have assumed from her being Indian. She loved wine and cigars more than any other chef I have known. She loved food in all its many forms. While most people would romance the fact that they learned to cook and eat first at home from their parents, Raji made no bones about having discovered this passion of hers through travel and her desire to experiment. Maybe it was this unending desire to play with that which intrigued her, that made it possible for her to close her Indian restaurant and start a fusion restaurant way before fusion became trendy. She died young, but she lived a very full life. She cooked with the best in the business, she dined with the best and she died in the comfortable company of those she dearly loved.
  24. And what might curry-type spices be? Well, you are right, fusion in the US has been very different from fusion cuisine globally. I am not sure yet as to which I would chase after to feed my hunger. Fusion in Indian cuisine happened many times over. In the 10th century a cuisine that had been vegetarian for the most part and very Ayurvedic was given a infusion of meats by the new rulers. Such fusion kept taking place until the freedom of India in 1947. A long sustained marriage of differing food sensibilities has left India with a cuisine that is as varied as its secular culture, its languages, its people and its gods and goddesses. Food changes as much as the landscape and the culture of this sub-continent. I was testing a recipe for my cook book the other day and my co-writer saw me adding Ketchup into a curry. She was at a loss for words. This was nothing I invented, but a leftover from the India of fusion cooking of centuries before. Indian scrambled eggs are delicious and addictive. They are telling of the victory of fusion cooking. They are not very different from what we eat here. They have cayeene, onions, cilantro and some toasted cumin added if the cook feels the need to add another layer of complexity. But the addition of onions and cilantro and the heat of the cayenne, add a very savory layer of flavoring to a dish that has that very sensuous and easy texture that most any palate can savor when wanting a break from fussy foods.
  25. Firstly, I am of the opinion that Indian cooking is far superior, more subtle and multi dimensional in homes of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians. And Steven, you guessed right, Indian restaurants have often looked back at home cooking to find recipes that would excite a diner. In fact, Bukhaara, one of Indias top restaurant in New Delhi where President Clinton once again realised why he loved Indian food as dearly as he had known himself to, was founded by a group of foodies that understood that the genius of Indian cooking was guarded by grandmas, mothers, wives and professional home chefs and celebrated hosts. After having understood that, it is my understanding that they invited a very diverse set of women from Indian homes, with almost no understanding of how a restaurant works, to come and prepare their favorite dishes at the restaurants test kitchen. The team of executive chefs from across the hotel group where Bukhaara is, watched, studied, took notes and interviewed these women, gave them compliments, boosted their egos, gave respect to them for indulging in what would otherwise seem mundane and boring to them. But this was not being done as social work, but the hotel chain with interest in creating the temple to Indian cooking from the north west, had a business on their minds. And they did it very smartly. After documenting recipes from the very many participants, they were able to come up with the very best and then with the genius of a professional restaurant or hotel chef, they standardized the recipes and have been able to maintain great quality and consistency. Sharing with millions a repertoire that could have been common restaurant fare, but in this case, has the very simple, subtle and playful partnership of meats and vegetables with herbs and spices that reaches a zenith in Indian home cooking. Actually, at Bukhaara, they stay away from gimmicky garnishes, since they have understood long before the rest of us, the hokey side to gotham platings. The food is served almost as plainly as it would be at a comfortable home. They focus instead in making each dish a celebration of good food. While some travelers would miss out on home food while traveling across the Indian Sub-Continent, it is not uncommon for many to get invited to homes, to be offered food as they share trains or bus rides with rich and poor fellow passengers. There is a very deep sense of sharing in the culture of the Sub-continent, and so, most people I meet, the backpackers or the elite traveling across that area, have stories to share about how they have been moved by the generosity of even the poorest of poor mankind. I love the idea of a train journey across India in a unreserved coach for that very reason. There are 20 times more people crowding the coach than the maximum capacity, and in time, they each are carrying food for the travels packed by loving mothers, wives, home cooks or a neighbor. And as they bring these goodies out, the first thing they do, is offer their meal to those around. And they often are insulted if you do not want a small bite at the least. What is fascinating to me, is how rich and substantial even the poorest persons meal is. While it certainly has no drama that comes from having a pantry full of all exotic spices and ingredients, these barely spiced and flavored foods, have a rustic taste and simplicity that is haunting. For lack of resources, some of the meals I have eaten in these rides are made with little oil or ghee, with very basic produce and with few if any garnishes, but long after I have made it to my destination, the foods I was given to taste, the generosity of people living below the poverty line, have lingered vividly in my memory.
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