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Currying favor


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Some of you may know that I work as a cook on a cruise ship. It's been an interesting job, made more so recently when I was transferred a month ago to the Special Orders crew and told that I would be making meals for our guests with special dietary requests. My biggest challenge came this week when we had a group of 30 passengers who were all Jain.

My word, what a difficult challenge this was for me!! The dietary restrictions alone made getting any sort of flavor into their meals quite diffcult--strict vegetarian, no onions, no garlic, no ginger, no potatoes--nothing that grows beneath the ground. Add to that, that I'm not all that familiar with the food of the Subcontinent, and one has a ready recipe for disaster.

Then I remembered eGullet!! And what a resource your little corner of the Internet has turned out to be. I bought a couple of cookbooks (Lord Krishna's Cuisine; The Dance of Spices) but mostly I just opened this page and worked my way through posts in this sub-forum with a notebook handy and every day have been able to put together a multi-course meal complete with raitas and pickles. My crowning achievment came yesterday when two tables sent back for second helpings of my pumpkin "Rogan Josh"-style main course. Waitstaff have been asked what part of India I am from ("The part that's in Minnesota," quipped one waitress.)--who would have thought?!?

I couldn't have done it without you good people. Thank you very much.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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