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docsconz

A Culinary Journey in India

137 posts in this topic

DAY FOURTEEN: Saturday March 15

I should be home now, but instead I am sitting in the lounge of the hotel sipping Assam tea and updating this journal while awaiting my return to the airport and the trials to be had there. The morning was uneventful, as I had a decent breakfast and was able to hold the room until 2PM. We are scheduled to return to the airport around 5:30PM for our 10:55PM flight. That should be plenty of time (I hope). Our good karma has certainly been tested. In the meantime, one of my friends was able to purchase an upgrade of her ticket to first class confirming her seat, while the other purchased a new ticket to assure his place.

We arrived at the airport early, so early that they wouldn't let us in! We waited outside for about an hour before they let us through the initial security. From there we had to check-in at the Continental counter and go through immigration before we were able to wait in the business class lounge for our departure. We were able to relax with one last Kingfisher on Indian soil.

The time finally arrived for us to go through security, which occurred without incident, but once we started to board the plane, we discovered another layer of more intense security. Fortunately, this, too, occurred without incident and I finally made it on the plane. What a sense of relief! One friend was in a seat in the row to the right of me, while the other was well behind us in the boarding process. We explained our plight to the flight attendant and described him to her. To all of our delight, just before take-off, she managed to up-grade him as well! The remainder of the flight, though long, was unremarkable. The food was nothing better than edible. I did manage to sleep a little though.


Edited by docsconz (log)
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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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DAY 15: Sunday March 16

Our flight arrived on time at 4:55 AM, happy for the recent time change pushing the hour back. Coming off first class, I made it through immigration quickly, collected my bags and breezed through customs, re-depositing my bags for my connecting flight to Albany. Since I had plenty of time before that flight, I waited awhile before calling my sister, who kindly came to rescue me from the airport. We went back to her apartment where I was able to shower, have some laundry done and enjoy some bacon and eggs before heading back to Newark for my flight.

I arrived back at Newark in plenty of time, made my way through security and set up at Continental's President's Club to await my flight, which was listed as "on-time." As the time inched closer, I rechecked the board to see a 25 minute delay. A bit later, it changed to a two hour delay. While I continued to wait, the time approached. I looked back at the monitor to now discover that my flight was no longer delayed. It was canceled! I was in shock, but quickly made my way to the Club desk to check on my alternatives. The choices were few. Initially, they would have me leave that night, but I managed to get a seat on the 4:30PM flight, although that would be delayed as well. One possibility would be to drive back in a rental car, but I was exhausted. I decided to wait for the flight, delay and all. Ultimately, Continental found another plane, so the 4:30 flight would leave on-time after all! By the time I discovered this and made my way to the plane it was boarding. When I gave the attendant my boarding pass, she said that she could not find my name on the manifest. It had been entered then removed! I was about to scream, but I held my cool and she was able to put me into the last seat on the plane. I finally made it back to Albany where I so, so gladly saw my wife, who met me shortly after my arrival. Though I arrived, I had no doubt that my bags would not. Once I realized that somehow they screwed up my booking, there would be no way that my baggage would have been on that plane. I wasn't wrong. I made my claim and we departed the airport for home. It was truly wonderful to be back. I am happy to say that my baggage was delivered mostly intact the following day. I went to bed early, ready to take my first call the next day.

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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My report on my experiences in India is now concluded, For those who may be interested, I have put together my favorite photos from the trip in an album located here.. Though a number of the photos posted here are also there, there are many there (non-food related) that are not posted here. Namaste!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks for taking the time to show us your extraordinary trip.  I enjoyed every bit of it.

Thanks for reading!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks Doc for this wonderful thread. It's a true labor of love and it's much appreciated. I’ll be visiting India this fall and I can only hope that my journey is half as fulfilling as yours.


View more of my food photography from the world's finest restaurants:

FineDiningPhotos.com

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Thanks Doc for this wonderful thread.  It's a true labor of love and it's much appreciated.  I’ll be visiting India this fall and I can only hope that my journey is half as fulfilling as yours.

I'm sure that it will be an intense, incredible and unique experience. Will you be going to any of the same areas? Is the trip food oriented? The slogan that they use for tourism is Incredible India, which is quite true.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks Doc for this wonderful thread.  It's a true labor of love and it's much appreciated.  I’ll be visiting India this fall and I can only hope that my journey is half as fulfilling as yours.

I'm sure that it will be an intense, incredible and unique experience. Will you be going to any of the same areas? Is the trip food oriented? The slogan that they use for tourism is Incredible India, which is quite true.

If you have a choice of airlines flying over there, I would suggest Jet Airways if the price differential isn't too great. The food and the service are amazing.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Outstanding. I enjoyed this travelogue immensely. Thanks.


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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My day is screwed. Why did I open this thread. Now I am behind in everything today.

FANTASTIC! Thank you, I really enjoyed your ducumentation.

The visit to the Culinary School was a special treat as I graduated from there 34 years ago. The bakery class looks exactly the same and the next time I visit Delhi I have to have a chat with the instructor who is telling these kids to put potatoes and onions on the skewers so the tandoori chicken will not slip.

To all who enjoyed this, I would suggest searching for Episure's piece on Kashmir ans Kashmiri cuisine.


Bombay Curry Company

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Arlington, Virginia

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John, I recently discovered your travel journal of your trip to India. What a wonderful trip and account of your day by day activities. It is a dream of mine to take such a trip to India some day. I travelled there back in the 80's when I was a flight attendant so had a taste of the culture that has made me want to go back ever since. Will bookmark and read about your trip more slowly. Your photos are just beautiful.

Thanks for sharing and inspiring! Bonnie


Bonnie

'Variety is the spice of life'

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Bonnie,

India is compressing >3 centuries of change in <40 years, and the pace grows exponentially. The result is the extinction of genuine foodways, the practitioners, the rural base, forest, & traditional crops species, and most importantly the genuine practitioners of the nuanced arts & their genuine patrons [for the most part]. Instead, we have the poseurs, and a whole flight of restaurant and hotel chefs who try & sometimes make some effort to resurrect the myriad styles of community foodways. But the scene can be likened to a mosaic of rich habitat in an equatorial region, subjected to clear-cutting, the latter being the willed homogenization of tastes as India becomes more closely knit together by common cultural artifacts. Just like the bagel & pizza were relatively unknown in the USA as a whole 60-70 years ago but now are deemed indispensable to everyone's sense of identity & well-being here, so too in India, relatively strange "new" pan-Indian foods rapidly have displaced skills and tastes for traditional items.

Tandoori chicken is not Indian, but strangely enough tandoors have been part of the Indian culinary scene at least as long as the Pathan invaders have been present, which may pre-date Islam! I found this out in remote village river ports of West Bengal with heavy Muslim presence, where there were NO tandoori chickens ever, but an ancient tandoor culture of extraordinary breads, pre-dating the Punjabi influx into Delhi during 1947 by centuries! ONLY in these ports, ONLY during the weekly market days! Gradually, these places, too, have become co-opted into the pan-Indian Punjabi & coarse dhaba styles of cooking, losing their specific preparations, cooked without spices, tomatoes or any trace of chilies.

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