Friday, 8 April 2011

Indian food and other random thoughts

One of the most exciting things about going somewhere new is the food.  Indian food has not let me down yet.  It is just as colorful and spicy as its culture.  While everything seems to be more a less a variation of every other dish they are satisfyingly different.  Lunch and dinner are vegetables or beans in a red spicy curry broth, seasoned sauteed vegetables, served with basmati rice and a delicious bread that looks like a tortilla called roti (I am obsessed).  People here eat very little or no meat because animals are regarded highly.  Although they are not vegan many also don't eat eggs because they could potentially be fertilized.  Milk and dairy however are completely acceptable.  For those who eat meat, most avoid red meat as the cow is sacred because it provides milk, like a mother would; therefore, eating a cow would be like eating your mother.  Because of this high regard for the cow, cattle literally rule the roads.  Cows and oxen which are used to haul carts are allowed to roam around which sometimes ends in a nap in the middle of the road.  I find these situations absolutely hilarious because with everything else that gets honked at here, people carefully and quietly go around the cattle.

Another amazing thing I have fallen in love with again is rice pudding.  When I was younger my mom would occasionally make rice pudding and I had a very close friend Georgeanne who was Greek and her mother too would make us rice pudding.  While my mother (and Georgeanne's mother for that matter) are excellent cooks, the Indian rice pudding puts every other rice pudding in the world to shame.  It has all the usual ingredients (being rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla) but then there are slivered almonds, a magical combination of other spices, and sometimes what tastes like soggy corn flakes (I know, that sounds gross but trust me, don't knock it until you try it).

Being a sweet person and a tea lover I am also obsessed with the chai.  Starbucks has nothing on this stuff that you can buy on the side of the road for cents.  Of course people here still have a concept of portion size, so you get "one cup" which is 8 oz.  Starbucks smallest is 12 oz.

For those of you who are curious, obesity is not nearly as big a problem here as it is at home.  There are obese people and according to the people we've been working with they are increasing in number as people eat more processed foods and exercise less.  Although I have yet to experience it, the fast food companies that have come here (McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut) have "indianized" their menus.  KFC apparently puts indian spices in its breading and it has a separate grill for vegetarian food.  I just may have to venture into one of these chains to see for myself especially because ice cream is very popular here (and somehow more delicious as well) and as my dear friends Anna and Karyn know, in every new country, the McFlurry has to be sampled as they usually have very different toppings to add in (ie- cadberry creme eggs in England).

Tonight Joe and I leave for the Taj.  We rented a taxi for the whole weekend so if you are the praying type, go ahead and say one for our safety otherwise just cross your fingers or something.


  1. i have my fingers crossed for your safety but also more that you'll find an amazing new McFlurry flavor to add to our list.

    the food sounds awesome and i could really go for a cup of that chai...

  2. Hi Steff,
    you make me smile. I love to read about your life. Keep enjoying it and be safe.
    Love, Mom

  3. Hi again Steff,
    The biggest news in the Demmon Family:
    "Pam just got her ears pierced"
    Enjoy your weekend. Love, Mom

  4. I love all the English references in this blog! I used to eat rice pudding too, but the one you described sounds way better. Hope you're having a great trip!

  5. the trick to indian rice pudding is rose essence :) looks like you're having an amazing time!