Food Blogger's Meme

Our trip to New England via Chicago was all about "re" - reconnecting with friends, reunion with family, repairs (dental work) and lots and lots of reflection. Hmmm! Mercury went retrograde on March 2, turned direct on March 25 and everything finally straightened out only on April 14. Do I really believe in this? When it's convenient, yes! I know just enough astrology to be dangerous but it sure seems to fit into our experiences on this trip!

We returned to what we thought was a green lawn. Turns out it is just gazillion dandelions and lots and lots of other weeds. One of my flower beds has been invaded by a weed that smells like mint. Initially I was delighted because while it smells like mint, it tastes almost like tulas or tulsi. But it's a quickly spreading weed and if I don't break my back yanking it out, it will suffocate all the other plants that are straining to make their first spring appearance. But beautiful things are also occuring. My big maple tree went from bare to green in just a day. I discovered that two of the younger trees in my yard are Bradford pears. And they, too, went from bare twigs to white flowers instantaneously. Spring has truly sprung!

Bradford Flowering Pear, Pyrus calleryana

Also sprung was a tag for a Food Blogger's Meme by Sumi. I am usually quite happy doing my own thing and not one for a meme but since deviating from the norm is equally exciting, I decided to participate.
  1. Please list three recipes you have recently bookmarked from foodblogs to try.
    1. The aroma of freshly cooked basmati rice sends me into a trance. It takes me back to days of yore when I was a really picky eater. My mother tried all kinds of tricks to get me to eat. She would put a small amount of veggies in a separate bowl and present it to me with a big flourish, telling me that Parande-Aunty sent it 'just for me.' It used to work rather well but I soon found out that the Parandes didn't really have what I had for dinner. My mother soon gave up in sheer frustration. On the other hand, she never got a complaint from me about methkut-bhath. The heavenly smell of steaming hot rice, no matter which kitchen it originated from, was sure way to draw me to the table. Yes, methkut-bhath with tup (ghee) and lots of lemon juice was a hot favorite and also perhaps the only food I subsisted on!

      I wanted to share some of my childhood favorites with my daughter and bought Bedekar's Methkut on my last trip to India. The poor thing spat it out as it was just too spicy for her. I've been on the lookout for a recipe ever since and I think I found it on Vaishali's Happy Burp.

    2. I miss my Malaysian neighbor and friend. I've moved over a 1000 miles from her. I miss the delicious smells that wafted towards me when I entered her home. Sometimes it would be fried fish, other times it would be coconut curry. Even fried plaintain smelled good when it was made in her home! I hope to recreate some of those memories with what seems to be the perfect prawn sambal recipe from Pusiva's Culinary Studio.

    3. I love kiwi fruit. I've only eaten it in these forms: not yet ripe, ripe and ready to eat and over-ripe. No matter what, I love it! So it was a treat to read about kiwi jam on Luv2cook's Cooking Medley. The kiwi jam has me enthralled!

  2. A Food Blog in your vicinity.
    I haven’t come across any food bloggers in my geographical area. Virtually, I think most of us are hosted in the US and that would make most of the food bloggers, especially those on Blogger.com, within my area!

    If we hadn’t moved from Chicagoland, I would have been able to say that Sumi’s Kitchen was in my vicinity. She’s in Illinois but I am not sure where. Ashwini’s Food for Thought was also a Chicago blog but no longer.

    Well, if you’re a blogger in Colorado, be sure to let me know!

  3. A Food Blog (or more) located far away from you.
    Shyamala's Food, In the Main and Ammani's Chai Pani are two UK based blogs that are a must-read. I also look forward to educational and inspirational posts from Jyotsna Shahane aka deccanheffalump at thecookscottage

  4. A FoodBlog (or several) you have recently found.
    There are new blogs and then there are blogs that are new to me. I love and enjoy so many blogs that I would be here till the end of eternity just mentioning them. There are two, however, that I think deserve a special mention:
    Eating Asia is a blog that is new to me. I can stay immersed in this blog for hours. It captivates me with the visuals, the culture and the travel that are mixed into the food. I am fascinated by the new vistas that I reach through this blog.
    Saffron Hut’s beautiful work of art is an Indian Food Blog that is new and it is one that can’t be praised enough. Not only are her posts well-written, her presentation is extremely creative.

    Every day I encounter yet another set of new Indian food blogs. I once wondered whether this was a fallout of the H4 syndrome. Whatever it is, it’s wonderful. It’s bringing together an entire community of women (and some dashing young men, too – like Anthony) who are sharing not just recipes and tidbits of their lives, but also creating bonds through information about their own take on their culture and heritage.

  5. Any People or Bloggers you want to tag with this meme.
    I think almost everyone has been tagged with this meme. If you are reading this and have not been tagged, please consider yourself tagged. What is wonderful about this meme is that it is not so much about 'me' as it is about all the other bloggers who work hard on their blogs and together weave an online community of food bloggers.

What could be more perfect than to kick off spring with this meme!

25 comments:

Robyn said...

Thanks for the kind words re: our mix of food, culture, and visuals!

Cheers,
Robyn

Ashwini said...

New look, new attitude (re: memes). Like it.

Puspha said...

Thank u very much for the mention.

Manisha said...

No! Really! Thank you, Robyn!

Not so much new look, Ashwini. Same ol'. Same ol'. Don't seem to have the time to play with these templates.

Pushpa, you help recreate some wonderful memories!

Gini said...

Are those pear flowers? The pear tree in my yard is flowering, and looks really close.

Manisha said...

Gini, initially I wasn't sure that the young trees in my yard were Bradford pear trees. The beautiful white flowers sure looked like and smelled like the ones we have in Illinois. The fruit this tree bears is not like the regular pears we eat. I think - and I could be wrong - that the tree is called 'pear' more because it is shaped like a pear when fully-grown than for the fruit it bears. It is popular for its flowers and because it is disease resistant. Some more pictures of the Bradford pear; the species is Pyrus calleryana.

Gini said...

I guess they are not the ones I am talking about, 'cause the ones in my yeard produce the 'real' pears, but the flowers did look close. Thanks for all that explanation.

Manisha said...

Gini, you are so lucky! My trees are very young and are ornamental. Yours bear fruit you can eat! Try the wiki on pears to figure out which pear tree you have.

Indira said...

"H4 syndrome", very funny! Your love for food blogging and the respect you'd show to your co- food bloggers is really shining through that comment.

Is this new and different from Working Mom Syndrome? - where working Indian moms, trying to be cool and hip with ever present excuse of 'lack of time', both at work and at home to do anything and everything?

Manisha said...

Actually, Indira, it's not funny at all. Did you read the thread on AS? "H4 Syndrome" are not my words.

In many states in the US, you cannot even get a driver's licence on an H4 visa. A driver's licence needs an SSN and on an H4, you can't get an SSN in many states; Illinois being one of them and my personal experience being one of them. On an H4, you cannot work nor drive (in some states it is possible to do the latter). Nor can they study full-time. Many don't know that they can volunteer and if they do know that, they don't know that they can't volunteer in an area that is related to their professional background.

This has nothing to do with food blogging or Working Moms. It has to do with what women, who had extended families and friends around them in India, suddenly find themselves faced with when they move here on an H4. Please stop to read over at The Immigration Portal forums run by the Law Offices of Rajiv Khanna. There are many more serious issues that he is raising awareness for. One of which is what happens to the family of an H1B visa holder if s/he were to expire suddenly. The family falls out of status immediately and has a very short time to leave a country that most of them believed they would live in for the rest of their lives (because they have a GC application in process). Not only do they have to deal with the tragedy, the children go through a very difficult time as they have to go back to an education system and an unfamiliar world. Again, I can tell you from experience what that feels like. It feels like an endless dark tunnel with no light at the other end; you keep going because you have to and one day, you realize that you have to accept life for what it is. There is no going back.

While there is a strong lobby for illegal immigrants, the general populace is unaware of what an H4 spouse undergoes in terms of isolation from society: can't work, can't drive, is totally dependent. Winter is a daunting prospect when the days are cold and dark.

If the Indian food blogs that are emerging are a fallout of this situation, then that is something very positive that is happening. Because even if the women are physically alone at home, they are virtually connected or are connecting with one another through very strong bonding agents, culture and food. That is very comforting.

Indira said...

"If the Indian food blogs that are emerging are a fallout of this situation,"

- I strongly disagree with your view, Manisha. I do think Indian food blogs are because of Indian women and men's innate love to share their food, history and culture with the world and not because they want to escape a "syndrome". The word "Syndrome" always associated with negativity and to indicate something wrong.

Describing the wonderful, budding community of Indian food bloggers with this word doesn't look supporting and positive at all.

I've read the AS forum as per your directions, except for the title, I didn't see anyone using this word to describe Indian food bloggers except you.

Manisha said...

Disagreements are always good. It makes for more diversity of opinion and therefore a lot of progress. In my opinion, of course!

Indira, I posed a question in a discussion that has the title "H4 Syndrome". I don't know the answer to my question. I can postulate and conjecture but I don't have the answer. Somehow, you seem to understand posing of a question as labeling an entire community with the subject of the thread. If that's how you see it, that's your prerogative.

I prefer to focus on the positive and work towards changing the negative or at least create an awareness . There is a lot that is wrong with the H4 situation, no matter which way you cut it. Denial never helped anyone change anything.

As for positive and supportive, hey! I am a cheerleader for the food bloggers.

If you wish to partake just the negative, that is your choice. However I do feel you are missing the larger picture.

Indira said...

Above all the fluffy words, what I felt was the negative undertone, linking the budding Indian food blog scene with h4 syndrome, without any proof, (If you are keeping a tally of food bloggers visa status, please share and support your claim.) Not only here, also at AS forums repeatedly by you.

Surprising and upsetting, because I do regard you in high esteem. I hope this is all unintentional.

Keep rocking the Indian food.
Peace and thanks!

Manisha said...

Indira, you are entitled to your opinion. There is nothing I can do to change that. Out of sheer graciousness, I am going to let you have the last word on this. Have a wonderful day! :-)

Sanjay Parande said...

In the write up under caption "Food Blogger's Meme" the author has mentioned the name of Parande Aunty. The Author has also mentioned the delicious "methkut-bhath". Is the author connected with Dhantoli, Nagpur.

Sanjay Parande

Manisha said...

Sanjay, welcome to IFR! The Parandes who were our neighbors were from Nagpur; no clue what city though. I have since lost touch with them though I think they still own the flat in the same building that we do in Bombay. Write to me at polarmateATgmailDOTcom if you want to talk about this further. I wouldn't want to void their privacy on a public blog :-)

I grew up on methkut-bhath. Isn't methkut a staple item in every Maharashtrian home?

Sanjay said...

Hi Manisha: It was nice of you to have responded to my querry. The family about whom I referred never had a home in Mumbai of their own (now I own one though). Nevertheless, I would like to inform you that I agree with your comments on "steaming hot Methkut Bhat with tup (ghee)". It is indeed very delicious and one of my most favourite food items from my childhood days. It is indeed a favourite recipe in central India, and I am sure, also in every maharashtrian home...

Manisha said...

Sanjay, owning the home you live in is a great feeling, isn't it?

You know, along with methkut-bhath, is waran-bhath. That's what we had for dinner a couple of nights ago. Sada waran (like the lagnathla waran), bhath and limbache lonche. Nothing else. It was bliss!

Sanjay said...

Manisha, I agree with you that "Sadha Waran-bhath with ghee and limbache lonche" is ultimate. I do not know whether it is the quality/type of lentils or local water in Nagpur which emits a distinct aroma while cooking Sadha Waran. U don't get such aroma elsewhere. I am sure you will agree that another speciality of maharashtrian cusine is "Pithla Bhath".

Manisha said...

Sanjay, it is very interesting to hear/read you say that. I have a bunch of friends, Maharashtrian and Marwadi, from Nagpur who say the same thing! I don't think I've ever been to Nagpur so I can't say either ways!

Do you have an authentic recipe for pithla? I have never tried my hand at it and would love to do so.

Sanjay said...

Hi Manisha! I just chanced to see this public blog while searching for Parandes on google site. I have never tried cooking in my life and thus there is no question of me having any authentic recipe for Pithala. Though I am not a food connoisseur, I enjoy tasting different cusines and wines.... Your comments on Methkut Bhath, which happens to be my favourite too, prompted me to offer comments...

Manisha said...

No probs, Sanjay, you never know who may have a recipe tucked away, that was given to them by their grandmother or favorite aunt. I have found a couple of recipes for pithla and will try them out. With cold weather creeping in, pithla will be great comfort food!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am from Nagpur but by no means an accomplished cook.
pithla-bhat is an easy to fix dinner for a cold and wet Sunday night. Just remember that you are going to cook besan in water and that a little besan makes a lot of pithla. you can try many varieties, though the simplest is as follows - add water to besan to make a thin slurry. heat oil, add dried red chilli peppers, mustard and hing. add chopped onions and saute them to whatever "done-ness" you like. add besan slurry and salt. reduce heat and let the besan cook. pithla splatters a lot during the cooking process, i recommend using a lid. keep stirring every few minutes otherwise besan will stick to the bottom of kadhai. variations galore! use buttermilk instead of water. or add tomatoes. may be green chillies. or chilli powder, if that works for you. you could fry methi leaves with onion. or add cooked drumsticks. good luck!
PS> i am in a bit of a rush and haven't proofread this post. please excuse the typos.
i can be reached at vnatu@yahoo.com

Vrushali said...

Hi Manisha,

I stumbled onto your blog trying to find Maharashtrian food bloggers...and I was telling my sister I dont see any ......and lo behold I stumbled right into yours. thanks. Pithale Bhaat, Sadawaran Bhaat, Bharleli vangi, yuummm....childhood foods that one longs for. Am an H4 and now in Boston the way I got my DL was to get from SS a standard form called the Social security denial notice. you take the SSDN to your RMV and they will allow you to take the drivers test. Hope this helps anyone who wants to know.....Vrushali

marathichildrenssongs said...

Hi Manisha,
Interesting topics and discussion here. I stumbled upon your blog because I have one called workingindianmoms.blogspot.com and one of your pages always ends up as competition.
If you get time, do read my blog on marathi nursery songs. I started it because I knew that my cousins who were married and settled in the US or UK were missing this treasure trove. Since you are so passionate about marathi food and culture, I thought you would like my blog too. Please share with your friends too.
Thanks
Aparna