Today was a day much like any other Sunday. Some cooking, some cleaning, some lazing under the clear Colorado sky, soaking in the sun. And, yes, it was Mother's Day. I had already been treated to a beautiful butterfly stake on Friday. She had covered hers with a grocery bag so she could smuggle it into the house as a surprise for me on Sunday. Unfortunately for her, the her two little friends decided to fly theirs home from the bus stop despite her pleas. She's learning to deal with events over which she has no control and instead of whining about it, she gave me the butterfly stake as soon as we got home. I showed her how proud I was by promptly driving it into the ground in my garden.
The butterfly card, I got this morning.
And for most of us, that was Mother's Day. A day spent with our children, basking in the warmth of their attention.
At dinner tonight, I found out that Mother's Day is not just a marketing ploy, created by the greeting card and gift companies. That it has origins much deeper. That, over a century ago, a woman named Julia Ward Howe introduced the idea of a special day for mothers so that they could work together against war.
"While the war was still in progress," she wrote, she keenly felt the "cruel and unnecessary character of the contest." She believed, as any woman might, that it could have been settled without bloodshed. And, she wondered, "Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?"
Unfortunately, Howe's version disappeared before WWI. Mother Jarvis and Anna Jarvis gave it new life in 1907. Read more about how Mother's Day endured and how there is more to it than the card and the gifts.
I feel truly honored.
War, fatherless children, displaced families remind me of the strife-stricken region of Kashmir. I have special memories of Kashmir that date back to the late 70s. It was a treat for me to be reminded of its simple yet varied cuisine by suman and her version of Kashmiri Rogan josh. I took the liberty to adjust suman's recipe to our taste.
- 2 lb boneless lamb, diced
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 7-8 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces
- 1 large black cardamom
- 3 tamalpatra
small bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp hing (asafotida)
- 3 tsp fennel seeds, roasted and powdered
- 1 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 cup fat-free yogurt, whisked
- Few strands of saffron
- salt to taste
- Heat oil in a pan
- Add cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom and bay leaves. Stir these about or toss them around in the pan until they release their fragrance, taking care not burn to the whole spices
- Add the diced lamb and sprinkle the hing over it. Fry on medium-high heat until the lamb is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the powdered fennel seeds, dried ginger powder, red chilli powder, and salt on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes
- Lower the heat and add the whisked yogurt and powdered cardamom. Stir till it starts to simmer. Cover and cook until the lamb is cooked thoroughly.
- Add the saffron strands and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Serve hot over steamed basmati rice.