Taking inspiration from BBC's 50 things to eat before you die, Melissa of Traveller's Lunchbox came up with Bloggers' Picks of Five Foods to Eat Before You Die. I don't blame her for being taken aback by BBC's list and wanting to come up with foods that are more specific, for BBC's list includes sandwiches and burgers! How generic is that?!
Faith tagged me for this meme a few weeks ago. I was very excited and thought I'd do an initial survey with the family. Medha came up with: rice, tomato, and peaches. At this point, I wondered if she had some British genes. Where were her favorite foods in that? So she added idli and lime pickle to it. As for my husband, all he wants to eat before he dies is Mensaf stew from Diana Abu Jaber's The Language of Baklava, made with goat meat. Our Bosnian neighbor has goats hanging in his garage from time to time. I am very tempted to ask him for 2lbs of that meat. I borrowed his Hollyhocks for the Flower Fest, some tender mutton would be good, too! I'd pay for it, of course!
My list does intersect with BBC's list. Curry. Yup! That's me, too! Mango. That's me! Maybe I am responsible for Medha's choices, not the British! But I will get into specifics, just like Melissa wanted us to. So here goes...
Hapoos Amba or Alphonso Mango
I know what you're thinking. How predictable! But really...everyone must get a bite of this luscious fruit at least once in their lifetime. The Ratnagiri Hapoos is the more coveted of the two famous varieties grown in my home state of Maharashtra. The other being Devgad Hapoos. If the mango is often called the King of all fruits, the Hapoos is the Emperor! The best hapoos are available during the month of May. I haven't eaten these for over 8 years now and I often wonder whether I should brave the summer heat and make a visit to India in May just for hapoos!
In the southern regions of India, idli is a popular breakfast food. For me, it's an anytime food. Idli-sambar. Idli-chutney. Idli-sambar-chutney.
Dahi idli. Fried idli. I'll take idli any which way.
And at any time of the day or night. In my home or out camping in the bitter cold. In fact I had the ultimate idli experience last weekend when we camped in the Moraine Campground in Rock Mountain National Park. It was 35F, windy and raining hard. I had carried frozen idlis that I had made a few weeks earlier and lots of sambar. We huddled around our little camping stove sipping on tea that went cold almost as soon as it was poured out. Luckily we had winter-wear: jackets, hats, gloves, the works. I heated the sambar and as soon as the sambar started boiling, I set the idlis loose in the sambar and after about 5 minutes, turned the heat off. We sipped on ice cold tea in great anticipation. The piping hot idli-sambar was the best I have ever had in my life. It warmed us up so completely and filled us with awe at what lay around us: wet ground, biting wind, raw nature and elk poop. The rain turned into snow as we heated more sambar and more idlis. The snow fell and melted into the sambar bringing us even closer to nature cos now, along with feeling it, we were eating it, too! I was just too busy heating and eating to take pictures. Once we were done, I tried to take pictures and this was the best I could come up with. It's very lame and not quite representative of the experience but I thought I'd share it anyway...
Garma garam roti or Hot off the Flame Roti
There's nothing as satisfying as a 100% roti. A perfectly round roti that puffed up to all its goodness, served right off the flame of the burner to your plate. With a dollop of ghee, if you like.
Dinner at Charlie Trotter's, Chicago
Housed in two gorgeous Chicago walk-ups, Charlie Trotter's is a dining experience that must be had at least once in a lifetime. In many ways it's better than a Broadway show! The food is simply divine, right from the amuse guele to the seven course meal. It's a medley of flavors, one even more delightful than the other, balanced by the right wines chosen by the resident sommelier. Mmmmmmm!
And, after the meal, you can tour the kitchen and even see the wine cellar which has over 1800 wines from the world over.
You can choose to dine in the kitchen itself. A 15 course meal is served when you do. You have to make reservations at least 4 months in advance. This makes sense if you need to see how the food is cooked and plated but it was far too noisy for me. I get to hear clanging pots in my own kitchen for free, I'd preferred the meal away from the intensity of the kitchen.
Avlyachi Supari or Amla Supari
Avla or amla is the Indian gooseberry. According to Aurveda, it is a balancing food because it has 5 of the 6 tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent tastes. The only missing flavor is saltiness. Well, according to me, avlyachi supari makes it complete! Avlyachi supari is made from Indian gooseberries that have been sun-dried and coated in salt. It's a taste that has to be experienced to be fully comprehended. As the salt layer wears off, the other flavors kick in. The lingering flavor is one that can best be described as: if you drink water, it will taste sweet!
If you've reached the end of this post and you've experienced what I have, I think we're both ready to die!
I know I am supposed to tag 5 more bloggers for this meme but since I still seem function on IST, everyone I know and read has been tagged. In fact, I am so late with this meme that two other bloggers did me the honor of a tag: Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes and Meena of Cooking Pleasures. If I missed you and you'd like to do this meme, you're tagged!
I am going to be on a brief hiatus from food blogging. I need to recoup my strength after a very cold but exciting camping trip, a bad back aggravated by a terrible slip last night, and a huge overload at work that must be plowed through with an earthmover. I'll be back in a couple-two-three-four weeks!