Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In which I've read one too many food porn

I'm so caught up with foodie literature. I've read so much, I've almost beguiled myself into thinking I too could write.

Who am I kidding? I've been cooking for less than 3 years now, and regularly for less than a year. I never thought highly of cooking as a kid, never a foodie when growing up. I thought yogurt rice was ultimate food nirvana. (I still do, actually).
And now, the most creative I get is when I compare blogs and pick the best recipe.
So, who am I kidding?

Having just read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I have now worked myself up into a tizzy about making something local, authentic and season appropriate for the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.

Here's why I shouldn't bother:

1. Harvest festivals are seasonally specific.

2. I live in the US and its winter here.

3. I don't harvest. My family doesn't harvest. I come from a family where at least 3 generations have been removed from agriculture or farming and more importantly, harvesting (although the more astute amongst you readers would argue that one needn't be a farmer to celebrate the harvest festival).

4. I searched and searched, and still draw a blank on authentic,seasonal south Indian dishes for Pongal.

5. Let me qualify point 4. Us tamils do make chakkara pongal, ven pongal and may be some variant of payasam for the harvest festival. Chakkara pongal is jaggery infused cooked rice, ven pongal is a savory rice dish and payasam is a porridge of sorts. But I've been eating that atleast 20 pongal festivals. I'm sure there must've been other goodies lined up for the hard working farmers out there.

So am in a fix. Would Barbara Kingsolver approve if I made coconut barfi for Pongal? Granted, there is nothing local about it. I'll be using frozen shredded coconut for crying out loud. Yet, coconut is almost a staple in south Indian cuisine, and coconut barfi a well-liked sweet (back home anything sweet is called a sweet, not dessert, coz labeling it dessert relegates it to the very tail end of a meal, whereas as a sweet, you can consume it anytime, all the time).

But its still not seasonal, or local. Oh well, for all you know, BK is probably chowing down on some KFC chicken wings in her farm house right now.

At least I'm trying, you know. Again, I write this before my attempts at making the burfi.

For all you know, a couple hours later, I'd still be sprawled out on my couch, eating out of the ice cream box, watching Oprah and cursing BK for spawning all this new agey, eat right,do good philosophy in me.

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