One of our friends is a complete expert when it comes to Indian food. Since we’ve been here, she’s hosted a couple of feasts at her apartment. It’s mind blowing to me that she can make so many diverse, vegetarian (!) dishes, all by herself. On the surface most of her food seems super simple but as soon as you eat it, you know someone with a knowing hand cooked them. A couple of weeks ago, we decided we would host one of these feasts together. I will be an extra pair of hands (grasping at as much knowledge as humanly possible) but she is definitely in charge of the recipes. Even though our dinner is a couple of weeks away, I got so excited about it, that I had her bring me to a specialty Indian grocery store to show me the spices, produce and other treats that I have sometimes come across but have no idea what to do with. I restrained myself and came home with a few new spices and different types of lentils to play with. With no capability to freestyle, the first thing I did was dust off my old copies of Vij’s at Home and Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. I’ve promised myself that I will cook Indian once a week so that I can actually work through the dozens of recipes that I have marked with post-its.
I have recently found a lot of joy in drinking a mugful of something steaming hot and delicious. It’s almost always tea, sometimes hot chocolate, and even more rarely apple cider. In fact, I think that the one and only time I made apple cider was late last spring, when we got caught in a freezing cold rain storm wearing nothing more than shorts and a tank top. I got home, drenched, chilled to the bone, and all I wanted was a nice, spicy, hot mug of cider (which at the time was odd, how do you suddenly start craving something that you never consume?).