Tuesday, April 11, 2006

100 Things... About Food

I'm sure no one would attempt a 100 Things about food. I'm pretty opinionated about most everything, especially food. So, I wanted to see if I could have 100 Things to say about my hugest passion till date. Apparently, I do.

1. I designed my kitchen adapted to the way I cook, so it takes me about 30 minutes max to turn out a 3 course meal.
2. I love my kitchen gadgets, especially my citrus squeezer, that I have named Jules.
3. I don't mind vegetarians.
4. I do mind fussy eaters.
5. My first brush with Sushi was very pleasant.
6. I bonded with one of my best friends over my first plate of sushi.
7. I am in love with Anthony Bourdain.
8. Which is why I hate Nondon Bagchi because he gets to meet AB being a faux food critic (the man known NOTHING about food in my opinion) and I don't. Why, God why?
9. The first thing I ever learnt to cook was rajma. I was 13, my mother had soaked a batch of rajma and woken up with a high temperature and my entire family had been suffering with flu and I was the only one who wasn't ill. So, my mother would sit and yell instructions and at one point, I brought the pan to show her if the onions had browned enough or not.
10. My grandmother used to make the loveliest chapattis. She tried in vain to teach me how to roll out perfectly round ones, but I've perfected the technique, just about a year back. She was also the most patient teacher I have ever known.
11. I occasionally go to Bangkok to eat thai.
12. My favourite restaurants in Bombay are Trishna (the baby shark and crab are to die for), Wasabi (Amazing food and the celebrity watching is fun. I've also wondered why Prahlad Kakkar wears dirty pajamas at swanky restaurants at wasabi more than twice. The braised eel should not be missed) and Indigo (Amazing wine list, truly lovely food, though sitting in the non-smoking section is not recommended).
13. My favourite restaurants in Delhi are Moshe's Oliva, Bukhara and KLS (only for sentimental reasons, I can never forget the anda parathas).
14. My favourite restaurants in Calcutta are Cinnamon, Kewpie's, West View (ITC) and Pan Asian (ITC).
15. My next favourite restaurants in Calcutta are Peshawari (ITC), Fire & Ice, Baan Thai and Oh Calcutta.
16. I think Amber is grossly over-rated.
17. I don't like rolls for some reason I have never been able to figure out. I just can't eat them.
18. I love pani puri/ puchkas. However, I still think you get the best golguppas in Lucknow.
19. I eat only mutton in Lucknow. Its the best mutton on the face of this earth.
20. Given a choice between a French meal and a Thai one, I would probably choose the French one.
21. I can eat any amount of Foie Gras. I went to a food festival at La Terrasse (Oberoi Grand) and had a 3 course meal each with foie gras in it. I couldn't move for 3 hours after that but it was bliss.
22. I love mushrooms. My favourites are chanterelles and enoki mushrooms.
23. I love my vegetables. I eat all vegetables but am not a fan of cabbage.
24. I think I cook the best arhar dal in this city. I'm not exaggerating. I have known people making an entire meal of the dal only. I learnt to cook the perfect arhar dal from my mother. The key is not to overcook or undercook the dal.
25. Till date I have planned 5 menus for major events and about 16 for smaller dinner parties and lunches. Yes, I keep track. All went off well menuwise.
26. My favourite breakfasts in Calcutta have been at Flurys.
27. The best coffee I have ever had was in Atlanta.
28. I'll never forget the meals I had in NYC.
29. I like hotdogs after a long brisk walk in winters.
30. I can't bake right now because I don't have an oven.
31. I like all melons. I used to hate melons when I was a child.
32. I don't like to cook my fruits. I feel it destroys the flavour and the bite.
33. I love mangoes. I think its the most perfect fruit on earth.
34. I don't eat fast food. Well, sometimes I am tempted by the fries, but that's like once a year when I'm awfully PMSy.
35. 3 Home delivery places in Calcutta I don't need to give my address to - Bhojohari Manna, Azad Hind Dhaba and Taaja.
36. The only thing I order from Taaja is the paella with a double helping of the garlic sauce. I have an uncomfortable feeling my order is a standing joke in Taaja's. Taaja used to have the best crepe suzette chef in town but the idiots lost him. I have celebrated 2 breakups with paella and crepes suzettes at Taaja's. (Yes, celebrated.)
37. I don't buy into diets. I think Atkins has no scientific basis.
38. My favourite restaurants in Bangalore are Dahlia and Sunny's.
39. My favourite restaurants in Singapore are Les Amis, Sun's and No Signboard Seafood restaurant. Also that chinese dimsum place in the CHIJMES complex.
40. I can't drink Whisky/ Scotch.
41. Rajma Chawal, Dal bhaat and tehri are comfort foods for me.
42. I am a coffee and tea snob. I don't drink Assam.
43. I don't like milk in coffee and tea.
44. I think men who like to cook are v. sexy. Think AB, think Andy Varma, mmmm...
45. Normally, I drink a cup of warm milk before I go to bed.
46. I think it is grossly unfair that I put on weight even looking at food.
47. I have stopped eating rice for lunch.
48. I was introduced to Shree Hari's lengcha today. I ate 3. I'm feeling sick now. (This was written 1 week back.)
49. The one thing I have never been able to bring myself to eat is something called "Dal ka Dulha" in UP. It is basically dough plunged into boiling arhar dal. Why someone would want to ruin perfectly good dal is beyond my comprehension, but my mother loves the awful concoction.
50. I make delicious chicken qorma. Seriously.
51. I know the entire family history of a jhal muri wallah in gariahat. I haved stopped patronising him because he never lets me pay for the muri because I once saved him from being evicted.
52. I love eggs in every form.
53. I like my steak done medium rare.
54. I don't like raisins.
55. I like smelly cheese, the smellier the better.
56. I'm not really a paneer person.
57. I have these periodic cravings for chocolate for mysterious reasons. I'm not a chocolate snob.
58. I like to go and buy fruits and vegetables. I often go and just stare at the stacks of produce and feel happy.
59. I don't like cinnamon sprinkled over my cappucino.
60. I really prefer lattes.
61. I mostly cook in olive oil.
62. I have started making my own stock and since then have thrown all my stock cubes in the garbage. Fresh homemade stock just cannot be substituted.
63. I like to eat ice.
64. I love rocket in my salad.
65. I can eat pretty much everything, but I draw the line at scorpions and seahorses.
66. I don't like trance playing in restaurants.
67. I am a very neat eater, my plate i.e. I am the girl who can spill anything and everything.
68. I don't like tuna.
69. I love crabs, crayfish, prawns, lobsters, actually any crustacean.
70. I am not passionate about desserts but I like to end my meals with something sweet.
71. I mostly skip breakfast.
72. Whenever I travel, I make it a point to order in a club sandwich. Its almost a ritual now.
73. I find many foods incredibly sensual - shellfish, strawberries, grapes.
74. I am a good tipper, even when the service is bad.
75. I am a recent popiah convert.
76. I can eat copious amounts of hot food and chillies. My stomach seems to have an ever accomodating scoville scale.
77. I have eaten durian. I don't want to repeat the experience. Ugh!
78. When I cook, I don't like any interference, unless of course I get help for chopping.
79. My hands and fingers have burn and cuts because I'm very absent-minded also.
80. I don't eat any other apples, but Granny smiths because I don't like red apples.
81. I don't measure and weigh too much, I normally let my instincts take over because I get too flustered by too much recipe control.
82. I can cook perfect rice anyhow - in a rice cooker, in a pressure cooker, on a pan.
83. I love the smell of frying fish, especially fish marinated in turmeric and salt, bengali style. My mother will do a dounble flip if she ever reads this.
84. I have had the same fish monger for 4 years now. I've never gone wrong with his advice.
85. I would love to learn how to cook professionally.
86. The smell of asafoetida reminds me of my paternal grandmother.
87. My mother says I don't have the patience to make mathris and gujiyas. I think she is right.
88. I dislike over-cooked noodles and pasta.
89. The most expensive meal I have ever had was in Sweden at a place called Paul & Norbert. The meal was very, very good, but one of the most expensive ones I have had till date. Maybe it was the wine and the desserts I had to drown my sorrows after a really, really disastrous business meeting? However, the meal was truly memorable.
90. I sometimes pretend I like risottos, but sometimes I don't.
91. I can eat popcorn anytime.
92. The most fun I had during a meal was in Japan at a teppenyaki bar. I had cried because I was tired of eating alone but I shall never forget that meal, simply because the chef made me forget I was alone and I had great fun conversing with him in sign language.
93. The only time I really missed Indian food was when I fell ill in Switzerland. I made up for the absence of any decent Indian food by eating Thai instead.
94. I have begun prefering eating with chopsticks. Its really like eating with your fingers without getting them dirty.
95. I love soup.
96. I don't like ketchup except with masala omelettes.
97. The best jhal muri is the one you get on short distance trains between Howrah and Jamshedpur.
98. I can't forget the smell of guavas.
99. I like watching some people eat - my mother, my sister and one of aunts.
100. I occasionally eat drinking chocolate powder.


At 2:02 AM, Blogger Sagnik Nandy said...

i never thought i will actually read through a "Food 100 list" especially because I do not understand much abt food myself but it was very entertaining

At 3:51 PM, Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

I have a feeling that we really love Tony Bourdain as a writer and a TV personality, and not exactly as a food connoisseur. His NY restaurant never really scored very highly with food critics. Jeffrey Steingarten called the food at Tony's restaurant mediocre.

But Tony's more of a personality these days than a chef, so perhaps a real appreciation of food has nothing to do with meeting up with him anyway.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Oh, and it helps that Tony, is very, very hot.

At 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the arhar dal recipe would be much appreciated. also, some recommendations for new york city restaurants as a trip is forthcoming. thanks !

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Plumpernickel said...

Ummmm.... Who cares whether or not AB's restaurant rocks or not, the sight of those lips eating oyters... mmmm... How can anyone that thin eat like that?

Anonymous: epicurious.com does a far better job than I would do. The arhar dal recipe I think I have already posted, if I haven't I'll do it one of these days. :-)

Sagnik - Wow! I am impressed, I keep wondering how people manage to read 100 lists, heehee.


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