Baby JFC has been a part of the Cardoso-D’Souza for a year and two months now. Before I met him, I had all sorts of grand ideas how it would go. I was supposed to surprise my family by showing up for lunch in Goa on Christmas day (they thought I was coming on the 28th). They would all be like “WHAT”, my dad would say “arey!” (a word of exclamation that means exactly what it sounds like it means) and Jacob would try to crawl-walk around in circles bringing me all his toys in excitement. Unfortunately while preparing for various arrivals, my dad was in a tragic accident and he died two weeks later. If you’re thinking “I can’t imagine how you feel”, well…yes….
I took apart a can of whole peeled tomatoes in its juices today. I say “took apart” but really I took a can opener to it and poured the contents into a bowl. A few minutes earlier, that same bowl housed biscuit dough, a dough that would turn into the biscuits and gravy I promised Matt this weekend. “Biscuits” are different here. They are dunkable in tea (what isn’t?!) but they aren’t equal to cookies. I’ve partly made my peace with this language. Before that dough, yesterday, I made pizza dough in that same bowl. With Wednesday and Thursday off work, I had a few plans to use up pantry items before my upcoming trip in December. There was nothing in particular but what I did know is that I would start a few ingredients to allow us to cook more easily through the week. The tomatoes became a sauce. I chopped a few cloves of garlic and sprinkled in some dried herbs and let it reduce on the stove while I watched the biscuits brown in the oven. Instant inspiration. This is how I cook now. It wasn’t always like this.
If you’re wondering if food justice is disconnected from what you experience on a day to day basis, consider these questions: Who picked the produce you buy? Where do you shop? How many times a week do you eat out? Where do you eat when you do? Who are you sharing your purchasing power with?
I took a short break from writing this blog because after back to back summers of trying to keep up in the rat race, I wanted to stop. Ever since I moved here from India, I’ve had an endless to-do list of things I needed to accomplish so I could set the ball rolling on somewhat fitting in. Some of the tasks included making my house a refuge, another was turning my gardening hobby into something more than just a fling. Then there was the task of getting a driver’s license and cooking to teach myself what I really like to eat on a daily basis and making notes for a book I might want to write. To people who do jobs and keep pursuing creative hobbies on the side, you don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you break. Breaks are necessary and allow you to come back energised, with more ideas and the ability to learn more about yourself and how you tick. Everybody needs one from time to time and since this blog is not my job, it felt easier to step back….
It’s that time of the year where if you’re not carting home 3/4 of your usual shopping bag weight in melons, you’re definitely not me. I have brought home slices or wholes of every kind of melon, plums and bags of cucumbers (same family!) and I have been belching sighs of happiness ever since. It’s been a hustle to “make memories” before the cooler days set in, a phenomenon that occurs when you move out to a part of the Western Hemisphere where “seasons” are a real darn thing. I don’t like it but I let the weight of my decisions rest heavily on it nonetheless. I don’t know if it will strike me until we’re in the throes of the most disgusting season – FALL (I SAID IT) – but I love the days where I’m doing nothing but sitting outside hearing the birds shout as they rustle pine needles, the dogs bark at beeping sounds and I’m just sitting there pretending to read my book as the sun readies to force its beautiful energy on this goofy day.
Fall? Birch please.
What I’m up to these days:
Reading Swing Time. I am a slow reader, which is to say I love to read so much that I feel depressed once the book ends. This is a real feeling….
I conceived this recipe not from anything original but rather from the way my Goan family thinks the best way to drink/eat a watermelon is. I can imagine people from around here (U>S>A) jaw hanging down to the ground watching my father sprinkle salt on a watermelon before serving it to us to eat. It’s the Indian way to take in-season fruit and vegetables and add seasonings to it. Not because they lack flavour but because after a while, you will easily tire of the same old same juice-dripping-down-your-chin-deep-burp-from-excessive-fruit-intake. The salt, chaat masala and chilli powder are the merry brigade of fruit flavour enhancers. They provide variety for your every fruit-eating experience all through the year. And in a country where there are more than one seasons for the same fruit, you need it. Trust. Even though I live in a one-summer place now, I don’t think twice about shuffling for my dabba of chaat masala. You should too.
You can make this recipe two ways: One with a blender and one without. I have you covered blenderless people. We are a team!
I think it’s obvious by now that I love food. I don’t love it as some people do, just to eat. I gain pleasure from eating but that’s just a sliver of the whole tart. I think about ingredients constantly. I look at photos of food on my iPad before I go to bed at night and the happiest time of the month is the very beginning when I get to browse new magazines on the shelves at work. Currently, I am taking a food worker’s test to enable me to keep working at my job. It’s boring and makes me want to press forward to the actual test but it won’t let me until I hear the computer man explain all of the rules and regs of proper food handling with retro graphics. The animated bottle of chlorine bleach with eyes is cute, I will admit….
It was hot when we were in Japan in May. To be out sightseeing and climbing up hills to temples and shrines wasn’t easy no matter how many iced soy matcha lattes with cat and moustache cup options there were there when you got back down. Why is the soy milk so creamy there? Why was matcha not making me gag? (clue: I don’t know. Japan is magic.) I still went and saw whatever I wanted to see and laid low writing postcards in my neighbourhood cute coffee shop in the afternoon when it was peak-vacation naptime in Kyoto….