Do you have a love story?
Well, I have one.
I’m an ardent, an unwavering and a loyal lover of food. Sometimes I think the only thing worthwhile is cooking a nice tasty meal and to eating it to my heart’s content.
One year back, when I moved to the United States, my passion for food reached new heights. I am a vegetarian and not all the restaurants in the United States have exotic vegetarian entrees. My first opportunity to enjoy American food was at IHOP.I had heard they served a good pancake breakfast something I had not had before. Therefore, one fine morning, I went to IHOP for their “Strawberry Banana Pancakes”.
I like strawberries, I love bananas, but I didn’t know how the entire combination tasted. My order arrived and it was a delight to the eyes. 4 fluffy pancakes topped with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and maple syrup was a colorful sight. How did it taste? It was soggy. It was tasty. But it was sweet. I felt as if I skipped the main course of the meal and went straight to the dessert. However, I enjoyed it because I have a sweet tooth. In the next few months, I tried various foods outside my home. Before I tell you what I think about American food, I have to give you some insight into Indian food.
Generally, the food in India is spicy compared to the food in America.Further in India, people in different regions have different food habits. In my native place, we eat the spiciest food of all. People from other parts of India, often wonder how we can eat such spicy food without feeling sorry the next day morning. Can you believe this? My grandparents and generations before them used to eat rice with onion and green chili as sides for breakfast. No wonder, my digestive system can tolerate spiciness.
Further, in my native place, we eat rice at least twice a day. A complete meal consists of rice, dal, curries, soup and curd( i.e yogurt). Surprisingly, when we are sick, the doctor prescribes us bread. So, I grew up with the notion that bread is for sick people.
Now, with such a history, when I tasted the American food, I had several surprises:
- Whatever dish I order, I always get bread (Brushetta, Burger ,sandwich, ,bagels, donuts)
- For a vegetarian, there aren’t many options. Therefore, I should be prepared to eat lots of leaves (i.e lettuce and spinach)
- According to me, a Vegetarian Burger/ sandwich can be described as bread with raw vegetables. I feel as if the cook suddenly stopped the preparation in the middle and handed me the ingredients.!
- It’s a bit challenging to eat the burgers/sandwiches without making a mess.
- There is not even a trace of spiciness in the food.
After few months of relishing on American food, I started noticing striking similarities between American and Indian food.
- Pancakes resemble a particular variety of Indian Dosa called Set dosa.
- Veggie burger patties resemble our masala vada.
- Thin crust pizza is like a roti topped with vegetables.
That’s when I thought, why not combine American and Indian food?
And the result is, I discovered a whole new world of Indo-American food.
- Pancakes with Indian chutneys taste really good.
- A veggie burger patty can be eaten as a side with Rice and tomato soup.
- Mashed Potato with spices becomes an excellent side dish with Dosa (Or a pancake)
- And the most astonishing discovery is I can convert a chipotle burrito Into Indian meal. This is how it goes: By separating all the ingredients of Chipotle Burrito, I can make
- Salad with lettuce
- Black bean curry with black beans and masala
- Bell pepper curry with bell peppers and some spices
- Avocado chutney with guacamole and green chilies
- Tomato onion chutney with salsa
Ta-da. Instead of a single Chipotle burrito, I have a 7-course Indian meal.
Recently I learned that even our President Barak Obama was floored with Indian food prepared by a 9-year-old Indian girl. She had served Garam Masala Quinoa burger with Raita. I am happy to know that someone else out there is also trying to Indianize the American food.
The legendary playwright George Bernard Shaw said that “There is no sincerer love than the love of food”. I concur with him. I love food and it doesn’t matter whether the food is Indian, American or American-Indian, as long as it is tasty. My love for food transcends all boundaries.:-)