(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blowing the Candle










To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

Today is the day for this blog to turn a year old. Just like every other purpose under heaven, it’s time, too. Time for us to reminisce some, celebrate some, and wonder ever more. Just what I find myself doing as I grin at the almost absurd, yet exhilarating outcomes of writing this blog.

So what’s been my biggest gain on becoming a food blogger? I learned to cook! Trust me, I am not kidding you. Before I started this blog with Cesar, my appreciation of food was limited to just polishing off food cooked by others. I was never pushed into the kitchen, and I never thought there was anything interesting in the act of cooking. In fact, one of my arguments against cooking used to be this: it takes hours to prepare elaborate meals, but how long does it take for people to chow down? Minutes.

This past year saw my attitude to cooking take a 180-degree turn. I realized how naïve I had been to think of cooking as uninteresting. It is anything but that. As I took baby steps into the land of pots and woks, ladles and serving spoons, spice mixes, and their aromas wafting about me, I knew it was love. Chopping vegetables as the view from the kitchen window—curry leaf and basil plants swinging with the breeze—greeted me with a smile, turned out to be a meditation most satisfying. And least philosophical.

To release raw vegetables into hot oil and see them bursting euphorically, turning colour within the wok was akin to the adventure of finding old, dusty boxes on some abandoned loft as a child. Adding salt, just the right amount, was pulling off a chemistry practical assignment to near perfection. And the feeling inside when others let out that wide, approving grin after tasting one of your creations? Heaven. You bet, cooking has had me entranced into its deliciously magical realm.

Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy.And, cooking done with care is an act of love

- Craig Clairborne

In this past year I bought a new chopping board, a knife, a mortar-pestle set—my playthings for the new sport I discovered. I learned cooking pasta for the first time at home (thank you, Cesar). I learned cooking meats, I learned different ways of chopping onions, I learned making vinaigrettes, I craved to buy an oven (still saving money for that), I surprised family members (“You can really cook, eh?”) and myself, I ran riot in the kitchen. I cooked.



The blog also opened a window of learning for me. I found out the fascinating regional variations of Indian food, I celebrated festivals of different Indian states with food bloggers across the world, I got a glimpse into cultures not known to me, herbs I have never smelled or tasted (thanks, Kalyn!), and edible delights that still remain shrouded in enticing mystery for me. I got the opportunity to join a wonderful food forum comprising members from all the inhabited continents (many thanks, Farid and Ji Young), which in turn has become my encyclopedia for exploring culinary cultures.

What started with two food-crazy friends setting up a little corner to share their eating exploits became a venue enriched by other food lovers—buoyant, knowledgeable, and suave. I have reasons to see this blog as more than just that. It has been a blessing. I have a reason to be grateful to all you wonderful fellow bloggers and readers. You all have been my inspiration. THANK YOU.


Sury

It was about a year ago when my dear friend Sury proposed a fun idea. You see, I met Sury two years ago in a writer’s community and it wasn’t long before we became the best of friends. We would get together on chat and talk about our days and share stuff about our countries, places we visited, people we came across… and, of course, stuff we ate.

For, you see, we just happen to come from two countries with huge culinary traditions. On one side—India in the East, with its different regions and flavors; on the other side—Peru in the “New World,” a place which became literally a food laboratory with the coming of the Spaniards, resulting in the breeding of unique ingredients.

So Sury says to me, how about we do a blog together? It was supposed to be a simple task, just sharing different dishes and traditions, anything to do with food. We’d be getting to know a bit more of each other. Plus, we would be training those writing muscles that need a constant workout.

Last June we published our first post, a little welcome for some of our friends. And the word spread. Suddenly more people were dropping by, reading about Biryani and Causa and Khandvi and Mazamorra and Patishapta pithey and Ají de Gallina. And those people liked what they found. Before we knew it, our number of visitors had multiplied in geometric progression.

Today we have constant visitors, people who come back regularly, drop comments, ask for recipes and share their doubts regarding some ingredient. We’ve been invited and have participated in a few blog events, such as the meme we did for New Year where Sury and I shared our particular favorites.

Did we expect any of this? No we didn’t. This was a little project between two friends. Are we happy with how it turned out? We are delighted. We are elated to have such wonderful visitors to our ‘big little blog’ and we jump at the chance to share even more. Because what we’ve gone through up till now, is just the tip of the iceberg. India and Peru have so much more to offer in the food field. So many things we want —so many things we feel we MUST—share with all of you.

Thank you for being part of our project. We want you to stick around, send us your comments, and share your thoughts.

All the best to all of you, friends, from two opposite sides of the world which have found a way to stay together for a long time to come.

Cesar

18 comment(s):

Sury, Happy Blog Anniversary !

By Anonymous Lera, at 2:29 PM  

Happy blog Anniversay.

By Anonymous Krithika, at 5:51 PM  

Hap...Happ..Happy 1St birthday to your blog, what an amazing journey!!!

Archana

By Anonymous Archana, at 10:45 PM  

Happy Blog Aniiversary Sury !!

Love all your recipes , especially sweets/desserts

By Anonymous Priya, at 12:45 AM  

Happy blog birthday to both of you. Your slide show was most impressive. Very fun seeing all the great things you've been cooking. Many more to come I hope!

By Anonymous Kalyn, at 7:18 AM  

Your blog is indeed unique being a joint one.I love the bengali dishes.Happy first blog b'day:)
So whats the special menu?;)

By Anonymous Anwesha Chattopadhyay, at 7:50 AM  

Happy first blog b'day:)
I like your recipes very much,specially the bengali ones:)
Whats the special menu?

By Anonymous Anwesha Chattopadhyay, at 7:51 AM  

Congratulations for completing one year! I'm also trying my hand in cooking but mainly because my mother is not here. ; - )

Cooked pasta today. It wasn't bad i think. ; - )

But otherwise i cook maggie noodles many times with lots of vegetables.

Cheers, Rohit

By Anonymous Rohit Malik, at 12:13 PM  

Congratulations for completing one year!

I also cooked pasta my own way like i cook maggie noodles and cooked it because my mother is not here. Otherwise i have less time for cooking in my life although i enjoy cooking but one can't do everything. ; - )

Cheers, Rohit

By Anonymous Rohit Malik, at 12:20 PM  

Happy first blogiversary! I hope you have many more.

By Anonymous Andrea, at 12:51 PM  

Sury and Cesar:

Happy Blog Anniversary to you both. It was a great write up :).

By Anonymous Luv2Cook, at 7:04 PM  

Thanks to everyone for your kind words. Meeting wonderful people like you has been one of the rewards of this adventure and we hope you'll stick around, for the journey is far from over. Pen and pad, folks! India and Peru have a lot more to offer ;)

By Anonymous Cesar and Sury, at 9:59 PM  

Happy Anniversary, er Birthday Sury and Cesar!!!!

XOXOX

By Anonymous Farid and Ji Young, at 8:35 AM  

Happy blog anniversary. Keep it up girl

By Anonymous Ashwini, at 8:29 AM  

Thanks, Farid and Ji Young! Glad you dropped by :)

Many thanks, Ashwini. Best wishes to you, too :)

By Anonymous Sury and Cesar, at 9:23 AM  

Happy (First) Blog anniversary, Sury and Cesar!!

By Anonymous sailaja, at 9:30 PM  

Hai Sury,
HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY.keep posting.
Vineela

By Anonymous vineela, at 10:17 AM  

Thank you, Sailu and Vineela :)

By Anonymous Sury and Cesar, at 7:15 PM  

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