Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Travel on Tuesday to India

I thought of 100 different ways to properly describe how I felt after this past Travel on Tuesday to India, but I couldn’t really center my thoughts so I decided to do a rambling post.  My week went something like this…

Research began on Thursday after I added the cover graphic on Facebook showing the Taj Mahal.  I decided on focusing a craft around Henna Tattoos, and the peacock, India’s National Bird.  I put together samples.

By Saturday I was planning the meal.  I looked at countless recipes online, in cookbooks, and YouTube videos, and settled on a few that I loved mainly because of their simplicity and also because they appeared more forgiving if they didn’t turn out just right; Egg Biryani and Samosas.

On Monday I went to the international foods store near my house.  I was happy to see that they had a magnificent selection of spices and already prepared foods for me to use.  I picked up vegan samosas, sarson ka saag (mustard greens), naan bread, and kulfi (spiced ice cream) for dessert.   There was a wall of spices to choose from and my recipe called for many spices I didn’t normally keep.   A very nice lady helped me find one spice I was looking for - shahi jeera.

Tuesday – show time.  I laid out the table cloth; a material I bought from India town about 10 years ago, printed the flag, and set out the trinket of a mini Taj Mahal that a good friend mailed to us specifically for Travel on Tuesday. 

At 3:30 I started to cook.  At one point I had to take a step back.  The 3 kids were running around begging for my attention.  I had 4 burners going simultaneously – eggs boiling, rice steaming, sautéed onions and tomatoes, samosas frying, and bread warming in the oven.  The bags of spices with cut corners were strewn all over the counter top.  I pulled the eggs off and threw on another pot for the coconut barfi (fudge flavored with cardamom).
I brought the kids over and we talked about the food.  “Look in here.  This is basmati rice with a cheesecloth bag full of spices to give it that aroma you smell.  These onions will be mixed in with the rice when it is finished.  The little triangles frying are called samosas and they have different vegetables inside like peas, carrots, and corn.  This is coconut and condensed milk.  It will be a dessert called ‘Barfi’…”  Then I lost them.  That last word made them laugh uncontrollably.  “I’m not eating THAT!”  And they took off running again. 

I think I stood at the stove for 3 hours and managed one dish (Egg Biryani) and the Barfi. 

I planned to take many pictures, but only one turned out. 

We sat and ate dinner.  It was really delicious (and also forgiving as I expected!).   My daughter could not stop talking about all the things she learned watching me get ready for this Travel on Tuesday.  She talked about Henna Tattoos and the instructions on putting together the peacocks.  Little  A recently watched The Little Einsteins who also traveled to India, and he was talking about the elephants he saw on that episode. 

As I was sitting there listening to their table chatter I started to smile.  I was completely exhausted, but in a good way.  A really good way.  Those little people, the little walking sponges in my life were taking it all in and learning about the world.  The Diva started to bounce in her seat while eating her cardamom flavored ice cream. 

“I found India on the map!”

Nothing we do to teach children is ever in vain.  Nothing.

Egg Biryani
Coconut Barfi

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