Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Curry: It's What's For Dinner

Tomato curry.
Aloo (potato) curry.
Gobi (cauliflower) curry.
Cabbage (I don't know what that is in Hindi) curry.
Mixed Veg curry.
It all contains chili powder, onions, green chilies, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, salt, masala (spice mixture). And it ALL TASTES THE SAME.
I've been eating it every day for the past 20 months and I think I've reached my breaking point.
Whether we are eating at home or eating in a restaurant, it's all the same. Five star hotel or road side dhaba, it's all the same.The same combination of spices in every dish virtually ensures every dish will taste the same. I'm to the point where it doesn't matter what my cook prepares, or what I order while out, I know exactly what to expect. The only decision is: Rice or Roti? And really, is that a decision? To either eat steamed, flavorless rice or dry, flavorless chapati (flat bread). Either way, it's just a vessel to push the same ole curry down your gullet.
I miss the variety of food options in the US. Instead of saying "Do you want potato curry or tomato curry?" it was "Do you want Italian or Mexican?" Options are available on every end of the spectrum. If you're not sure what to prepare for dinner, having a simple pound of chicken breast provides so many options. Do you make stir fry? Do you stuff it with spinach and cheese? Do you bake it with honey and garlic? Do you deep fry it? The possibilities are endless. What do you do with the same chicken in India? You throw it in the pressure cooker with chili powder, onions, green chilies, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, salt, and masala. Then you make the tough decision. Rice or Roti? And you shovel it in. And it tastes like every else you ate that week. And everything else you'll eat next week. And the week after.
It really brings to light the expression: "Living to Eat? or Eating to Live?" If you put an Indian dish in front of me these days, I'll eat only enough to keep my stomach quiet for a few hours, until I get to do it all over again. Rinse and Repeat.
Please don't misunderstand. I am exponentially thankful for ability to sit down to a hot meal whenever I choose, especially when I see so many people daily that do not have that luxury. But man, I'm maxed out on curry.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back It Up!

In the US, only large trucks will have a back up horn. You know the one. The BEEP BEEP BEEP of the garbage truck at 5am.
In India, pretty much everything with four wheels will have a back up signal. Not the typical BEEP BEEP BEEP you might expect. Instead you'll here something with more of a melody, such as The Wedding March, Pomp and Circumstance, and a wide variety of Christmas carols. From the Popular music front, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" is a common tune. I even heard J-Lo's "On The Floor" the other day.
I find it insanely entertaining, although somewhat annoying, depending on the driver's taste in music.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Between The Sheets

Fitted bedsheets in India are akin to unicorns and leprechauns. You might believe they are out there somewhere, but can't find any physical evidence to support their existence. I've shopped at small local stores, big department stores, home stores, even the place we purchased our 8" mattress from did not have a single fitted sheet. I've purchased unstitched sheet sets, only to take them to my tailor who had no concept of what a fitted sheet was. They'll stitch snaps on the ends of the pillowcases so the pillows don't fall out, but can't do the same for the bed sheets. Even those handy elastic bands with clips on the end you can buy at Kmart for like $2 are no where to be found. When buying sheet sets, you get one flat sheet, and two pillow cases.
I still like to make the bed in the same fashion I did while living in the US. I like a sheet below me, and a sheet above me, between me and the comforter. Indians will just sleep on the bed sheet with a blanket over them. In the morning, the blanket is folded up and put away. It lends itself to sleeping on the bed rather then in the bed, like I'm used to. My husband, on the other hand, has some phobia of sleeping between the sheets. Besides claiming he'll get too warm, he's paranoid about getting tangled up in them and being trapped in the bed.
Unfortunately, no matter how well you tuck the flat sheet under the mattress, you generally end up sleeping directly on the mattress with the sheet bunched up beneath you and you end up having to remake the entire bed every morning from the bottom up. Such a drag.