Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reading Note: Picnicking

As the weather warms up eating outdoors is such a treat ( except when it rains but that is another story). My family frequently eats outside this time of year, surrounded my mother's beautiful garden and at work we tend to gravitate to the tables outdoors at the campus canteen.  So of course this interesting post on NPR food blog, The Salt, on the history of picnicking was well timed!

What was perhaps most interesting part of the article was learning that picnic starts as something the wealthy indulged in. These early picnics required servants and nice linen, a "movable feast" more than roughing it out in nature and eating out of sandwiches out of plastic containers.

In fact they sound an awful lot like modern Bhutanese picnics where people tend to bring their pots and pans and actually cook out in the open. And the food is always special occasion food made for a large number of people.  I was once told by a group of  students horrified by my suggestion that we save money by making sandwiches, that there was no point going on a picnic if there wasn't meat and if it wasn't grand. Here is a picture of me at that picnic where my students cooked up  the most delicious feast.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reading Notes: Portraits of grandmothers and their signature dish.

So, the blog Jezebel had a lovely post recently about a photography book focused on grandmothers from 58 different countries posing with their signature home cooked meal. The book was put together by photographer Gabriele Galimberti, the man behind the riveting photo essay of children around the world posing with their most prized possessions. Apparently he was inspired by his own grandmother's ravioli.

Scrolling through a more complete sample of his photos I am struck by how few of the dishes are familiar to me ( I admittedly plan to stay unfamiliar with the Caterpillar in tomato sauce!)  However what is perhaps most interesting to me is that glimpse these photos give into the kitchen where these women work their magic.

My Bhutanese grandmother died before we were born but my Swiss grandmother cooked many wonderful meals for us.  Our least favorite was probably cow tongue, which was baked whole and looked very much like a cow tongue even as she sliced it up for us.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fresh from the garden!

Reading Notes : Six Basic Tastes of Tibetan Medicine

From : " Tibetan Medical Dietary Book: Vol 1 Potency & Preparation of Vegetables" by Dr. Yangbum Gyal, Clinical Research Department  Men- Tsee- Khang ( Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of H.H., the Dalai Lama)

Sweet: Something that is tasty and clings to your mouth and make you want more like sugar, candy, cookies , ice cream, grapes, molasses, honey, etc.
Sour: Something that set the teeth on edge , pucker the face and make the mouth watery when it touches the tongue like lemon, orange, Kyuru ( Emblica officinalis), seabuck thron, raw grapes, curd, butter milk, etc. 
Salty:  It creates hot sensation and produces saliva when it touches the tongue. For e.g., salt, natron, etc.
Bitter: It taste bitter, clears the foul mouth smell and does not want to taste more when anything bitter touches the tongue. For e.g. Bitter gourd, dandelion, coffee, etc
Hot:  Something that burns the mouth, oozes out tears and produce heat when it touches the tongue, like chili, garlic, onion, Gingiber officinale, Piper longum etc.
Astringent: Something that give a weak sense of taste and sticks to the tongue and palate when in touches the tongue like, raw banana.