india day three: can we please talk about the food, and how I’m ruined for life?

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On the plane ride home from Dublin, my father was devastated. There were many heaved sighs and a burrowing of a brow, and we look at one another and knew precisely what was wrong: we were ruined. Never would we consume a scone or a piece of chicken like we did in Ireland. Our lamentations ran deep, and for a good two weeks after our return we couldn’t even conceive of eating a piece of chicken or picking at a scone whose texture resembled that of sawdust.

When I woke this morning I felt something similar. Back home, the Indian food I’ve eaten {with the rare exception} is heavy and tends to be drenched in sauce that is either violently over-seasoned or woefully bland. Rarely have I had a dish where the marriage of texture and taste has been a harmonious one. A good friend told me yesterday that Indian food isn’t about the pomp and fanfare of presentation, rather it’s refinement of a dish and a celebration of a variety of spices and flavors. He calls India his motherland, and he sent me a slew of dishes I had to try — everything from butter chicken in Agra to charred naan in the North, and believe me when I say that every single meal I’ve had in India has been a complete and utter triumph.

I mean, where else can I have a dish piled with carbs and have it be so distinct and delicious? From chicken biryani {basmati rice seasoned with saffron, mace and other spices paired with fried chicken} to lightly-fried samosas filled with potato, peas and spices, every dish is a symphony on a plate. I remember reading a quote from a chef who said that eating vegetarian in New York is a travesty, while in India it’s a complete and utter celebration — and I couldn’t agree more.

With the exception of my horrific reaction to dairy {the lovely paneer, dressed in a light tomato and onion sauce, killed me softly with its song and then wrecked havoc on my stomach}, I’ve sampled pav bhaji, curries, the EXQUISITE NAAN IN MANY VARIATIONS, and a slew of vegetarian dishes, which are making the return to the U.S. an increasingly difficult one.

And the brief lesson we received about cooking MY BELOVED NAAN? Priceless.

In short, I’M RUINED FOR ALL INDIAN FOOD. {WAIL}

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10 thoughts on “india day three: can we please talk about the food, and how I’m ruined for life?

  1. Unfortunately, my foreign travel is limited to Mexico and Canada (which doesn’t even count) but this is making me think I need to get get on a plane to somewhere else ASAP. Everyone I know who travels has great food stories.

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  2. ” A good friend told me yesterday that Indian food isn’t about the pomp and fanfare of presentation, rather it’s refinement of a dish and a celebration of a variety of spices and flavors.”

    So true, so true….

    And well-made Indian food is laden with flavours but not spices.

    I am glad you are enjoying food from my homeland.

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  3. tell me about it. the closest I’ve gotten to India was Malaysia where there is a huge Indian community. and the food, oh the food, it’s so delicious. and yes, I’m somewhat ruined too. the good thing is that you can find good and authentic Indian food elsewhere. I don’t know about the US, but I had amazing Indian food in London (not in Brick Lane!!!!) that my Indian friends agreed was as good as back home. and I had some pretty spectacular Indian food here in the UAE. so there is hope my friend xoxo

    ps: sorry that we didn’t manage to meet up in Dubai. I got your message too late and am also too sick to travel at the moment…

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    1. Yes! There are indeed a handful of decent restaurants in NY {especially in Jackson Heights, Queens}, but I guess there’s something really magical about being in a country and experiencing the food and the pride firsthand.

      So sad we didn’t get a chance to connect, but someday soon. Feel better, love. xoxox

      On Sun, May 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM, love.life.eat wrote:

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