A food writer based in southern California, Randy Clemens is best known as the author of The Sriracha Cookbook. This 2011 cookbook is dedicated to cooking with a southeast Asian sauce named after its Thai town of origin, Si Racha. In the U.S., the chile-and-garlic sauce is frequently referred to as “rooster sauce,” after the bird logo on the most popular brand, made by the California-based Huy Fong Foods. In recent years, Sriracha has become so trendy that, in 2010, Bon Appétit magazine dubbed it […]
Food & Travel
The year is 1509. The ailing ruler of Vijayanagara, Viranarasimha of the Tuluva dynasty is on his deathbed. He wants his infant son to succeed him. Appaji, the prime minister, has been given secret orders to kill Krishnadeva, the king’s able step-brother, who might come in the way of such dynastic ambitions. Appaji assures the king that the deed will be done, but he sends Krishnadeva away to safety. While wandering in disguise, Krishnadeva chances upon the beautiful Chinnadevi who is performing at Virupaksha temple. […]
Praveen Anand is a Chennai-based chef trained in western cooking. Today, his passion is authentic South Indian food. His embrace of the traditional is significant in a nation that has quietly begun discarding some of its food customs. In his two-decade long career, he has researched foods of various communities in Southern India bringing dishes from each of them to a wider audience. The fruits of his labor are evident at Dakshin, listed as one of top 20 restaurants in Asia in the authoritative Miele […]
“Eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath,” a Shakespearean character entreats actors in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Alliums are aromatics, eaten precisely for their smelly qualities. But what if you’re forbidden onions and garlic for life? Some vegetarians in India are required, for religious reasons, to shun onions and garlic. They have come to rely on a potent resin as a replacement: asafetida. Read more about this spice here. html.
Most readers with an interest in world history are familiar with Ireland’s seven-year Potato Famine, which lasted from 1845 until 1852. Fewer know of the catastrophic 1943 famine that claimed up to three million lives in Bengal, an eastern Indian state and then British colony. In the fall of 1942, Bengal’s rice crop failed following a devastating cyclone. As World War ii raged on its eastern border with the Japanese invasion of Burma, Bengal went on to lose its source of rice imports. Despite this crisis, […]
We humans use a combination of our five senses — sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste — to navigate the everyday world. Among those who operate without the benefit of one or more of these senses, the blind and the deaf have our immediate sympathy. But what of a person who cannot smell — an anosmic? Can we even begin to fathom her frustration? Smell is an undervalued sense. When we can drink in the scents and odors around us, it is hard to appreciate […]
For over a decade, during the Independent Activities Period between semesters, MIT has offered a non-credit class on “old food’’ from the region around the Mediterranean Sea. The idea came from conversations history department chair Anne McCants, who teaches the class, had with a colleague about how little their students knew about daily life in the past,’’ she says. “Both of us liked to cook and I was especially interested as well in nutrition and health of past populations, as well as the productive capacity […]
“Please teach me Indian Vegetarian cooking! I will bring ingredients and pay you $10/hr for your trouble. I would like to know about your culture as well.” In 2008 Nani Power, Virginia-based writer and aficionado of spicy Indian food, impulsively placed this ad on Craig’s list. Much to her delight, more than a dozen Indian immigrants who lived within driving distance of her home responded. Many of her hosts offered her ginger-flavored chai, milky black tea, as a welcome beverage. Over time, some shared their […]
Swati Banerjee barely knew how to cook when she came to this country five years ago from India. Now the Boston University biochemistry doctoral student always cooks dinner after she gets home from the lab. Leftovers are for the next day’s lunch. All of this and her other kitchen adventures are recorded on her blog, The Whistling Pressure Cooker. Read the article here. html. pdf.
On any given school day, one industrial kitchen in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, is astir well before dawn. In this food factory run by the Akshaya Patra Foundation, workers prepare hot lunches for over one hundred thousand children in the city’s state-aided schools. Inside the plant the preparation proceeds like clockwork. By seven a.m. special containers of a paella-like tomato rice are loaded onto the waiting food trucks. I savor a plateful for breakfast before boarding one of these vehicles. Despite the city’s chaotic rush-hour traffic, […]