Thursday, March 01, 2007

giant gaping hole in my food knowledge

as some of you know, i'm a part-time vegetarian. it's not something i'm strict about and i don't really mind eating animals. i just don't like all the weird processing and steroids and chemicals that go into mass-marketed animal food. and i abhor the government/economic model that drives our corn-based food economy which is central to so much of that. so i don't eat meat most of the time.

one of the ways i pull that off in cities like nashville, tn (where i am this week) or other southern locales where every other restaurant is a BBQ joint is to eat indian or chinese food a lot. almost every chinese restaurant in the country will sub in tofu to any dish on the menu. and indian restaurants accommodate vegetarianism with a greater degree of variety than any other food places i've been. yeah, i can always get a salad. but thanks to the damn atkins-ists out there, you can't buy a salad these days that doesn't include a chopped steak or whole fried chicken on top. and they don't charge you $5 less if you opt to get it without meat. you have to pay for the meat you're not eating. i hate to sound like a skinflint, but if i'm not eating yardbird, i don't wanna pay for it. that's the whole point of the part-time vegetarianism thing. i don't want to contribute my money to a system i disagree with so much.

so here's the rub: i know the finer points of difference between enchiladas, flautas, burritos, tacos, taquitos, and gorditas. i can distinguish between farfalle, spaghetti, gnocchi, manicotti, cannelloni, and tortellini. i am LOST with indian food. i think the language barrier is part of the problem, but the total lack of a teacher is also part of it. i would be able to figure it out myself if i could make sense of the language, but most of the dishes are named using the phonetic spellings of hindi words. it's so non-standardized and i am so ignorant of the basic principles that i'm unable to make any headway. i don't know where to start in order to learn.

anyone wanna teach me indian food basics? i'll buy you dinner if you'll let me soak up knowledge and nibble off your plate. heck, bring a guest. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(hand raised)

I would be happy to help. I have been teaching myself Hindi and I have a lot of good recipes from my adopted dad whom I had to translate them from.

And of course, I have a few English-translated cookbooks in the pantry.

And I will take you spice-shopping and give you my recipe for garam masala that I conglomerated using Gurdip Sandhu's recipe - may God shine on her face.