How to Live Without a Refrigerator

One of the things that seemed like a big challenge was getting by with a reasonably nutritious diet without a refrigerator. I grieved that I would have to miss out not only stuff like chilled drinks and icecreams, but also not have access to storing vegetables and meats and dairy products. Further, leftovers would be a liability and likely go waste. However, as I went on, I discovered ways of getting around this, and now, several months down, I have a diet where I am not impacted in any way by not using a refrigerator. As I set about trying to put my discoveries down, I came across another wonderful post on this same topic over here. Here are some of the things I personally discovered along with some of the wisdom already shared in that post.

My challenges were butter, milk, cheese, eggs, stocking up on vegetables for a week or more, green leafy vegetables, stuff like mayo and other dressings, toppings, and other processed pastes, and of course, leftovers.

As I struggled initially with a rice, lentil, and omlet plan, I started out by by adding clarified butter (ghee) to my diet. Ghee does not need refrigeration. Later, I added butter which stays perfectly fine in a covered bowl of water, the water needing to be changed every couple of days. Also, it saves cooking time in most recipes as you dont have to wait for it to reach room temperature. For those not comfortable with the water on the butter (it really is just a drop or two), you can put it in a small wide mouthed jar, and slip the jar into a ziploc bag and put the bag in water.

Michael Pollan: In Defense of Food

Update (October 2011): I chanced upon this post as it was picking up a lot of traffic, and realized an update was needed. As the food posts grew, I decided to hive them off to a new blog, and keep this blog as a the catch-all for my random thoughts. 

It has been more than two years now since I started the food blog, Sita Ki Rasoi, and you can find it at Do visit, and subscribe to it by email or follow it using google friend connect.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what was going on in my mind when I published this post in this large font size. This was way before I learned that increasing font size results in higher time per page view! I have left the font size as is so that I am reminded of my journey as I go forward. Enjoy the post.
Did I Know This Was Where I Was Headed?

कभी नहीं !!!

Little had I known when I started posting my writing five years ago, more as a way of recording my writing than as a blog, that I would end up considering a food blog.

Thanks to the direction my life has taken, I have rediscovered food, from seeing it as a necessity to realizing its importance in the greater scheme of things। I have learned to be grateful for the lifeform that goes to sustain my life, and to enjoy and participate in the myriad celebration that surrounds the seemingly humble (and often considered mundane) task of eating.

Here is a talk at talks@google by Michael Pollan that overviews his newer book, In Defense of Food, demystifying what food and eating are really all about. Hope you like it, and go one to read his writing which you can find here. This video is an hour long including questions and answers at the end of the talk, but well worth the time.

Curry Leaf Powder

One of the first things that caught my attention with Andhra cuisine was the predominance of accompaniments. From papads to fried curd chili, pickles to salans, these guys really make a go of things. My favorite is the gun powder - a fiery powder that you mix with rice and ghee (or a dash of vegetable oil) and start your meal with. The Telugu's call it Podi.

Podis make for a quick meal with little effort, and at other times add life to a routine menu. Here is a wonderful curry leaf podi from sailu's kitchen. For a simpler and more junglee version, try it my way, sufficiently earthy, sublime and pure to be sent for the Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival over at Zaiqa.

My way
You will need
curry leaves 20 sprigs (two bunches, washed and dried and taken off the stalks))
dried red chili 1 (cut into four small pieces)
red chili powder 1/4 tsp
garlic 1 clove (chopped as fine as possible)
cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
veg oil 1/2 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp

heat oil in a pan or kadai, prefer teflon, once hot, add the cumin seeds and red chili , sizzle, add garlic, saute 30 seconds, add salt and red chili powder, add curry leaves, stir continuously till the curry leaves pick up all the masala and start to go dark grey-green and crisp, they will produce a dry leafy sound when tossed in the pan, cool, crush. make sure that the garlic chunks and the red chili pieces get crushed and evenly mixed. serve with a blob of ghee and hot rice.
I read a wonderful post on zenhabits in the form of a letter to the author's 3-year-old son. It encapsulated the basic stuff that one would want to pass on to the next generation.

For quite a while, I have been bubbling with the stuff that I am learning as life dishes out lessons like a tennis ball launcher, and other than a few close friends, haven't been able to share a lot of it. Reading this wonderful letter, I realized I could share it with my son, who is just finding words now. These will be on The Story of Parth blog and will be my rants on just about everything.

Here is the original Leo Babuta post.

And here is The Story of Parth.
Nice photos, not mine. Nice music, not mine. Nice thoughts. Mine. Adidas is a sneaker.

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