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Archive for December, 2008

The Tilted Pan

Dear Readers,

Hello, after so many months. This is my long delayed update:

I am no longer a New York resident, a Brooklyn dweller, or a seeker of Manhattan’s best sambar. I moved out of my apartment, with its wide front stoop and its rusting, sun spotted fire escape, cherished because it was our private outdoor space, to Bombay, a city where space is just as limited and privacy even more precious.

Boston to Baltimore to Brooklyn to Bombay; I arrived on August 29 and I’m here to stay. While I didn’t write very much in the months before I left, I did spend time with my friends and brother and I spent time baking: salty chocolate-chip cookies; a peach mascarpone tart; brownies; key-lime meltaways; a fluffy, layered coconut cake. I suppose I was attempting to say goodbye- to my friends by feeding them sweets, to easily available baking ingredients and implements, and to the agency and ease with which I moved around my own kitchen, New York, and all that was familiar to me.

I’m starting a new blog because I want an online home to record the change in my life. In one sense The Tilted Pan will be more of the same: adventures in eating out and cooking at home, but through these tales, I’m hoping to chronicle my life in a new country and document how an American, a foreigner, an ex-pat, or, to put it simply, an outsider, like me, makes India her proper home.

I’ve visited Bombay innumerable times but actually living here means accommodating the nuances of daily life as well as the more obvious changes. Instead of living with a male friend from college and a female from Craigslist in a Brooklyn apartment not more than ten minutes away from the subway and five grocery stores, I currently live with my grandmother, a sweet, slow and slightly senile Katchi lady, in a big joint-family bungalow that also houses two great-uncles’ families, three kitchens, unexplored attic rooms, and pigeons that nest in the ceiling. In Indian kitchens, most stoves are lit by turning on the gas source by rotating the knob and then using a lighter to start the flame. This method of stove lighting might be prevalent in kitchens throughout the world, but learning how to light a stove with a lighter was step number one in my Indian kitchen assimilation process.

I hope you will join me on my journey of cooking and eating my way into adjustment, even if you don’t live in Bombay and can’t make much use of the restaurant reviews. I’ll be posting recipes, photos, and stories- really, whatever tells of my interactions with the city as well as its food.

Janki

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