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Hunger management

It all began in Italy. The mantra with which life was lived said, “Gelato every night”. True to the mantra, scoops of Gelato went missing every night from the shops of Italy. Multiply that by 12, and “N” amount of scoops were never seen again where N is a very large number. Gnocchi, pizza and pasta were attacked with the same passion. So, was the Italian version Coke. Mozzarella was wolfed down as if it was an international criminal. Back home from Italy, more (domestic) flying ensued and rich food was consumed again. Once at home, more silly food choices were made.

All the food has left blog owner way fatter than she left for Italy. The easy food (i.e. food that is served and not cooked by self/eater) also made her somewhat of sloth. Last 7 days have been tough on her. To avoid cooking she has been alternating between Maggi Instant noodles and Popcorn every SINGLE night for meal. And 2 times on weekends. Her palate is not able to come to the terms with the sudden change in fortune. Her friends think she is out of food. And out of money (which might be true, but then she spends $10 on coffee every 4th day and considers produce an expense to be avoided). Her friends decided to help her. They offered her food. She is grateful to her friends and moved by their generosity. Very very much (which makes her sad, as school is nearing end). She is also very embarrassed. She finally got some tomatoes and carrots and paneer and onion and ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk and fruit juice and milk to salvage her reputation. Hopefully, she makes good use of today’s shopping.

Stuffed peppers, potaotes, food and non food

After an entire week of eating nothing but PB&J sandwich for lunch and dinner, I knew looking at the Smuckers bottle would not be a pleasant sight. It was half finished. Obviously, of course it had to. Peanut butter unlike Amul butter can be had in copious amounts as far as my taste buds and foolish lipo-recognizers are concerned. Result – half bottle of butter-jam finished. In one week. Ideally, do not butter, jams adorn the sides of doors of fridges for months till end, at least one month? I do not know why I was expecting Smuckers to surpass me by my lifetime, but the jolt was enough to get me to kitchen to cook for something real.

I am one of those – reluctant cooks, the people who do not get heard much on internet. At least, I for one fail to hear their noise umm.. voice. All I hear is sizzles of food blogs. I used to proudly declare in school, “I don’t know how to cook.” I would have still be proud of the same and reared the rebel in me more but when I look around myself, my generation suddenly seems to be born with spatula and olive oil. Making me more doubtful of myself. Am I lagging behind or am I years ahead of them?

Anyways, that distraction apart, I focussed on what could be cooked. It is important to know what could be cooked, if you are in my situation. You cook for yourself, there are no flat-mates taking turns at cooking, and you are a sloth when it comes to cooking. So, you buy vegetables in puny amounts and just two or three of them. So, of course my fridge is not as stocked as it used to be last semester. I had bought green peppers/capsicum on this trip becuase potato-peppers would be nice change and I had bought zucchinis because I am suddenly in love with them. And of course bag of potatoes followed me home, it is the most loyal food-item you could work with besides rice. So, peppers, zucchini, potatoes and an intention to cook. What could be made out of this. Of course the plain old peppers-potato for which peppers were bought in the first place but voice in the heart said Naaaaah!

I was then reminded of Sunday Cook-a-thon by my friend Arnab who has just recovered from his milestone birthday on Ze Valentine’s Day! How Special! Happy Birthday Arnab. So, with his help and special tip and very timely response to my SOS calls, I succeeded in making myself a real meal.

Of course, now that I was making a big deal of it, I decided to photographically evidence it. I do not know how or why this idea came into my mind, but I did! So, my very firsht food blog entry. :D Kavi would be so proud. She is one of the people who could teach me how to actually do stuff in kitchen.

So, without further delay, here they are, my thoughts in order of cooking (i.e. when I was cooking and not when thoughts were getting cooked)
(Photos are not great, but they are not the point either. I am the point, and I am great)

  1. Enter into kitchen. Wow! There already is a spread. Seems like my flat-mate is also planning to cook in a big way.
    Flatmate too has big plans!
    I had almost fifth of mind to snag some of her stuff. I did not. Good sense prevailed. Oh! but I did snag the knife she had used to cut her stuff, but well then technically the knife belongs to “the house”. So, I have clean conscience so far. I would towards the end pluck and use 4 leaves of cilantro, BUT I WAS offered to do that. So, we can rest in peace, I did not have to resort to theft to fill up my belly.

  2. So, I am using boiled potatoes, corn, zucchini (of course, no?) onion. And aah! Pepper :)
    Veggies I used!

  3. Onions are fried in olive oil, corn cob is thawed in boiling water.
    Step 2

  4. Zucchinis are thrown in and green chillies too follow with ginger and garlic. I have noticed these days, I am replacing red chilli powder with thin slices of green chillies.
    Of course, the photo is staged to get the pair of scissors in to tell you all about my brilliance. I use them to cut chillies as I use peeler to get thin layers of ginger.
    Step 3

  5. And tomatoes, and corn!
    I tried to keep the amount of stuffing low. Per habit, I end up making more of everything. I can’t help it. So, I consciously decided to cook only small amount of vegetable stuffing.
    Step 4

  6. And mashed potatoes go in. I am excited. I even put in some cheese. I intentionally did not photograph the cheese. It was simple Kraft cheese not some fancy one. You would have realized some of these photos have been carefully crafted, like this one to get the Seasoning Salt, and pepper and oregano in. Ooh! that was not done to tell ya they were used while cooking but I think I am growing vain. Well so, we can say these photos ARE serving dual purpose. Also, it was here, that I realized the stuffing would fall short of what is needed. Oh well.
    Step 5

  7. So, I massage the inside and outside of hollow seeded pepper with olive oil as per Arnab’s advice. The stuffing goes in, the top of pepper goes back on top of it. And the whole package goes in an oven preheated to 350F.
    Step 6

  8. Now, that I was getting so fancy, there was simply no stopping me. I cut slices of boiled potato spread some oil on them and sprayed some salt. This idea was given to me yesterday by another ex flat-mate, Jasleen who too should be acknowledged as one of the people who could teach me about stuff in kitchen. This potato had to had some of my touch. So, I threw some oregano and minced garlic on it. Now, this guy totally hates me for buying frozen vegetables and minced garlic. He somewhat understands convenience and cheapness of frozen vegetables for a grad student but he denies to understand need of bottled minced garlic. Well, just to let you know Ed, minced garlic bottles also have this watery garlicy thing which came in very handy while casually dropping some garlic and garlic-water over potatoes. Anyways, Ed also tends to be high-maintenance when it comes to cooking.
    Step 7


  9. Things come out of the oven, looking mmm mmm and yum yum. I had kept them in oven as long as they needed to be in there. Kept checking “if they were there yet”. I guess it took pepper some 30 minutes and potatoes some 15 minutes.
    Step 8
    Oh! Oh! Pepper was also sprinkled with cheese on top of it before it went into the oven. The molten cheese looked awesome.
    Step 9

    And peoplefolk! the aroma was totally awesome. It was a successful meal.

But during the whole procedure, I got a few questions in my mind. So, people who actually take photograph of their food at every step, how do they do it. Sometimes, hands are wet, sometimes they are oily, sometimes they have mashed potatoey stuff sticking on to them. Washing and drying hands before every camera click almost tired me.
And of course, you also run in a chance of having your camera smell like an onion, or garam masala or worse, cauliflower. How do you guys do it? Do you have separate camera – one for food related photos, other for rest of the stuff/life. Even though I can’t answer that question, I am extremely thankful that you do it, whatever is the motivation. People like me benefit a lot. We the ones, who are adept at ruining something simple (yet profound) like tea. Well, who am I to say “we”, I have never heard rest of us. So, me. Me is confused but still thankful. And full of goodness too.

This meal was followed by Klondike’s dark chocolate ice cream.

Irony

Plain simple life is what I lead.
The plainness and simplicity of it does not mean, it is non-hectic or smooth in any way. In fact, it is more hectic than various calendars or schedulers or my own mind can contain.
Plain simplicity however means that I am generally out-of-topics to talk about and I marvel at the people who can speak non stop. Of course, I can discuss school work, but one of my previous lives have taught me enough not to do that and in fact stops me from doing that.

And, when I am made to confront and undergo certain situations, the first and the most nagging thought that pushes its way through my mind is, “But this happens only to other people or people on TV”. And I am neither. And such moments are thick. Every second passes really s l o w l y, in fact refuses to.

To recap, I was doing my laundry tonight. And, I generally do laundry in nights. And generally, I choreograph these nights to be the nights when lots of submissions are due. So, I pop in the clothes into washer and dryer really late and I have to stay up to retrieve them and hence in bargain, I study, rather than giving in and sleep. I can’t say for sure at all, but lets delve into some maths, really elementary. I have spent around 15 months in this country. So roughly, lets say, around 30 or so laundry nights. And in none of these 30 times, did my load of may-leak-colors and require-cold-water and have dark hues ever accounted for more than a half or even a third of the washer capacity. I always feel bad when I stuff this load into the washer. Not only it is a a waste of my $2.5 (the money which would have otherwise funded my coffee, in that coffee shop in that building where without fail, I always get the coffee I did not want or request and is expensive, the few times the original request has been repeated, the money was politely refunded after lot of fumbling through with the bill/cash machine which always breaks down, delaying me for my meeting. This happens with such a regularity, that I no longer care as long as my cup has some caffeine in it), but also water and electricity wastage. The washer runs for a full load wasting too much water and energy. And on every laundry night, I have done my bit to destroy the environment a little more.

Of course, it irritates me and so much so that in my last shopping binge, I actually bought clothes which would go towards this load. Well, I think it was a perfect shopping criteria. To say it made me happy to see a full load of may-leak-colors and require-cold-water and have dark hues today for the first time in my life, would be an understatement. In fact, I did a victory dance. Of course, no one else washes clothes in vampire hours. “Full value for money”, I thought to myself, water chugging down into the bin did not make me feel guilty. Till, a friend of mine complained that I promised to call him yesterday and did not keep my promise. Uh-Oh, some thought bubble bursted. And, I woke up my roommate who had not slept entire day yesterday (I think I am a bad influence on her), grabbed her very cool iPhone, and sprinted down the stairs, two at a time.

And there, it was. Moment stopped, I am neither person on TV or the other person. This can’t be possibly happening. A very confused me with a totally confused phone motionless for five minutes. The phone does not work. :’( Room heater was employed, till my throat could not be any more dehumidified. Now dismantled phone lies near the laptop heat vent. Maybe, I should throw it in the dryers in which the whites are tumbling right now.

My hand, very accustomed to phone is feeling the loss already. What good can being phoneless bring and I can’t buy a phone till I have mulled for hours on end, the very hours that I don’t have? I am also expecting an important call on Monday, something regarding the trouble I got into because of my phone. This, anyways, was not the solution I was looking for.

Aarghness happening, I feel worse now. What an irony. And I am not even one of those people.

Yet another use of my education

Either people living in the apartment above mine are deliberately trying to annoy me (and being successful at that) or they are just plain annoying.

For last 30 minutes, I am being subjected to extremely loud and distracting music with very catchy beats. I forgive them for this act. I might have unknowingly done the same to others, though I am very cautious when i play music. But, when I start singing… that’s a whole new level. Hence, they are purged off their music sins.

But what really is unpardonable is their act of landing with a THUMP on the ground. People living above me, this act can’t be overlooked. Numerous times my heart has leapt into my mouth, so strong your impact is. I am never quite sure if it is a natural calamity or people-living-above-me-made calamity. You have to have to stop. Especially at 4 AM. What in the whole world are you even doing? Do you toss obelisks on ground to pass time and have fun? Seriously, I would not be surprised if you come crashing into my house through the roof. In fact, I expect it. And as a woman full of vengeance, I have strewn floor of my room with lots and lots of stuff. Sure, it is inconvenient for me, when I go away from my computer but you see, that is rare, very rare. The day you fall in my room, all the things are gonna rebound and land on you. You would be lying in the debris of wood & paint and books & print outs.

You have been warned. And very severely at that.

The fine art of art and around

I visited Denver Art Museum last week and a very fine place it is, I must admit. The museum is divided into 2 buildings – North building and newer Hamilton building. While North building houses (traditional) art in the traditional way from all over the world, the newer building is (in 1 word) jazzy.

The architect, Daniel Libeskind, drew inspiration from the beautiful Rockies while designing this building. The building being an interplay of different forms of geometry gives rise to so many various angles, slanting walls, unorthodox corners and different forms to space that you would hardly expect from a building. The art pieces too have been selected with utmost care. The art does the great justice to the spot it has been assigned and that very spot also brings out the best in the art. A few of the art pieces being chosen while the building was still under construction, so that the building can be customized for them and each other engage in a symbiosis of beauty.

This has a very strong and profound affect on the visitors. I, for one, felt dizzy at certain places, had the pulse quicken at other, temples throbbed at yet another, and had a greater visual intake at some. This was tightly integrated with what was on display and added to the meaning and beauty of art and the integration of art and space. Still, it was modern art on display, and some exhibits were totally lost on me. I am not a connoisseur and not even a know-er, so the blue painted square and the radials were just … just a blue square and radials to me.

All this experimentation with the space reminded me of my university’s Art Museum called Angles where no two walls meet at right angles. Climbing up and down the staircase is most peculiar and disorienting feeling. I feel, the Angles’ staircase is thus so that you can’t run up and down as it is no longer a realm of familiarity. It makes you take each step in consideration and slows you down so that you can look around and get a feel of the museum in a better way.

If you are around Denver, then do not miss DAM (Denver Art Museum) at all. Right now, it is exhibiting Vicki and Kent Logan’s art collection, out of which 3 were my favorites in the museum. I shall write about them later on, but I will stop goading about all the museums I have ever paid a visit right now.

On what a pair of stilettos can achieve

I have always (again always) been a sneakers girl. That is the only thing that would fit my feet, my life, and my height which have been broad, simple and over towering in the order. I have been fiercely proud of my sneakers too. What else can assist you to run 50 errands in a day, adjust to your restlessness, impatience, long walks, cover and warm your feet…Stilettos, I discovered yesterday!

I moved and set up an entire house yesterday, from house hunting to bone china crockery, everything was achieved under one day. All done in one day and on a pair of stilettos. I had highly miscalculated the value of these tender yet strong things. :) I realize that [thanks to mum] I am gonna be strong, just the way I like to be, whatever it is. Also, a quick thanks to parents for the financial assistance, things could have been much worse otherwise.

The house is all set and ready. Now, I am just waiting for friends to drop by. And, in case you are wondering how much does it take to set up a house … 750ish and depending on other things a lot of heartache or lot of gleeful satiety.

Of spring and its effects, & of ice cream and cultures, and of books

The days keep getting more and more beautiful.
The warmth and cool breeze is something to experience after all that snow and cold (that can melt and vaporize your face away – something one would expect the heat to do it but extreme cold can also achieve)
So, the nice day bearing 80F stamp all over it makes it irresistible to be indoors. I duly and obediently took a stroll with a book; I am currently reading, in hand. Now those, who have spent a lot of time with me know I rarely ever leave house without keys/mobile/wallet. And the beauty and happiness all around me inspires me … to shop. I immediately follow my instincts which lead me to Barnes and Nobles. From there, I go off to Borders and finally buy something.

And all this while was not spent only enjoying but also apologizing to Emily Bronte, E.M. Forster and various others authors I have read ( but could not recollect :$ ). I love you and I loved your work, I really did, but pardon me when I thought that you overstretched it while mentioning how winters would make an invalid out of a man. Someone in the family would become sick with undiagnosable, someone would be “white as sheet” and then spring would break and picnic baskets would magically get prepared and small clearing would be found in woods and sheets be spread and so would be the food. The handkerchiefs would drop strategically and so on, and the “white a sheet” person would get the color back and that it would be great joyous family occasion.

I loved all that stuff, don’t get started on the how above written is terrible mish mash but I just could not understand how month of March could be just sooo heaven sent.

I understand now and I apologize.


Some days back someone just mentioned that one of his Turkish (?, not sure now) friend just could not eat cinnamon rolls here or any cookie or dessert which had a hint of cinnamon. In fact, it drove her crazy. Reason, in her culture cinnamon was used extensively for savory foods. And therefore cinnamon in desserts would make her go nuts. I experienced that when I ate a red bean (chili/kidney bean/rajmah/whatever) ice cream. It tastes ok, it is less creamy than an ice cream and yet not like those frozen candies. It tasted perfectly ok, it was an ice cream made of red beans and also had few beans sticking (hidden) inside it. Bonus! Everything was good, but I just could not eat it. I faced a mental block, I could not savor it at all, & it remained uneaten. On the other hand, I really liked the green tea ice cream (Mochis), no mental block there, not at all.













Mochi - Green Tea Icecream

The One that I liked
The One that I liked!

Azuki bean Icecream

The One that I didn't like
The One that I didn’t like!

The red bean ice cream reminded me of a particular incident from “the Magic Faraway tree” by Enid Blyton. This tree is gigantic and magical and it has a magical land on top of it hidden with clouds ( the clouds part is how I envision it). The characters ( Moonface, Tinks, and some children—> my poor poor memory) can climb upto this magic land (but have to be come down the tree before a certain time). Once they get into this land where they can get ice cream of any flavor they want, absolutely any and every flavor that is or is not, is available! One of them does not believe, orders a sardine ice cream and hey presto! gets it.

I, ahem, felt same.

Some ideas

A list of possible categories of discussion in an online message board for community (that I came up with) :

Daily tips and tricks
Auto tricks
Internet and computer tricks
Politricks

:P Sounds stupid, but am laughing by myself, for myself, of myself.

Advent of 2007

Hoping everyone a good year ahead (not the tire, but to them as well)

This winter break went exceptionally well, something which I had not been anticipating at all. Well, leaving Pune and the friends was the hardest thing this year. And having them missing and lacking those times had made me all blue-sy . But I got to meet my very own people this break. Not all of them, I would absolutely love that but at the same time it is very tough to manage that kind of feat, given we must be 15-20 of us. :)

So, a week in Raleigh, NC where I met 5 of my dear friends was absolutely thrilling, not to mention I skied for the very first time. I wasn’t good at it but I was not exceptionally bad at it either. I was not afraid of it but at the same time I was also not very comfortable with the speed a ski gathers. But, it was big big fun.

This was how it was



The fun did not stop here. I returned from Raleigh feeling ultra bad to leave the friends and good time back. It was the day of Christmas and I mocked myself to be alone on that day. Only to find a gift for me. :) It filled me with glee. I opened up the parcel like a hungry wolf and almost cried in disbelief. It was a leather overcoat from a friend – my ex roommate of the wonderful times in Pune. This was the same leather coat I borrowed from her several times in Pune, just because I liked it on me. 3 weeks before Christmas, I mentioned to her that as the temperature went sub zero for the first time in my life it reminded me of her coat. Little did I imagine, she would do this. I had not known that she would do a Santa to me.

@Dox ppl : now, the powers of Magica have been official transferred to me.
Well, I strutted around in her coat which now is mine.

And, if you think magic of this winter break stopped here for me, you are very wrong, because another Pune friend of mine paid me a visit.For one, I cooked a delicious dinner of which I am very proud of myself (since it was once in 100 years kind of thing) and then I had a whale of time looking around my state and not to forget some good meals I got to tuck. There are more photos and more stories (mostly scary ones) but later.. phew

Defragmenting

Defragmenting the computer was as colorful as ever but I missed the thrill that mom brought to it. She loved those colored rectangles swapping here and there in a random pattern and would gaze at them for quarter hours on end :)

We would leave the computer to defragment under care and supervision of mom and would call her every 2 hours(used to sprint from my class to a shop outside to call home, Didn’t have cellphone those days) when she would report the no. of bad sectors and various other percentages and the situations which made her drop the work at hand and run from kitchen to room to check the computer.

Those deliberate long thoughtful pauses, “Umm.. because of this and this, I conclude that it is absolutely normal. Don’t worry.”

Those defragmentations used to be talk of the lunch when mom would narrate tales of it.
However, the active particiaption of mom in defragmentation was not more than twice or thrice but then we defragmented the memory once every decade.

Those were the days but it is interesting how users/non-users who do not deal with computers much can become so excited and interested by it.
More thought and work can be put there, I would be wearing my thinking cap when I get time.

Meanwhile, my current room-mate has declared that I have lost my mind because I keep on linking things with terms such as usability & interaction and of late started using terms as human-ghost interaction (for halloween), creative imagination (for coming up with a halloween costume at the last moment).
I call her the current roommate with all due love, respect, friendship and no offence meant, somehow roomate always conjures up image of Aanya and Kavi for me. And in probability, always will.


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