Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Things my mom says...

"Oh that chapati turned into a state, huh?  What you think, Florida, maybe?"

I looked down at the chapati in my pan.
Sure it wasn't round, but Florida?

A bit harsh mom.

(What's a chapati? Look here).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coconut Water.

I love coconut water.  Not the coconut water craze that has hit the US, but the coconut water that I grew up with.  The picture above was taken from a recent trip to India and is a very normal sight on the streets there.  Fresh coconuts cut in front of your eyes, usually with a large machete, handed to you with a straw and you can savor its water directly from the source.  It is delicious.

A few years ago I noticed packaged coconut water start to pop up in grocery stores nationwide.  I was so excited to finally be able to have some of this childhood treat that I remember so well.

Until I actually tried one of them.

It did not taste like the sweet nectar I remember.  I tried a few different brands, and I was always left with the same feeling of disappointment.  So many people were in love with these and I couldn't understand why.  Perhaps they never had the chance to taste it straight from the coconut like I've had the privilege to, or perhaps I'm just extremely picky.  Either way it wasn't for me.

I had given up the whole idea of coconut water in the states until a few months ago.  A new coconut water caught my eye during a recent trip to Whole Foods.  The label claimed it was 100% Raw Coconut Water.  Surely 100% raw coconut water tastes like the real deal?  I had to give it a shot.

They were right.  It tasted just like fresh coconut water from India.  I got on the bandwagon.  Coconut water contains so many nutrients.  It is jam packed with electrolytes, which make it a great post workout drink.   I have been drinking it after my yoga and it is so refreshing and replaces the electrolytes I may have lost during Bikram…I'm sure of it.  Much better than the sugary Gatorades or any other sports drinks out there. This brand is different because they don't heat the coconut water to sterilize it.  They put thousands of pounds of pressure on it to keep any bacteria from growing.  There's more of a science involved here and you can read all about it on their website.

If you have never had coconut water directly from a coconut or if you have and miss that very distinct taste you should definitely check this out.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Family Vacations.

My friend Amie (from the David Sedaris story) recently went to Alaska on a family vacation.  I stole that very pretty picture of Alaska up there from her Facebook album.  I realize it's weird for me to:
A. Steal Amie's vacation picture and
B. Even talk about her family vacation when it has absolutely nothing to do with me.

HOWEVER, here I am doing just those two things.

I was looking at the rest of her pictures from her vacation and they were so pretty.  They were filled with fishing (as in putting on a special outfit- I had to look up the name of it-fishing bib,  going out into the water waist deep and standing around for hours "fishing"), going on little planes flown by her uncle, camping, hiking, beautiful scenery, etc.  The photos were emitting a very palpable feeling of serenity.

After I looked at her album I turned to Chad and said: "What a lovely white family vacation."

Let me explain…

Indians don't vacation like that.

Fine, that's a huge generalization.  I guess I can rephrase that:

MY Indian family didn't vacation like that.

I have been very fortunate to have parents that love to travel and have wanted to "show us the world" from a very young age.  They have taken us to many many places and have thousands of photos to document our trips.  After looking at our countless family vacation albums one would never, ever think, wow, just looking at those photos relaxed me.  In fact they may need a relaxing vacation after looking at all the touristy things we did in the photos.

Vacation was never lets relax by the water and read a book or meditate on the beauty of earth.  Vacation was let's go go go…we're in a new city with lots of exciting things to see and do, we gotta do them or the trip was a waste.

After two days of trying out the local restaurants and hitting up the closest McDonalds (always a big treat for us, thank goodness those golden arches were everywhere), my parents would scour the local grocery store to see what we could get our hands on to make some home cooked Indian food.  The easiest ingredients to find in almost any city, in any country, are rice and lentils, which luckily make up one of our greatest comfort foods.
"Dahl bhaat" (Rice and Dahl)
After my mom would figure out how to make it in our hotel room, my parents would always sit back and say: "Nothing like home cooked food."
And we'd go to bed because the next morning we'd have to wake up early to see the big attraction for that city.

Eventually a small rice cooker was always packed on road trips.

My parents visited us in Seattle a couple of times.  Each time they would feel so restless; needing something to do, something to see.
"So, this is what you people do here, huh?"  My dad said on day 2 of their visit.
And after a little prompting/insisting by my bored mom we drove to Buchart Gardens in Vancouver, Canada.
We drove 5 hours.
One way.
Into Canada.
In March…
...to see some flowers.
March is not a sunny time in the Northwest.  It rained the entire time and we were cold, but at least they felt like they did something.

Amies vacation looks like it was a fun way to spend a few days with good friends, I don't think my family would've enjoyed it so much.  But then, maybe she wouldn't have enjoyed our family vacations that much either.

I guess it's all….relative.

Sorry, couldn't resist.