A Gift Of Cooking

September 22, 2005

Paige and Dan gave me an early birthday present:

Cooking Class: Authentic North Indian Cooking with Premu and Neela. This workshop presents a wonderful introduction to simple, yet delectable Indian cuisine, including Chicken Tikka, Dal (mung beans), Raita (yogurt with tomatoes and cucumbers), Basmati Rice with vegetables and Ice Cream with Mango Sauce. Includes plenty of tasting and recipes to take home. 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Good Harvest Market in the Grandview Plaza, 1850 Meadow Lane in Pewaukee.

I refuse to think that this gift is a vote of no confidence on my recent foray into Indian cuisine, choosing instead to believe that it is simply because they know I like to cook and that I love Indian food. Whichever is the true motivation, I showed up promptly to the grocery store at 5:30.

The session was held in a side room of the grocery which was set up with chairs and a kitchen. It resembled the set of a cooking show, only in miniature. I sat down among 10 women, many of whom were considerably older than me. The woman next to me asked me if I cooked. “Yes, ma’am, I like to cook,” I replied. She smiled and said that it was wonderful that men help in the kitchen.

The presenters, Premu and Neela, turned out, as you might expect, to be two middle-aged Indian women with beautiful faces and lovely accents. We all watched as they prepared the dishes listed in the flyer. I was relieved to see that their recipes didn’t require all day in the kitchen, nor did one have to travel to India to acquire the ingredients.

When everything was prepared, we ate. I especially enjoyed the mung beans and the basmati rice. (“Are you a vegetarian?” Neela asked in her sing-song accent; “I noticed you didn’t try the chicken.” “Yes, ma’am, I am.”) I told our presenters that I’d recently prepared a similar dish, only I used chick peas and jasmine rice. I further told them that I see now that the rice was not right and that I was glad to have learned better from them. They seemed pleased, but the reaction among my fellow audience members was amusing: you’d have thought I just announced that I lived on the moon. Perhaps, in spite of my earlier comments, they hadn’t understood that I actually know where my kitchen is.

I think I’ll be attending more of these cooking sessions. I hear that there is one on Chinese cuisine, another favorite of mine. It might be more fun to attend with a friend, though. I noticed many of the others came in twos and threes.

Thanks for a wonderful gift, you guys. I hope you appreciate my improved cooking as a result. 🙂


No comments yet

  1. What a great idea for a gift! Any good recipes to share?

  2. Gee, do you think I should post one or two? I guess they’re not published or copyrighted elsewhere…

  3. I love Indian cuisine, chick peas(in that red curry sauce–yum) and the rice. Our older daughter has cooked it before and even the non-vegetarians in the house have enjoyed it.

  4. Upon reading your 100 it occurs to me that you should be living somewhere on the left coast…Seattle comes to mind. Great and plentiful coffee, mellow drivers, Indian food galore along with Cambodian, Ethiopian, Thai, halal, sushi, and so on. You’d only have to rethink the crab issue.
    On second thought, stay in Wisconsin. It’s good to have intelligent, NPR heads embedded in the hinterlands of America. You can expand people’s horizons with fantastic Indian food while subtly encouraging them to vote correctly.
    !Animo, companero!

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