Thursday, November 27, 2008


I never was interested in food. Eating has always been just another task for me. When someone asks me: “Which is your favorite dish?” I never ever really know what it can be. But there are times when I really feel like having samosa chat at the bandi opposite S10, pani-puri near the police officer’s mess in masab tank and the sweet chutney along with samosa in agra sweets, the Indian spice pizza at Universal Bakes…. Oh my! My mouth has already started to water. You may ask, do I miss all these dishes now that I am in the US. No way! I am not a food buff.

Yet there is something that has changed a little here. I have started testing with new varieties of food. I am amazed at the choice of vegetarian items that is available here. Ever since this travel plan was scheduled for the first time, I have been brain-washed, that there is hardly anything to eat for vegetarians and that, vegetarians will have a tough time here. It’s not true at all!

Thanks to Vikranth, I get to different restaurants and taste different kinds of food. The first new dish that I tasted here was a Mexican preparation called Tamale. Almost at once, I became a fan of the dish.

I was working in the Libertyville plant. Vikranth came into the CAVE, where we work. He placed something rolled in a yellowed corn husk on my desk. He gave me a fork and knife and also some pepper. “Try this! You will like it,” he said.

I eyed at it as though it were an object in the museum. I pulled behind the cornhusk and a delicious aroma spread around me. It looked like rava upma. When a cut a piece, I could see that it was stuffed with something that resembled paneer. I put a morsel of it in my mouth and it was too tasty. The plate was empty in no time.

“What is this called?” I asked Vikranth.
“It’s called Tamale, a Mexican preparation.”

Mexican is closest to Indian food. Many people may disagree with me and say that Thai food is closest. I am looking at it from the spices point of view. Mexican food uses turmeric and other spices that make the food spicier.

We went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch a couple of times. I can’t remember its name, though I can say that it looks like a shed from outside. But it is always crowded with people. The food is yummy and at the same time the price is very reasonable.

As soon as we are seated at the table, we are offered corn chips and tomato gravy. We can have how much ever we want. It’s all on the house.
I have observed that in most of the hotels, the water is always served with ice. And people drink even water using straws. In fact Vikranth had to literally push the straw towards me, when I lifted the glass to drink water without the straw. He saves my grace at such occasions, when I don’t know how to eat or drink. Everything is so different out here.

The staple food in a Mexican meal is Tortilla. In our Indian language, we can call them corn rotis. Every dish has these tortillas. Burritos are like paneer wraps that we get in Hyderabad. A bean burrito will have beans curry with cheese and sour cream and tomatoes wrapped up in a corn roti. A taco will have roti and other curries, cheese and sour cream on top of it. We need to roll it and eat!

And in vegetarian, we get beans only, and of course tomato. They probably use only these two vegetables.

A quesadilla looks like our dil-khush but it’s not sweet. I had a cheese quesadilla. It was very very delicious.

We even tried a cool drink there. It’s called Horshata. It is made of rice. It looks and tastes like Rooh-Afza.

Oh my! I have written so much about Mexican food, I should have named this post as Mexican food! I have lot more to write about food. Rest in next!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last Friday night was a special night for me. I had the first glimpse of light snow – what they call here as flurries. When we finished our shopping and came out of the mall, it was raining outside. Everyone rushed into the car. After I locked myself up under the seat belt, I looked outside. It was not that heavy a rain, yet there were lots of thumping onto the roof of the car. That was when Vikranth pointed out, “These are called flurries.”

I observed the windscreen. I could see rain falling onto the glass, yet the drops would not drip down. The wiper had to literally wipe it off the glass. I realized they were not drops of water. They were more like granules of ice. They looked more like a bird’s dropping on the windscreen and wiper having to clean it. Sorry for the pathetic comparison. But that was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the first blob of flurry. I don’t know what they are called. As we say drops of rain, could we call them blobs of flurry? Or will flurries of snow be appropriate? I am not sure.

So finally I got to watch the snow! I am so happy.

Today, I was drawing back the curtains when I noticed some white feather like particles floating in the air. Oh my God! That was snow. I was so fascinated that I shut down all the lights in my room and pressed my nose against the windowpane to observe the white thermocol ball like things flying outside my window. I was disheartened for a minute, when I thought they might be some insects moving around. But no! It was snow. A very light one may be, because I could not see any white thing covering the lawn or the pathway outside.

I don’t think I would have given anything in the world in exchange for that moment. I was behaving like a child. I was so excited. I was on cloud nine. After all, it’s not that bad to be in Chicago in November!