Food for thought: Of cab drivers and penguins: in the spirit of adventure
“Sir, you need three things: Good eyes, good brakes, and good luck.” – A Delhi cab driver to best selling author, Wilbur Smith, on how people manage to drive in Delhi. [See Aabhas Sharma’s interview with the author in ‘Business Standard,’ Jan. 17, 2012]
“[Penguins] came running up in twos and threes to greet us, and a more delightfully comical sight can scarcely be imagined … Their interest was intense, and their haste to reach the ship was checked only by their childlike care in jumping over the little water leads between the floes; and, at last, when only a hundred yards or so intervened between them and ourselves, they would stand and stare in open-eyed astonishment, craning their necks to see all they could at a safe distance … Sometimes one of them would advance a little further with an inquiring squawk, and then overcome with its temerity it would retreat again to turn and stare and stand on tiptoe and flap its flippers and laughed at its own absurdity.” – Extract from an issue of ‘South Polar Times’ the first journal to be published from Antarctica, a pet venture of the indomitable Robert Falcon Scott, who reached the South Pole a hundred years ago, today. [See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/science/scotts-south-pole-times-penguins-hockey-and-serious-stuff-too.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha210]
Food for the palate: Mixed vegetable kuzhambu
Chop a miscellany of vegetables into cubes [potato, carrot, sweet pumpkin, sweet potato, beans, etc.]. Soak a small lime-sized ball of tamarind in water. Cook 3 ounces of split red gram, and vegetables, till well done.
Heat a teaspoon oil in a pan, splutter mustard, add a pinch of asafoetida, add the cooked gram and vegetables, squeeze out the tamarind, adding up to 6 ounces of water. Add kuzhambu powder bought off the shelf [or see preparation below]. Add salt to taste. Let boil till well meshed. Eat hot or cooled with rice, roti or dosa.
Grind to a fine powder 4 ounces of coriander seeds, 2 ounces of split bengal gram, 8 ounces of whole red chilli, 1 ounce of fenugreek seeds, 1/2 ounce black pepper seeds, 4-5 cloves, an inch long stick of cinnamon, 1 green cardamom, a heaped teaspoon of turmeric powder. The powder here is sufficient for this dish, but can be prepared and stored in bulk for up to a month, without refrigeration.