Nov 2, 2009

An Aromatic Homecoming

Spices at the Market

Our most recent trip to India was amazing as always. The first overwhelming experience occurs when we step off the plane. The heat of the day still lingers at 4:00 AM but is wonderful as it quickly transports us for our stay in India. The car ride back to my family's home is always enjoyable. Driving normally around 55-60 mph, we weave and honk at other cars, buses pedestrians, goats, cows, chickens and of course an elephant to move out of our way. The roadways in India are nothing like we know in the US, cars fight to get past one another with little to no room to pass. It is common to see other cars drive on the "shoulder" to continue on to their destination. 

Upon arrival to the house, all of our family is there to greet us, which is quite exciting. I can smell a variety of curries and of course fried fish that has been prepared for breakfast and I am immediately hungry. We go into the house and head straight for the dining room table as this is always our gathering place. Food is what brings all Indians together, no matter what time of day, we all eat together. Everyone takes a seat at the table and food starts coming out. Fish mole, chicken curry, egg curry, a variety of homemade Indian breads, rice, bananas, and papayas. Each dish steaming hot, vibrant with color, we begin to eat. This is the most enjoyable time of the day as the conversations go round and round mixed with laughter and tears (all from laughing too hard!). Eating in India is by far Frank's favorite part as the flavors are all so unique and interesting in the best possible way. Each and every dish we eat is made from scratch, peppercorns picked from the trees outside and ground into the curry, rice ground by hand to make the breads, while the bananas and papayas are picked from another tree that morning. 

About the author:

Reji Gort is the Director of Admissions for Notre Dame de Namur College in San Francisco. Her husband Frank is the executive sous chef at the JW Marriott San Francisco. Chef Frank started his JW career at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. Reji's family resides in Kochi, India.

Spicy Chicken Curry
Bitter Gourd Curry
Beef Curry
Boat being built behind Reji's family home
Downtown Ernakulam
Masala Dosa with Coconut Chutney, Vada and Sambar
Backwaters of Kerala. Fishing nets are still in use today
Sari shopping
Reji's Family
Frank and Reji in the backyard of Reji's family home in Kochi.

No comments: