Posts Tagged 'baking'

Eating and Belonging: a Conversation

a conversation

So, I met this girl… on the internet.

No, that doesn’t really capture it. To begin with, she’s a woman, not a girl. A really, really smart one.

More to the point, we met quite by accident, not on JDate or ashleymadison.com. It seems we both live in, and blog about Pondicherry. And we are both a little food-obsessed. So we started corresponding about these things.

Deepa Reddy is a cultural anthropologist by profession, an artist by natural talent and temperament, and a cook by passion. Her blog, Pâticheri, is a thing of beauty, thoughtfulness, and deliciousness. During one of our exchanges — about the semiotics of baking or some such thing — she suggested that it might be fun to take our “ethnographic free-play” public, to post our back-and-forth on our blogs in real-time. With you, Dear Reader, adding your own “deep play” (I promise, that will be my one-and-only cultural anthropology joke) in the comments, this might just be an interesting experiment.

After loosely settling on a topic — national identity and all-things-food — we have decided to let it rip. Let the wild rumpus begin!

MBJ

The Conversation Thread
1. So American! (Deepa) 15 July 2012
2. You Are Having One American Nature Only, I Am Telling (MBJ) 16 July 2012
3. Cosmopolitan Comforts (Deepa) 20 July 2012
4. No Accounting for Taste (MBJ) 24 July 2012
5. What a Mess! (Deepa) 10 August 2012
6. Tell Me What You Eat and I Will Tell You Who You Are (MBJ) 21 August 2012
Reader Comments…

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

Breakfast of champions.

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

No-Sweat Bread

My First Loaf of No-Knead Bread

At long-last, I joined the club: I made my first loaf of the sensational no-knead bread, from the Jim Lahey technique popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times a couple years ago.

I have always been a little shy about baking. It always seemed like hard science, and I have always seen myself as more of a poet, better suited to the no-measure, dash-of-this-dash-of-that of cooking. In truth, I greatly enjoy science and have been avoiding the oven all these years more from laziness than anything.

Thanks to Lahey and Bittman, however, even laziness is an unworthy excuse. The entire “active” part of the process takes ten minutes, if done with absurd deliberation – maybe twelve minutes if one adds in the washing-up time. It takes me longer to ride the five kilometers and back to fetch a loaf of exquisite Transylvania Bakery peasant bread than to make one of my own, leaving aside the time the dough is doing its own thing, with no help from me – fermenting, resting, rising, or baking. Way longer.

Continue reading ‘No-Sweat Bread’

The Best

Pain au Chocolat from The Bakery in Auroville

The Bakery in Auroville makes the best Pain au Chocolat in the world. Period.

I say this after having done decades of research in Paris. My work has not been as methodical or exhaustive, perhaps, as the arrondissment-by-arrondissment croissant sampling performed by my friend, Rich Pekelney; but it has been reasonably extensive.

It is not that the dough has the diaphanous flakiness of that little bakery on the Rue de Fourcy or uses a chocolate of the silky richness of the place on Rue Saint Louis En L’Ile. On both counts, the Auroville pains au chocolat rate acceptably, not superbly. The true measure of greatness of these pastries is largely a function of location.

There may be a place on this earth in greater need of high-quality pain au chocolat than South India; but, with all due respect for authenticity and origin, Paris is not it; and I’ve yet to discover it. By meeting this serious necessity with deftness and abundance, The Bakery at Auroville wins my vote for the best pain au chocolat in the world.


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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