My food is going on vacation…

Why the picture of bloody fish heads? Because I can, that's why.

…actually, my fingers are.  It’s come time to stop blogging and instead spend all that time on more useful activities – like finding the perfect oyster, hugging bunnies, and singing along off-key to Willie Nelson songs.

Have no fear though, blogging will continue again sometime when I get bored of not oversharing.

In the meantime, stay in touch and thanks for all the fuzziness.

If it comes out of a hole in the wall it must be good.

Naan - before the fire

The other day I’m wandering Bur Dubai – one of the old neighborhoods in Dubai.  Devoid of big hotels, spewing fountains and shiny lights.  Instead you find authentic Rajasthani cuisine, knock-off Fendi bags, every off-duty taxi driver in the city and Pakistani men trying to sell anything to your lily white tourist face.

“Hi friend.  Hi friend.  Come.  Come.  Just look.  No charge for just looking.  Come in friend.  Come look.  Good price for you.”

$0.30 worth of steaming hot heaven

The other thing you find is piping hot Naan (Indian bread) served out of a literal hole in the wall.  Walk up, lay down a 1 AED coin (about $0.30) on the carpeted counter.  Watch as a ball of dough is expertly flattened and placed into a burning hot brick oven with a 3-meter long peel.  The Naan takes only minutes to cook, but that gives enough time to look around at the crowd also patiently waiting for their Naan.  And realize that they are all watching…you.  Being the one little giggly white girl anywhere is a funny experience.  One that I would advise trying on for size.

“How much?” I say to the man with the peel.  No answer.

“One dirham,” says the man next to me waiting with his four dirham coins stacked up in front of him.

“Thanks,” I respond with a smile as I dig a coin out of my pocket.  I lay it on the counter with authority and look up.

All eyes on me.

Bur Dubai dry cleaning

I smile and get a few smiles back, a couple glares and a crap-load of quizzical “What the hell are you doing buying street food?” looks.  I smile more, grab a little white plastic bag from the stack hanging against the wall and look away to the fire that is bubbling my Naan up against the hot brick.  Seconds later the Naan is pulled from the fire and tossed on the counter.  I look up at the man waiting next to me.  With a side to side head bob (the Indian equivalent to a nod) I grab the large pizza-sized Naan, fold it in four as I’ve seen the waiting men do and stuff it in the bag, but not before it has a chance to burn off at least 7 layers of skins from my fingertips.  If I wanted to commit a crime I should do it now because I have no finger print left.

I walk away pulling chunks off and tossing them in my mouth before it has a chance to cool.  Cool Naan is decent.  Piping hot Naan is orgasmic.

Some water tips – Anjum-style

We all know I love Ayurveda, but we also all know that I can be a wee bit distracted by…well, by everything.  So, my commitment to Ayurveda has suffered since leaving India in June.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I was pretty committed to it while in Hawaii in July and August last year.  Mama Kauai can be pretty conducive to 1) anything ancient 2) anything healing and 3) anything.  But, since then I haven’t done much until now.

Enter Anjum Anand.  Chef.  Cookbook author.  Woman extraordinaire.  After listening to her talk intelligently and engagingly about Ayurveda at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature this weekend (where I also got to meet one of my literary heroes – Marjane Satrapi) I tracked her down for a little one-on-one (so me right?).  I had some questions and she had some answers.

As a pitta…back-up, I guess I shouldn’t assume everyone would know what that means after all a year ago I would have thought it was a cute nickname for a pit bull.  Here is a  Ayurveda 411:  Everyone is split into three doshas or constitutions.  There is pitta, kapha and vatta.  Your constitution is made up of all three, but one will be more dominate than the others.  So you have a primary, a secondary and a tertiary.  My primary is pitta, secondary kapha and trailing very very fair behind is vatta.  Ayurveda is both preventative and curative.  The curative side has many branches from medicine to aphrodisiacs (gotta love a medicinal system that takes sexual desire into account).  The preventative side (which is much more my thing) concentrates on diet and lifestyle (with an emphasis on yoga and meditation crammed into our busy little lifestyles). There are certain foods that are recommended for each dosha and certain lifestyle choices that are more conducive to each.  There are also foods to avoid and lifestyle choices to kick to the curb.  I’ll be writing a lot more about Ayurveda as time wears on, but here are a couple tips for all doshas to get you started.

1. Start the day with a mug of hot water with lemon to clean your digestive tract.

2. Don’t drink a full glass of water 30 minutes before a meal or 1 hour after as it dilutes your stomach acids and makes digestion more difficult.

3. Eat only once you have digested your last meal (for us Americans this is a revolutionary concept).  Want an easy way to see if you have digested that mile-high chocolate chip pancake breakfast?  Drink some hot water and when you burp see if it smells (and tastes) of food.  If so, close the refrigerator door and give your digestive system a little more time.

4. Rather than gulping down full glasses of water with your meals to “fill your stomach so you eat less food” (how many times have we heard that one), sip hot water or herbal tea.  Then continue the practice throughout the day as the hot water aids in digestion.

5. When drinking water always opt for room temperature or hot water – skip the ice cubes since they hinder “the digestive fires” (more on that later).

Start there and stayed tuned for more tips.  And, as always, email me.

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