28 February 2011

india...could we meet in the near future?

I've been enamored with India lately. The food, the cinema, the culture...it's fascinating.

I've been cooking out of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks and my only complaint is that my husband doesn't like curry. *heavy sigh* Fortunately he's a non-complaining, adventurous sort, so I can overlook his curry-hating shortcoming. (For the record, Madhur's Moghlai Eggs from either Quick & Easy Indian Cooking or Simple Indian Cookery (I can't remember which) are amazing!!)

And while they are cheesier than all get out, I have fallen for Bollywood and Hindi cinema. For one thing, I love learning about the culture. Sure they're not entirely accurate, they are movies after all, but I have been able to glean certain cultural aspects. For instance, it is a sign of respect to an elder to touch their foot with your hand.

I also love how clean the movies are. The conclusion of the movie, the resolution to the romantic turmoil that we have witnessed for the last three hours (that's usually how long they are) is that the lovers embrace with a very emotional, intense...hug. The first time this happened I felt a little ripped off. I mean, they should kiss, right? Then it happened again. And again...and again. I realized this is just how it is and now I'm used to it. The newest movies aren't as conservative, but when compared to what Hollywood has become...it's a nice change.

Two of my favorites: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (this is the longest running movie in history, over 15 years in the theatre. First half is pretty cheesy but if you can survive it, the 2nd half is good.)  and  Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (If you read the Netflix description it will give you the wrong impression (like most Netflix descriptions). This is a beauty-and-the-nerd story and has nothing to do with age.)

I just finished watching the PBS mini-series, The Story of India, and realized that in all of my 16 years of formal education the only things I learned of India's history concerned the British Raj and Gandhi. Those events are such a tiny fragment of what has happened in that region and I find it sad that the only things I know are those that are connected with the West. Well, it won't happen to my kids. They aren't only going to learn about one half of the globe for two reasons: 1) I want them to be knowledgeable about all of God's people, all of Earth's citizens, not just those from the West and 2) I want to learn it, too.

One more thing...Did I mention the colors? How can you not love a culture that embraces red, fuschia, turquoise, orange, and yellow? And the spices...have you smelled cardamom and cinnamon? Oh! and the masala chai? How can anyone not love a cup of that brewed deliciousness? (For the record, 'chai' means 'tea', so saying, "chai tea" is like saying, "tea tea." Pretty silly, right? Technically you should say "masala chai" which means 'spiced tea.' But of course, Americans don't know that and if you said, "Can I have a Masala Chai?" you'd probably just get a silent, I-Don't-Know-What-You-Are-Talking-About stare.) (Great recipe right here.)

I've also have been reading travel websites (good one here) about all sorts of things like the realities of seeing India's poverty as well as how to ease yourself into Indian food. Now if I only had multiple thousands of extra dollars to get there...

I guess that's why we have the internet, right?

26 February 2011

surprse! we didn't die!

We went to a small, local, organic dairy (small = only 11 of the 23 Jersey's being milked when we were there) a few days ago and bought our first raw milk. It was a bit jaw-droppingly spendy at $10/gallon but we were willing to try it out after reading all the nasty crap about today's milk industry of pasteurization and homogenization. Also, my husband can't drink milk or eat too much cheese or ice cream. He can eat things baked with milk like muffins or cake, but he can't have milk-based soups or gravies. We had heard that people who have milk issues can dink raw milk so we thought we'd give it a try.

The verdict? Oh, dear Heavenly God. Raw milk is so much better than you can imagine. (That might be a tinge overexagerrated.) It smells better and tastes better. At first we couldn't quite figure out what was so different, taste- and smell-wise, but then it dawned on us: pasteurization! Pasteurization is cooking the milk and while we've never noticed it before (since we had nothing with which to compare it) it is an obvious flavor when it is absent. Store-bought milk tastes like cooked milk.

Perty lil' Jersey
The kids all thought the raw milk was much better and kept asking us, "Can I have a bowl of cereal with the real milk?" (We still had a little store-bought milk leftover, which we were making them use up first.)

The best part of all was that my husband can drink it and it doesn't upset his stomach at all. We did a little research and found out why. When milk is pasteurized it kills all the bad jumk but it also kills the good stuff. One of the "good guys" that are killed are enzymes that help your body digest the milk itself. So when my husband was drinking store-bought milk, he was getting the milk but without the enzymes to digest it. (Apparently some people just don't have them. Sorry, Hubby.) Raw milk has the enzymes so he can drink it just fine.

Overall we are so pleased that we will be making budget adjustments in order to accomodate this new expsense because we think the benefits of raw milk so outweigh the cheapness of that pasteurized store-bought stuff that used to be milk. It's still hard to swallow the $10 price tag, but hey! as soon as the cows come off their winter feed the price drops to $8! Which, although still expensive, isn't too much of a jump from organic milk...