Archive for April, 2007

Just because Mirza Ghalib said only a donkey…

Just because Mirza Ghalib said only a donkey would say no to mango, a restaurant in Poona is a offering a meal made of mangoes from start to finis: starters, main course, desserts.

Iced mango soup, ginger mango, fish mango, marinated prawns mango, curried mango sauce, mango with chocolate brownie.

Read the full story here: Mango mania

Also read: What your mango says about you


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A Pulitzer Prize for criticising the food you ate

Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly has become the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. On National Public Radio’s topclass programme, On The Media, Brooke Gladstone asked him how much time he let pass between eating a meal and writing about it.

I’m the sort of person that will not remember the name of somebody that I’ve met 15 minutes ago, but with a soup that I ate 30 years ago, I will remember whether it was garnished with parsley or with chervil.

Read the full article: Eating to live

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The world’s healthiest cocktail isn’t an oxymoron

…Provided you know what agave nectar is, where you can find Jameson’s Irish whisky.



By David Wondrich 

Place 2 teaspoons light agave nectar in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 teaspoon hot water and stir. Then add:

1 1/2 ounces Jameson’s Irish whiskey

3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed blood-orange juice

1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Fill shaker with ice, shake vigorously (thus burning ten calories), and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top off with ¾ oz red wine, carefully poured over the back of a spoon to create a layered effect.

Read the full article here: The world’s healthiest cocktail

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India’s Bukhara is Asia’s best restaurant

The 2007 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is out, and there is only one Indian entry: Bukhara in Delhi. Bukhara, up nine places from last year, has also been adjudged as the best in Asia. Two others, Wasabi and Indigo, figure in the top 100.

Read the full list of 50 here:  The 2007 list

The next 50

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If it has to be one for the road, let it be ayurveda

Most Indians can’t stop talking of the miracles of Ayurveda. But can it even temper road rage? In an Esquire article, Brian Frazer talks of how it has calmed him down, and made him less of a maniac.


I never linked my inability to relax with my diet.

Then I visited an Ayurveda specialist (the ancient science of wellness through “balanced” living; Google it—I have only two hundred words here) and discovered that I had been eating the right foods for some people but the wrong ones for my high-strung energy type.

I was handed a list of permitted foods; predictably, my favorites weren’t on it. OJ (orange juice) and pineapple were out. Sushi, too. And anything remotely spicy was to be avoided as if it had fallen on the floor and been stepped on by Louie Anderson.

At first it kind of sucked. I didn’t care for asparagus or turkey and had never seen a mung bean. But I needed less sugar and more fat. I followed the regimen and the changes were instantaneous and lasting: I calmed down, my road rage vanished, and people didn’t seem as annoying.

I do get a little ragey thinking about how much my daily mango-raspberry puree and aloe-vera juice run me (ten dollars, and that’s just breakfast). But while my neighbours still think I’m a maniac, now it’s only when they see me breaking my weekly coconut in the driveway with a mallet.

Brian Frazer is the author of Hyper-Chondriac.

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How the light bulb changed ‘when’ we eat…

When is the best time to eat? Lunch is breakfast for Tamil Brahmin families (followed by tiffin at four, and dinner). For Jains, who do not believe in eating living organisms even by accident, dinner is when natural light is on and they can see what they are eating.

History Magazine has done a piece on meal times. Before artificial light was invented—lamps, bulbs, etc—the main meal of the day was eaten at lunchtime, with the evening meal being a few leftovers before sundown followed by an early bedtime.

Artificial light changed that, says Boing Boing, prompting aristos to eat a huge meal after dark, party all night, wake up mid-day, and say “good morning” to one another until sunset.

With these late hours for entertainment and parties, and with more artificial lighting, many people in the cities began going to bed later and rising later in the morning. Mealtimes were pushed back as a result. In London, by the 1730s and 40s, the upper class nobles and gentry were dining at three or four in the afternoon, and by 1770 their dinner hour in London was four or five.In the 1790s the upper class was rising from bed around ten a.m. or noon, and then eating breakfast at an hour when their grandparents had eaten dinner. They then went for “morning walks” in the afternoon and greeted each other with “Good morning” until they ate their dinner at perhaps five or six p.m. Then it was “afternoon” until evening came with supper, sometime between nine p.m. and two a.m.! The rich, famous and fashionable did not go to bed until dawn. With their wealth and social standing, they were able to change the day to suit themselves. The hours they kept differentiated them from the middle and lower classes as surely as did their clothes, servants and mansions.

Some upper-class individuals did get up earlier, children for instance and sometimes their mothers. By 1800 the dinner hour had been moved to six or seven. For early risers this meant a very long wait until dinner. Even those who arose at ten a.m. or noon had a wait of anywhere from six to nine hours. Ladies, tired of the wait, had established luncheon as a regular meal, not an occasional one, by about 1810. It was a light meal, of dainty sandwiches and cakes, held at noon or one or even later, but always between breakfast and dinner. And it was definitely a ladies’ meal; when the Prince of Wales established a habit of lunching with ladies, he was ridiculed for his effeminate ways, as well as his large appetite. Real men didn’t do lunch, at least not until the Victorian era.

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Why Saravana Bhavan is smarter than Bata

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN wites from Madras: In a country where everybody marvels at the inherent cleverness of the rates of Bata shoe products (Rs 299.95, etc), it’s time somebody looked at the innovative pricing strategy of Saravana Bhavan, the vegetarian restaurant chain with 22 units in India and as many franchises in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, England and the Gulf.

On a recent visit, I noticed the following mystifying price-points:

Curd rice + pickles: Rs 28.75

Idiyappam + side dish: Rs 25.25

Sambaar vadai: Rs 31.75

Ghee dosai: Rs 28.75

Chole poori: Rs 40.75

Bata shoe rates may prevent the much higher and more daunting whole number from registering in the customer’s mind, but Saravana Bhavan manages to deal with the very Indian problem of “loose change” with panache. Because, plus VAT (value added tax), all the items mentioned above add up to a neat round figure that is easier to shell out.

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