Some life long loves, some one-meal stands, the milestones on the life’s culinary journey; these are times when you want to grab the nearest person and say “Here! Have you tasted this”!
Presenting, the profoundest food moments of my life.
1. The uncle from Westend bakery around the corner pulled the loaf of bread (white – the only one I knew existed then) out of the old fashioned clay oven, sliced it right in front of me and handed it over wrapped in a brown paper bag. I was all of 8 years old and I could feel the warmth, the anticipation all the way home. Bread never tasted quite the same after he started making it the night before.
2. The first time I had pasta (macaroni with baked beans) made by a school friend’s mother, I didn’t finish it. In fact, I hated it. And I didn’t touch pasta again until my cook came up with the Indian version many years later. Made with beans, onions and potatoes, the pasta very closely resembles a pulao. I’ve lost count of the times I made a meal of it.
3. My next pasta revelation was spinach and cheese ravioli. Love it with the tomato and capers sauce in Little Italy. The ravioli in butter sage sauce at Olive was even better, but I just had it once and then they took it off the menu.
4. I never liked the way a custard apple looks. But my friend in Nasik coaxed – “You don’t get good ones up North. Try at least half”. It was fresh, soft and very subtly sweet. I went on to eat another one. And it went on to become my favorite fruit.
5. The treacle tart was warm, gooey and just so sweet. Made all the more flavorful with the accompanying Hagen Daaz vanilla ice-cream. But it wasn’t just the tart; you just like things like these better on a flight. Maybe because good food is the last thing you expect on board an airplane.
6. The Bread Talk around the corner has lots of fancy stuff. But what catches my fancy is simple – Butter Sugar Loaf, plain loaf sprinkled with sugar. As long as you have this bread straight out of the oven, nothing much can go wrong with life!
7. Stardust Diner, the very touristy place in New York’s Broadway. Where it’s never about the food. It’s about the singer's charm, the whole ambience. And their spiked milkshakes are so potent so never know if you imagined it all!
8. Tomato Garlic Risotto in Goa’s Italie. It was late, I was hungry and I was just coming out of a disco where I felt totally out of place. Maybe the risotto was the best I had ever, maybe it's just the way I remember it.
9. Fried mozarella for starters; flambed strawberries with icecream for dessert and a view of London skyline - do you care what the meeting was about?
10. A bottle of litchi juice, 5 am and sun rising in the Himalayas. Some things are best shared with friends.