We interrupt this blog…

…for a brief aside. I grew up hating Indian food. My mother was a great cook, but once every six months or so she would make a curried chicken dish that left everything to be desired. I could imagine Indians looking at one of her pasty, toxic-yellow concoctions and saying, “What is that?”

The good news is that all changed several years back when, feeling daring, I agreed I’d try an Indian dish my wife wanted to make for dinner. “This isn’t curried chicken,” I said after my first bite. I soon discovered that was the sentence I should have been using years ago.

Not long after that, my wife and I had a sumptuous rehearsal dinner at an Indian restaurant in New York City for my nephew’s impending marriage (the bride’s family was Indian), and Indian food went up a few sizable notches in my estimation.

Which brings me to a recent discovery. Several weeks ago, my wife brought home two jars of spicy chutney, one tomato and the other mint, from a local farmer’s market. These heavenly creations permanently erased any remnants of childhood-borne bias I had against Indian food.

I have no connection to the woman who makes these chutneys, but if it’s of any interest, you can check out her wares at the Bombay Emerald Chutney co., and even order them online: [CLICK HERE]

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6 Responses to We interrupt this blog…

  1. Amy says:

    Two words: channa masala. (Spicy chickpeas, and my go-to Indian dish.)

    And assorted breads.

    And fruit-based chutneys are delicious.

    And a deep-fried samosa filled with spicy-hit potatoes and a few peas, with chutney to cool the heat.

    Chicago has an Indian/Pakistani main drag that’s packed with restaurants and shops, and my grocery store also sells ready-made nuke- or boil-in-the-bag Indian food.

    The crossword connection? Occasionally MASALA and SAMOSA make appearances in crosswords.

  2. Lizzie G says:

    Pat, this seems like a perfect segue — does the hot weather make you crave this wonderful cuisine? Our local Indian restaurant, Indus Valley (101st and Bway), is a favorite on steamy summer weekends. Amy, I may have seen NAN (bread) in puzzles. IDDLY (steamed rice cakes) is a great word, but I don’t know iddly about whether it’s appeared in crosswords. I tried to include it in a puzzle once, but the editor said “take it out!”

  3. Amy says:

    Liz, I’d never heard of IDDLY before I went to a vegetarian South Indian restaurant a couple weeks ago. Perhaps it’s strongly regional? Have you ever tried them? Are they (read in Ned Flanders’ voice) scrumdiddlyumptious?

    Maybe IDDLY and Bo Diddley can find a place together in the Indian food crossword theme Pat’s destined to create now…and which he can provide here so no editor has a chance to reject unfamiliar words.

  4. Lizzie G says:

    Got Iddly? Amy, you’re onto something. Bo Diddley would be a splendid spokesman for the National Iddly Council (NIC) — “Bo Knows Iddly.” It’s true, iddly is strongly regional; if found them in hard-core vegetarian Indian restaurants, in a variety of veggie flavors. Very tasty. It’s the perfect “take-out” food — after all, didn’t the crossword editor ask to take it out of the grid? Food for thought. Pat is, no doubt, busy rustling up the next A&N offering. I can’t wait!

  5. Patrick Merrell says:

    Lizzie G, you’re proving yourself quite the multitasker, chatting on about Indian food at the same time you’re serving us up another Sunday gem of a crossword in The New York Times.

  6. mika says:

    looks delicious!

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