Stories about food

They say “women belong in the kitchen” – and that is exactly where I went, professionally

In 1929, Virginia Woolf raised questions that remain relevant about the lives of men and women today. She said, “In 100 years…women will have ceased to be the protected sex.” Adding that, “Logically, they will take part in all the activities and exertions that were once denied to them.” “Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.” It all started with my love for food; mixing ingredients together to create a taste that will either blow your mind or your insides. I always saw my kitchen as a lab where I was the mad scientist working with different chemicals to create something that would not only ...

Read Full Post

These mac and cheese balls are little bites of deep-fried cheese heaven

Now if there is one dish I have never been able to get right, it’s macaroni and cheese (yes collective gasp I know). After successive failures, a friend (who I shall call ‘lion’) suggested mac and cheese balls, Chaye Khana style. Since I have never had them but had this dimagi keera (bug in my head) to conqueror this elusive dish one way or another, I decided to give them a try. After plenty of search engines, I finally decided to mash together not the usual (roll the leftover mac and cheese into balls and deep fry them) recipes, but to execute a slightly spicier version. Even though ...

Read Full Post

Monkey bread: A bundt pan of heaven!

Have you ever had monkey bread before? You will fall into one of the following two categories: 1. Those that have eaten it and love it. 2. Those that have no clue what it is and probably think it involves monkeys (I did too). If you fall into the latter category, let me try to explain what this amazing-ness is. Monkey bread is akin to a giant cinnamon roll, only it’s a whole bunch of little rolls clustered together. Sweet, sticky, gooey pastry in the form of little balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked together in a bundt pan. You can ...

Read Full Post

“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

Read Full Post

For the love of pizza (and your tummy)

Just about everyone loves pizza. If you’re a pizza lover, chances are the phrase “too much” seldom crosses your lips, and you can but taste a world of cheesy, saucy goodness waiting to tickle your taste buds. The classic American pizza pie consists of a flat, open–faced round of bread–type dough topped with tomato sauce and cheese and any number of different toppings. Still there is a lot more to say about pizza than, “Make mine a large with mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni.” Pizza comes in many forms too – that just increases its awesomeness tenfold! So you get the ...

Read Full Post

As an Indian army soldier, this is what I wanted to say to a Kashmiri child, but couldn’t

I have been to Kashmir. No, not as a tourist. I have lived there. I have worked there. I was part of the heavy military instrument of the Indian State in the paradise, guarding it from the heaven dwellers themselves. And some mischievous neighbours too. As a 21-year-old, with the might of one of the biggest militaries in the world behind me and its command pinned on my shoulders, its determination manifested in the AK in my hand, I have roamed the towns and villages with authority which none of the Burhan Wanis or Bhatts or Wazirs or Bhans or Wattals or anybody else whose land ...

Read Full Post

Love at first bite

Do you know what stands between a healthy lifestyle and me? Junk food. Last week after a hectic class, exhausted and starved, I managed to drag myself to the cafeteria. I vowed to swallow any edible item I would first set my eyes upon. Once again, I was going to seek solace in junk food. Gazing helplessly at the stacked rack of chips, a vibrant yellow packet with an illustration of dripping honeycomb caught my eye. I absolutely love trying out new food items and flavours, and after reading the limited edition tag on this packet, despite the rather strange choice of flavouring, I ...

Read Full Post

Teenage dreams and crunchy chilli and corn aaloo cutlets

One of my brothers likes to tell the story of how when he was back in Karachi during one of his college breaks, he walked into the kitchen to find a girl he had not seen before with her head submerged in our deep freezer, furtively foraging for something to eat. When he asked her who she was, she responded by asking him who he was to which he said, “I live here.” To which she exasperatingly replied, “I’ve never seen you before.” My poor brother then retorted, “Well, I haven’t seen you either.” Once they has resolved their impasse and she had told him ...

Read Full Post

Do we deserve to ‘celebrate’ Eidul Fitr this year?

“Chand nazar agaya! Ramazan Kareem! Kal se rozay shuroo.” (We can see the moon! Ramazan Kareem! Fasting begins tomorrow) Some spend the night before in prayer. Others clink glasses and prepare for the pause in self-induced inebriation. Others stock up on Rooh Afza and pakora mix. Some can’t wait to be put in a food detox in hopes that they will lose the last few pounds during the holy month. The others are scared those extra pounds will sneak up on them. Some prepare a week in advance, cleaning out their savings account so that the banks don’t deduct zakat fees that they are liable to ...

Read Full Post

Eid lunch – For the love of family and food

Eid will always remind me of my childhood and growing up in Pakistan. I have a clear sensory memory of awakening to aromas of cloves and cardamom wafting from the kitchen into my bedroom. This is a day that revolves around family togetherness and a celebration of food, after a month of abstinence and contemplation. Though a global Muslim festival, Eid is celebrated differently in each country, highlighting the fact that this is not just a religious day, but a time to celebrate our culture and identity. But, the one unifying similarity is that Eid is a celebration of food, authentic flavours ...

Read Full Post