|Now those are some arms!|
After I spent all of Sunday building, stoking, and tending a 1000+ degree fire in an oven I constructed from scratch and singlehandedly carried around loads of firewood, cleaned the house, and made appetizers, pizza, apple pie, and Greek yogurt gelato for eleven dinner guests, my neighbor took a snapshot of me wearing a floral apron and welding gloves and waiting for a pizza to cook. The heat had melted burned off a chunk of my bangs and I'm not at my skinniest. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to love the photo and I was right. I did not look smashing. I decided not to care. How thoroughly annoying that someone had to voice their agreement!
I am 46 and suspect that "favorite pictures" are going to be an ever scarcer commodity and I am going to have to be ok with that and so is everybody else. If we only show the world "favorite pictures" we will all eventually become invisible and when you are invisible you don't get credit for your achievements, and who doesn't want credit for building a weird earthen oven in her yard? There was a picture of me looking plain with the oven and there was a picture of the oven all by itself and I made an editorial decision. The correct editorial decision. Far from making me want to take the dumpy picture down, my friend's offhand remark (I am not holding a grudge!) made me glad I had posted it. I think Lena Dunham's outfits are often awkward and outlandish, but I'm completely down with what she's trying to do.
My children do not like fish, but I felt I had to make at least one fish recipe from The Suriani Kitchen, given how central seafood is to the Surriani diet. Here is Lathika George on Suriani fish cookery: "Tiny sardines are marinated in spices and fried crisp in coconut oil; chunks of kaalanji (a backwater salmon) simmer with chilli and coccum in earthenware pots over smoky wood fires; whole karimeen is wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in the glowing embers of the hearth; and shrimps are stir fried with slices of tender coconut, spices, and the omnipresent curry leaves."
Just reading this I gained 5 pounds. Not that I would ever care about something like that.
I chose to make fish molee, which George describes as a "creamy fish curry, probably influenced by travelers from Malaya." As Whole Foods did not have any kaalanji or karimeen, I bought cod filets. At home in a big skillet I fried onions, garlic, curry leaves, ginger, cloves and hot green peppers, then added coconut milk and the cod. Twenty minutes later we had a sumptuous stew of tender white fish poached in spicy coconut gravy. It was fabulous -- suave, white, rich, aromatic -- and unlike anything they serve at most Indian restaurants in the United States.
Unfortunately, the accompanying paalappams -- rice pancakes that are supposed to look like this -- failed. The batter stuck like a second skin to the skillet and we ended up with scrambled dough.
That was Tuesday. Last night I cooked a splendid dinner full of exotic delicacies, but an account will have to wait until later as I am all out of vim.