Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight

My intention of reading Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight was not to follow the book and "go on a diet" of some sort. In fact, I don't believe in going on diets... your 'diet' should reflect in your everyday lifestyle and eating habits, and one of the reasons I enjoyed this book was because it pretty much echoed the same sentiment. I picked it up out of general interest in nutrition. Rujuta Diwekar - India's most wanted and celebrity nutritionist - is the author of this book and some of the points she makes really hit home. I quite liked her casual style of writing and the fact that she gets the point across clearly using the fewest of words. I also liked her diction ("lean" instead of "thin"...I was impressed).

What kept me going was that this is a book turned out to be a good supplemental guide. It broke down the basics. It's funny - there was a chapter on Amino Acids and I immediately thought "Amino Acids. Building blocks of protein!" and was quick to pat my back and remember my sixth grade science teacher for having me rattofy the definition. I didn't have too many expectations because it seemed almost too basic, but after I read the chapter, I got a wealth of information out of it on proteins and how one can go way wrong when it comes to incorporating the amount of protein in his or her diet. Anyway, without digressing, the point is that this book starts from ground up and builds up, rather than throwing fancy definitions in your face. The author also gives real life examples, some of which are just hilarious and force you to turn the pages like there's no tomorrow to finish the read.

It was certainly a breath of fresh air from the usual fiction/non-fiction regime. Rujuta, I'm a fan. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cooking up a Storm: Back-Then to Now!

My earliest memories of being in the kitchen date back to when I was about six or seven years old... I would take some atta, roll it out into a loosely shaped geometrical figure and say "Mamma - I made roti!" My Mum was sweet (and patient) to actually take that loosely shaped geometrical figure, roast it as it is, eat it and say it's the best roti she'd ever had.

My very first memory cooking dates back to when I was eleven. I was in middle school at the time and one of the classes I took in school was 'Basics of Cooking.' This was one class I thoroughly enjoyed (even as I changed high schools across the country) and I remember always looking forward to learning something new and trying it out at home. So, as I continued to learn about pastries, cakes, breads, cheeses, pastas, sauces in school, I made my family members my guinea pigs and tried these things on them at home. They might disagree - but I think they were lucky to be given this silver-lined opportunity!

As days went by, I not only was more interested about cooking and different types of cuisine, but also started enjoying the process. I would try various Italian dishes at restaurants and come home and experiment with different recipes. I'd spend a good few hours in the kitchen making that Penang Curry, being convinced that I could never make Thai food, only to realize that Thai basil and galangal make a hell of a difference. I came to a realization that yes, mushrooms don't brown well if you crowd them! I loved these revelations. I made this process of trial-and-error my own.

Before I knew it, cooking, instead of a 'chore', became a 'hobby' of mine. And now, my passion. The kitchen is the one place where I felt relaxed, confident, calm, and collected. I felt at ease. A lot of the credit goes to my Mum for being there during my goof-ups. She was always there - to laugh with, to clean up after, and to generously compliment my efforts. Without her, this process of trial and error would not have been half as amazing as it has.

So, why am I talking about cooking all of a sudden out of nowhere? I (finally) watched Julie and Julia today, and I loved it! I could resonate well with Julie. After having a frustrating day at work, the kitchen was where she found her solace. I'm not idealistic about one chef like she was - I'm quite secular in that regard. But somewhere in her, I could place a part of myself.

Movies are a lot more enjoyable when you can relate to a character (and one of their passions), aren't they? A few of my friends have been urging me to start a blog where I can share recipes and my experiences in the kitchen. Does it sound like the right time to cook up a storm in blogsphere? I think so!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mystic, Connecticut

Over the Memorial Day long weekend, SE and I planned a trip to Mystic, Connecticut. It was a perfect day for a road trip, sunny and warm.

Mystic is a quaint village and it used to be a seaport at one point. At the very center of the village is the Mystic River, where you can find many sailing ships, which, despite their age, are quite well-maintained by the Seaport Museum.

The best part about the entire day was lazing about and walking around. There's cute boutiques, winding roads, and home-made ice-cream shops. All-in-all, a good 'day trip' destination and a great change from the daily grind!

Mystic River / Seaport
Blue skies, sunny days... I have nothing more to ask for!

Another Sailboat aboard the Mystic River

Oh, this heat!

The Big Apple is amidst a giant heat wave right now, and the temperatures have been lingering around 90-100F (30-38C) for the past few days. It feels nice to be warm, but I'm not really a big fan of the scorching heat that's keeping us company these days!

But... let's not complain too much. After a dreary, cold, gray winter, a summer in any way, shape, or form is much needed!