Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Sweet Gesture

About a week and a half ago, Chris brought home some cookies from work. He said they were from our friends Hari and his wife Shrinidhi. They are from India. Shrinidhi just moved overseas to New Jersey last summer to be with Hari. He is a former colleague of Chris' from U Penn and now they work together at Siemens. He's been in the States for about a decade. It was amazing being able to take Shrinidhi out and about and to be able to see everything through her eyes. I took her to a Marshalls/Home Goods store and it was so cool to just watch her take it all in. Let me say that she adjusted much better than I probably would have if our situations had been reversed!

The reason we went shopping that day was because she wanted to learn how to bake. She was explaining to me that in India, there aren't many cakes or things of that nature. When I think about it, the only breads I've ever had from that particular cuisine have been flat (and delicious!). She and Hari are both vegetarian (as is about 50% of the population of India) and so she didn't want to use eggs in her baking. I have several vegan cookbooks and I decided to let her borrow Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Simple Treats.

About a week later, she sent some cupcakes to us through Hari. She made the pineapple upside downs and the marbled cupcakes. The first wasn't that great but it wasn't because of an error on her part. The recipe had a lot of spice (such as cloves) and I am just not used to that in my pineapple upside down cakes. I just want buttery pineapple goodness! The marbled cakes were delicious though! We'd shopped for a few of the ingredients that same day. We took turns walking each other through the ins and outs of grocery stores from our respective countries. She was fascinated by all of the artificial ingredients. I assured her she would probably have a more productive excursion at Whole Foods. In contrast, an Indian grocery store does have more simple ingredients. It was awesome to learn about some of the foreign foods and spices. Especially the produce!!

I love going for dinner at Shrinidhi and Hari's. I hope to eventually feature some of her cooking on this blog. For now, I will post a picture of what was left of the cookies the day it hit me that I should photograph them. She sent home some raspberry cookies as well. The interesting part about Indian cookies is that they usually feature a combination of flavors that aren't familiar to my palate. These orange marmalades were straight up but the raspberry must have had cumin seeds. I know I've had Indian cookies with cumin in them before so it makes sense. They were excellent! Even Molly ate two and she is very picky about her baked goods!

The note warmed my heart. Baking is such a fun and enjoyable pastime for me and I am so happy that she enjoys it too! Hari can thank me later! ;-)

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