Food has played a very important role in my life. While growing up, my mother always made a dish called Rajma Chawal, which literally translates to kidney beans and rice. This dish is a kidney bean curry and rice dish and is by far my favorite dish under Indian cuisine. I went to boarding school at age 12, and the day I was leaving for school, I ate this dish. From then on, it became a tradition: I ate it every time I left for boarding school and it was the first meal I ate every time I came back for vacation. It is the same for college too. In fact, this time, when my parents picked me up from the airport in Mumbai, my mother got a Tupperware box with her that had Rajma Chawal in it and it was one of the most heart warming and comforting welcomes back into my home country. This is a traditional Indian dish and has been in my family for about 5 generations.
The second dish that has had a significant impact in my life is hummus. Although hummus is of mediterranean origin, it is made in my house every week . Both my parents are vegetarian and are very fond of chick peas and garlic. Therefore, it is daily tradition to have garlic hummus with pita chips at our evening 4 pm tea time.
The third dish that I have a lot of memories with is a dish that comes under Parsi cuisine. It is called Anda Akuri, which is spicy seasoned scrambled eggs served with bread buns. When I participated in my first ever internship two years ago, there was a food stall right under my office that would sell this dish between 9 am and 2 pm. This was my favorite thing to eat almost every morning before work.
All the above dishes not only represent my personal memories but also represent my cultural background. The first dish has been in my family for generations. It was passed on from my maternal side. The second dish is an international inclusion in our daily tea time because it sits well with our Indian taste palettes. Hummus was first tried by us when my uncle made it at home after coming back from his on shore time at the merchant navy. However, the diversity in food is not just limited to my country and household.
Atlanta has a large Ethiopian, Persian and Iranian population, and I have had the pleasure of eating at restaurants that bring the culture of these countries to the United States through their food. One of my favorite Ethiopian places in Atlanta is Desta Ethiopian Kitchen, and my favorite thing to eat there are lamb tibbs, injera and miser. Tibbs being spiced and seasoned sauteed meat, Injera being a sourdough risen flatbread and Miser being spicy lentil stew. Another place is a Persian/Iranian restaurant called Rumi’s kitchen. My favorite thing to eat there is their Fesenjan, which is a Pomegranate Walnut Stew.
Lamb tibbs, Injera and Miser: