Kolkata, March 24: Food should always be an experience and not just the means to satisfy the basic human need of hunger. If consumed from all the five senses, the repercussions only leads to satiation and satisfaction of another level.
For a food blogger, fighting every day to raise a benchmark and then breaking higher grounds is an inevitable task. Therefore for A Pinch Of Salt, there’s no exception to this rule either. To get my experiences felt the same way to all of you, has been Herculean, but never boring and I’ll ensure this chemistry shall forever remain.
One of the most romantic love affairs of food apart from cooking is the intimate relationship it shares with literature. The wordplay leading to culinary foreplay are sure shot signs of a profound writer. On March 19th, 2016 , I was privileged to be invited to foresee this love affair come alive in the form of an event called Soul Food : Food Stories from Literary Fiction, and boy was I in for a treat like none other!
A journey of cuisine and culture was orchestrated over lunch on a hot summer afternoon at Aauris’ establishment Blu, down Robinson Street, Calcutta. The purpose of this event was quite simple – to reminiscent the Anglo Indian Culture from the British era through intense storytelling and poetry while savoring their culinary delights. I felt special amidst a sea of noted celebrities, not to mention highly honored!
The stage was taken by noted theatre artist Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee and story teller extraordinaire Baisali Chatterjee Dutt , who brought stories from far and wide- from the texts of Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Maya Angelou, Mallika Basu, Leo Buscagalia, and Laura Esquiver- rendered beautifully with a violin accompaniment. This savored with a glass of wine was nothing less than perfection I tell you!
With stories came the delights conjured by Chef Sujit Mondal, everyone at the table was eagerly waiting for and here’s my honest take on each of them.
For starters we were served Mini Soya Mushroom Pies topped with gravy and Anglo Indian fish cutlets, both being top favorites with the guests and devoured within seconds of reaching the table.
This was followed by a baby spinach, macaroni, green beans and carrot salad with mango salsa dressing. Although the elements on the plate were refreshing, I wasn’t quite fond of what I ate, especially because there was no mango salsa infusion coming into my mouth rather a tangy lemony after effect.
Coming to the main course, there was Chicken Calderon and Anglo Indian Courgette Stiffato Curry served with Rice Pilaf and Tomato stuffed with sautéed green peas on the side. The chicken in my opinion was subtle in flavors and went well with the sides, however personally, I would have preferred the same in a boneless variant, nonetheless my compliments to the chef.
We ended our gourmet lunch affair with sinful desserts. There was Dodol, which is a sweet toffee-like sugary treat, prevalent in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, South India, Sri Lanka and Burma. This sweet treat is conjured using a delectable combination of coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour; quite similar to the Goan Bebinca but pretty similar in taste to a Daal Halwa- Very rich and a definite calorie killer but who’s complaining!
However what bowled the guests and me alike were the poached pears in red wine on a Kumquat Bread Butter pudding– which is a typical British dessert. Kumquat’s are basically Australian fruits bearing close resemblance to Oranges in taste.
All in all, what I learnt out of all this was quite simple- Culture, is not just restricted to his historical accolades, it’s food too bears testimony to a conglomerate of tradition carried forward hundreds of years of ago and the responsibility of future generations to continue it’s legacy year after year.