Kate celebrates the Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire with an appreciation of Indian masala and suggestions for a Hollywood-Bollywood Oscar Party, plus don't miss her Valentine's Day Recipe ideas.
by Kate Heyhoe
Through the magic of movies, Indian culture has fed us well. Crossing over from Bollywood to Hollywood, we've stirred up Aloo Gobi in Bend It Like Beckham, tossed rice grains at a Monsoon Wedding, spiced up black and brown into a Mississippi Masala, and even wed an Accidental Husband at the Samosa Palace. In Slumdog Millionaire, the feasts are fewer and harder to come by: our hearts crumble at two boys' unsuccessful attempt to steal food through an open window, while hanging from the rooftop of a speeding train.
Set in Mumbai, Slumdog Millionaire rocked onto the American screen—two weeks to the day before 2008's terrorist bombings rocked the real Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Slumdog Millionaire is gritty, disturbing, poignant, and it's also happy, spirited and engaging, thanks in part to A.R. Rahman's infectious Bollywood beat. The film won four Golden Globes and eight of its ten Oscar-nominated categories.
Given Slumdog Millionaire's impact, watch for revivals of Nehru jackets and armloads of bangles; a resurgence of Indian cookbooks, music and art; and an expanding awareness of India's most notable offspring. Just a few of India's famous talent, Western-born generations, and ex-pats include (with M for Mumbai-born):
A masala in India means a mix of spices, and there are as many different types of masalas as there are cooks in Mumbai. Slumdog Millionaire is its own cinematic masala, mixing British and Indian talent into a film that captures the spirits of both Hollywood and Bollywood. As with spices, the blend creates layers as complex and sensory stimulating as the most fiery Kerala curries.
If your appetite yearns for a taste of India, cookbook authors Raghavan Iyer, Madhur Jaffrey, and others have entered Western doors through Indian kitchens (their books are especially good for novices). You'll also find plenty of Indian recipes in our archives, from these and other Indian authors.
Sari Tip: If like me, you fancy the look of saris as drapes, here's my home decorating secret: a number of online companies make custom drapes from saris in magenta, saffron, plum and other colors, with gold and silver threads. Google "sari curtains" and you'll find some great deals.
If you missed this article last month, check it out now. Why? Because my new book, Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen—the New Green Basics Way, comes out in March and this is an important concept in the book. Learn simple steps to make your kitchen greener...
Copyright © 2009, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified February 2009
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