Tag Archives: food

A unique festival

Have you ever received a notification which made you so curious that the first thing you do on the weekend is to rush downtown in spite of rains. I did, when an article on Picklesburgh was shared. This is a festival to celebrate all things pickled. My interest was increased when I read it would be conducted on the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh. This was the most unique festival I had ever attended. The day began with rains which generally dampen my spirits for travelling. But my curiosity got the better of me and by afternoon I was on my way. As soon as I reached near the downtown, I saw huge crowd dressed in bright summer colors. The best way to find an event is to follow the crowd.

Roberto Clemente bridge with Picklesburgh

The bridge entrance

The bridge seemed to have come to life because of the festival. The excitement of the event was clearly visible on the happy faces of the kids. There were stalls of all kinds of pickles, jams, jellies, cakes and chocolates in addition to fries, sandwiches. There were pickles of cucumber, corns, beans, etc. Most of the food items had a little bit of dill be it sandwich or roll. The air on the bridge had the lovely fragrance of dill. Everyone seemed to have come with their families. Even the weather seemed to have given up to the enthusiasm and so the clouds had cleared to a bright sunny day.

On the bridge

live music

To add to this there was live music. This was a complete family event which reminded me of the fairs in my hometown in my school days. Everyone Even simple things when done differently can make wonders, this was one such wonder. These kind of events give us the much needed opportunity to enjoy quality time with our family. The crowded bridge and the still river, presented an amazing contrast to the viewer. I returned home with amazing memories. This festival will be pickled in my heart forever.

Pujo in USA

Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga

The biggest festival that a bengali looks forward to, for the entire year, the Durga Puja 2016 is going on. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. This is the time when the air smells of festivity. This year I had the opportunity of visiting the Durga Puja at Pittsburgh, USA in Hindu Jain Temple. Once inside the hall, I felt as if I was in India. The rituals, the decorations, the people and of course the food, all made it a lively place to be. Durga Puja is the time when people get together and discuss on all topics ranging from sports to food. Here also it was so, the hot topic of discussion was Pittsburgh Steelers. Simply proves no matter where they are, bengalis just love sports.

The Hindu Jain Temple

The Hindu Jain Temple

It was raining yesterday night and so the weather was cold from the morning. Thankfully it didn’t rain after morning. Once I reached the temple, the serenity of the atmosphere filled me with happiness. I offered my prayers with flowers. The most admirable thing was, the priest translated the meaning of the prayers to the people in English, thus explaining the prayers to everyone. After the puja we had the delicious meal(Puja Bhog) which comprised of Khichadi, fries, veggies and sweets. Also there was a small exhibition of clothes, accessories and jewelry. Cultural programs were held afterwards. The children were playing around dressed in traditional attire. It reminded me of my school days. I thank the Bengali Association of Pittsburgh(http://bengali-pitt.org/bap/) for keeping the culture alive so far from home. Happy Durga Puja to Everyone. May Goddess Durga bless everyone with happiness and fulfill all their wishes.

A Fair to remember

The colorful entrance to the fair

The colorful entrance to the fair

This Friday a friend of mine messaged me about a fair going on in my city. I googled about it and found its the North American Martyrs Summer Festival in Monroeville, PA. We left around 7:00 pm. This was the first time I was going to attend a fair abroad. Once we reached there the biggest challenge was to find a parking place. After parking we thought we will have to walk a lot but there was a shuttle to the fair.

Amazing rides

Amazing rides

As soon as we reached there, I was reminded of my school days. There used to be a ‘Summer Mela’ in my hometown Baroda. Visiting that fair used to be in the wish list of every child. It used to be a colorful fair with rides and delicious food stalls. This fair had all these elements. All the stalls were decorated with colorful balloons. There were rides, games and food. The aroma of fresh fries and cold ice-cream just aroused our taste buds. Everywhere kids were running, playing and shouting. To make this entire fair musical a live band played songs from 50s, 60s and 70s. I loved the rock and roll songs.

Live band in fair

Live band in fair

In this age of high tech entertainment, nothing equals the satisfaction of attending a fair. They seem to have fun for people of all age groups. The presence of family brings in security. It also allows us to spend quality time with our family. These are the opportunities when all the generations of the family come together and have a great time. By the time we returned it was late night, but we were so rejuvenated that we walked till the parking lot. Next time you visit a new place, make sure you attend the local fairs.

Food stalls

Food stalls

A green weekend

Last monday, my roommates asked me to keep my saturday free, the reason was to attend a potluck. It created an image of lots of food and loud talks with friends. Our contribution included Paneer tikka and Parathas. So today as I got up, one of my roommates was already done with cutting vegetables and the other was preparing the dough. As we were preparing the spicy mix for tikka, I was told that we would be using a barbeque. I was energized immidiately as I had never seen a live barbeque. We completed preparing the Parathas and dipped the veggies and paneer in the mix. The scheduled time to start was 10:00am but by the time we started it was 11:30am.

On the way

On the way

It was a beautiful drive with dense forests on both sides of the road. When we reached the park, it seemed as if time stood still. The small office at the gate seemed like a hut.

Entry at Patapsco valley park

Entry at Patapsco valley park

One of our friends had booked a shade. We were the first to reach but none of us knew which shade was booked and who had booked. One of us was just going to call up to find out who had booked when Saritha, my room mate, noticed a small board with the list of bookings for the day. That list was handwritten with coloured pens. There it was mentioned Ravi Sampara, who happened to be one of our friends. As we bought our entry tickets, we were given a map of the park. It was an amazing park with Spring at its best.

Our Booking

Our Booking

We reached our wooden shade. There I saw a barbeque for the first time. Soon Ravi joined us. The shade somehow reminded me of Treasure Island where the travellars would have food and talk loudly.

Barbeque

Barbeque

Our shed

Our shed

But my reverie was broken when Ravi plugged a radio and Saritha started playing modern day songs.

Connecting the radio

Connecting the radio

Then began the daunting task of setting up a barbeque. We created the fire using the lighter but it kept going off as soon as we put the coal. Then one of us suggested breaking the coals and finally we were able to get the coals heated. Thus we got an opportunity to apply the lessons learnt in school.

Breaking the coal

Breaking the coal

Setting up the barbeque

Setting up the barbeque

The rest of the group joined us in next hour. Sagar brought his grill and we transferred the hot coal in it. Then we prepared the paneer. Everyone had brought food from their homes. As a result we had a royal lunch in forest. We began with a small brunch.

Dahi wada and wada pav

Dahi wada and wada pav

Egg curry, parathas, salad and chicken

Egg curry, parathas, salad and chicken

We walked a bit and played a small game with stones and balls. It simply reminded me of school days. We returned in 2 hours huffing and puffing. Again we had some refreshments. Then one of us suggested going to the waterfall. Hence all of us packed and cleaned the shed. We drove a bit and then again walked for half a mile to reach the fall. It was exhausting but the sight was worth the effort.

The river

The river

We returned after after spending an hour near the river. It was a day well spent, away from all the comforts of home, in the lap of nature with friends. We spend so many weekends lazing around. If all of us spend atleast one weekend per month with nature and family, life would be so beautiful. It is so simple to be happy. It will give us an opportunity to bind with our family and at the same time save electricity. I thank all my friends Saritha, Miti, Ravi, Harshil, Karim, Pushpalata, Sagar, Amrth,Mehul, Deepak, Neha for such a great day.

Taste that reminds of home

The challenge is one thing that I cannot cook without. I would say its salt. I cannot imagine any dish (other than sweets), which can be cooked without salt. There are 4 other things that I cannot cook without. They are:

– Turmeric
– Ginger
– garlic
– Coriander powder

These things provide the much needed flavour to any dish. Infact about salt it is said that life should have some amount of salt in it.

I cannot have excess of anything. Although I have a sweet tooth, I need my share of spice as well. The presence of salt enhances the effect all the vegetables and brings the much needed flavour. Turmeric gives the color to the dishes. These things are always used by my mother while cooking. Therefore their presence gives a homely touch to the food. The combination of the above ingredients gives an aroma that makes one really feel hungry at the end of the day. Therefore I can’t cook without the above things.

Follow your dreams

Niagra falls

Niagra falls

As part of today’s assignment, I was to explore the blogging world. While I was going through the blogs, the most attractive ones were the travel blogs. The first thing that stuck me was they were all based on the thought “Follow your heart”. These were mostly people working in corporate sector and taking up travelling like http://thesoulshines.wordpress.com/about/. In olden days it was said, there is nothing more satisfying than travelling. These were the people who had ventured to distant lands and had gained vast knowledge. The fact seems to hold true even today.

Some new strangers on the way.

Some new strangers on the way.

When you travel you never know what you may discover. The best moments are those when a stranger smiles at you or you can become a part of their festivity without knowing their language something like http://edbourke.net/2013/08/01/monastiraki-street-party/. To some extent travelling with your near and dear ones brings you closer to them http://theadventuresofadr.com/2013/11/15/were-leaving-traveling-the-states-on-the-american-railways/. Life is not a bed of roses.Travelling comes with its own troubles. First you cant be shopping too much as you are travelling. You may face some weather hazards like http://quitealone.com/2013/12/08/snow-jordan/. You may have to walk to rough lands to catch that breathtaking sunrise http://harindabama.com/2013/07/29/the-unforgiving-rinjani/ but then when you see the sunrise all your effort is rewarded. You may even discover some new cuisines to add to your kitchen. As you travel your mind opens up.

Sunrise near the Vivekananda rock

Sunrise near the Vivekananda rock

For all those who are planning to take that much awaited trip, just make your resolution. It is not easy to go for a long trip, therefore start with small weekend trips and then plan for the bigger ones.