Saturday, January 07, 2006

Joining the Raw Food Club

I am now a member of the newly-formed RFC - the Raw Food Club!

At first, I was just an associate member, I think. One of my neighbors was hosting a dinner, and he was kind enough to invite me along. We enjoyed delicious raw versions of ravioli, cold corn soup, tortilla chips and salsa, salad, stuffed tomatoes, and desserts. All the food was made by a very interesting, slightly older woman named Soorya. An expat american who's been living in India off and on for the past 35 years, she is (I believe) a converted Sikh who came to India as the 60s were waning to follow a spiritual teacher. She teaches yoga off and on and seems to be something of a local legend. Everyone knows Soorya K. Certainly she has quite a presence. Although she is quite short and slender, her white turban, a penchant for wearing flowing garments, and her tight, almost austere facial features give her a unique look. Anyway, the food was great, and I was converted, at least to the idea of eating raw food.

Preparing raw food, on the other hand, was a different matter. Round 2 was tonight at Soorya's house, and this time we were each to bring a dish. Turns out raw food "cooking" is really all about soaking, dehydrating, and blending. It's not too hard, but it helps to have a dehydrator, and to be organized enough to soak nuts and such for 24 hours before you're going to "cook." I do not have a dehydrator, and I didn't really get the part about soaking for 24 hours, so I was in a bit of a jam this afternoon when I started. One purchase of a food processor and a bunch of nuts and fruits later, I decided to make a... fig and nut lemon torte! It actually turned out very well, especially considering it was really just a huge oily lump of mixed nuts and raisins sculpted into cake-like patties, with lemon fig "frosting." Quite surprisinly, it was a big hit at the party. (I was afraid I was going to get kicked out for bringing sad food, but it all came together...)

We spent much of the night listening to two young Russian musicians Soorya invited over. They live in Delhi and study classical Indian music. They played tabla (drums), guitar, and a variety of bamboo flutes, and it was incredible. I wish I could have recorded it. Indian music is much like jazz in that there are some overarching structural forms, within which you improvise. These two young musicians live together and practice every day, with performances at night. The Indians in the room were fairly well stunned to see these two young Russians playing traditional and fusion music so well.

By the end of the evening, I had had several of those moments where I asked myself, wow, how did I get here again? After talking with the expat converted Sikh yoga teacher about taking kundalini yoga, comparing urban renewal stories with the man from Chandigarh, meeting the ex-Hindi TV soap opera actress and newscaster, exchanging contact info with the Russians, and pledging to join in on a big group 10-day raw food cleanse, my head was spinning. (NB: The raw-food cleanse starts in a week or so, I think, and we'll see how that goes!)


At 1:31 AM, Anonymous shrinkwrap said...

Raw food...didn't we try this 14,627 years ago and gradually regect it with the use of fire? Watch yourself!

At 5:45 AM, Anonymous 007 said...

Ah, yes, the old "classical Indian musician" gambit.... I remember this as a variation of the Russian ballet troupe ploy. What did they manage to weedle out of you, those wiley bastards?

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Crawdad said...

I told one of my colleagues about the RFC today and she immediately asked me, without a hint of humor, if I hadn't gotten the warning about the brain-eating tape worm that got 2 people last year who ate raw food.

I don't think she was kidding.

At 3:17 AM, Anonymous shrinkwrap said...

Yes, that could happen. It's why I dont' eat raw food, except for nuts, lettuce, apples, etc. that are known not to contain brain worms.

At 3:29 AM, Blogger Span Ows said...

You lot have no idea: all food can be eaten raw as long as the circumstances/ preparation are correct.

ALL fruit and veg for a start, then with milk, eggs etc and what more do you need.

Steak Tartar is divine as long as the right seasoning is applied where necessary; all that is needed is CARE...something us humans, in our shallow existence, forget...our ancestors ate fish and meat raw with no ill effects...the ill effects came from not taking enough care as to what/ what parts they ate and when...and for how long after a kill the meat would last etc.

rant over

At 12:10 AM, Blogger Alizarin said...

Thanks span ows (if that is your real name) ... but I think in all fairness to historical accuracy, of course *our* ancestors ate fish and meat raw with no ill effects....

Go go Crawdad for braving the culinary frontier. Keep an eye on those headaches though -- you might be eating for two........! (ominous ellipsis :D)


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