A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pani Puri Masala

I'm continuing to document the vegan meals I eat. Here's a simple veggie burger with sautéed mushrooms and onions, spinach and a few home fries. And tea, of course. What makes my mouth water for this meal is the simple addition of pani puri masala sprinkled on the vegetables.

In Urdu, pani is water, puri is a crisp fried bread, and masala is [spice] mixture. Pani puri masala is a combination of white salt, black salt, black pepper, chilis, tamarind, and maybe mint, ginger, caraway, asafaetida, or whatever. It's salty, sour, and spicy hot all at the same time. Traditionally it's added to a bowl of water into which stuffed puris are dipped before eating. You pop the whole dripping business in one bite and get an explosion of flavors and textures inside your mouth.

But of course you can also add this particular masala to anything else you want. When I'm too lazy to cook, I sometimes just microwave a potato and season it with butter and a generous layer of pani puri masala. I have enough Irish and Polish in me to know I could live on potatoes if I had to. And a wide enough acquaintance with spices to make that diet delicious.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

how can a vegan nuke a spud?

do you drink out of a plastic cup?

as vegans we do not nuke our food.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Cicily Corbett said...

Dear Anonymous--

Thank you for your interest in my blog.

Fyi, I am not a vegan. As faithful readers of my blog know, I am a vegetarian--and for ethical, rather than health, reasons. The meal I am discussing in this blog post happens to be vegan. It may be enjoyed by anyone, including a carnivore.

As for veganism and microwaving, those are two distinct lifestyle choices. You apparently embrace both, which is fine. But one does not logically follow from the other. Vegans, according to the Vegan Society--the British educational charity which coined the word "vegan" in 1944--are those who "seek to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose." Microwaving a potato does not, as far as I can tell, exploit animals in any way.

As for health issues surrounding the microwaving of food, the jury is still out on it. According to Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, the amount of exposure to, and the risk from, plasticizers migrating into food heated in microwave ovens varies according to many factors. They advise using inert materials, like glass, when possible. About microwaving in general they have no strictures.

As Rolf Halden, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Studies at JHU, says, "There really is no way to completely avoid contact with ubiquitous toxic chemicals. The art is to avoid unnecessary exposures as much as possible by applying a healthy portion of common sense before sitting down and enjoying a meal."

4:29 PM  

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