Found in Translation

Spicing it up from Shashi's Pantry

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words and my India trip resulted in about that many photos, I figure I’ve got about a million or so words to write. That’d be a little intense, but the trip made for some awesome memories that will stay with me for a long time.

The most indelible memory is the cooking class I took with Shashi. She’s a firecracker of a lady, a great home cook, and embodies everything positive about my India experience (kindness, hospitality, and genuineness). Six of us crammed into her thumbtack-sized kitchen and she enraptured us — teaching us about her food, her life, and India — for nearly six hours. Normally I’d be nodding off well before that, but Shashi’s anything but boring.

There were plenty of things I learned, and, sure, she makes a mean stuffed parantha, but it was about more than just cooking. There we were, a mix of nationalities and life experiences and Shashi welcomed us into her tiny abode without hesitation. We entered her world for the night where we cooked with her, conversed with her sons, and ate way too much. It reminded me why I do what I do and why I love food so much: no matter our backgrounds, we all speak the same language in the kitchen.

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