My mother has unbelievable culinary skills. When she cooks, my friends drive from all corners of the Twin Cities for chicken curry, naan, and saag paneer. On a few occasions the spice level has set some of my girlfriends on fire. But when it comes to her samosas (ask anyone who has had them), you’d almost engage in criminal activity to enjoy these pastries stuffed with spiced peas and potatoes then deep-fried into deliciousness.
My brother and I have often thought to submit her recipe to the Minnesota State Fair and get a food stand. Against the backdrop of livestock competitions and the promise of the world’s largest soybean, we could make a fortune selling samosas dipped in mint chutney on a stick.
Lucky for me (and my impending husband), I have inherited some of my mother’s talent. However, my unnatural fear of pressure cookers limits my complete mastery. And because Indian food takes time to prepare I don’t cook often. This is why, despite being a bit of a foodie, I love the $2 cheese slices found in Manhattan pizza joints. I averaged a slice a week until I imposed a pizza moratorium.
I used to frequent Prestige Pizza owned by an uncle. Not my actual uncle, but an Indian man my parents’ age. One day as my slice heated up, Prestige Uncle asked, “Are you married.” I shook my head, did he see a ring on my finger. “Do you want to be?” he asked. I had never considered the option of not getting married. And thinking myself funny I replied, “Well my mother wishes I was!” Prestige Uncle in his tomato sauce stained wife beater with a gold chain nestled in a tuft of chest hair asked, “We should go out sometime.” CRAP! I had to think, think, THINK, how to get out of this? “Where would we go?” I asked, the question surprised him more than me. “Do you like the New York Jankees?” Not Yankees, but Jankees, he asked in his accent. “I’m not into baseball,” I replied, grabbed my slice and left before he suggested a Rangers game.
I’d rather take my chances with the pressure cooker.