About This Blog
Spice My Day is my food blog that highlights vegetarian, healthy cooking. Being a spice enthusiast, you will find me using a variety of spices in my food. I encourage you to do the same. Life and food can both be mundane if we do not spice them up. Using a hint of one spice or sprinkling a little of another can enhance even the simplest of dishes. Just like spices in food, life too presents itself in different colors and tastes. Moments of happiness, sorrow, hope, and even fear are just examples of how “spices” reflect in our lives. We need a combination of these elements in life to challenge us, to inspire us, and to live life to the fullest. Similarly, I feel that spices add that extra dimension to food, and we should explore their use to the fullest to get the most out of our food. So I ask you to join in my journey to experience all that spices have to offer. I welcome you to share and join my passion of “spices” in food and life!
Growing up in Kolkata, India, I ate simple home-cooked vegetarian food that my mom and grandma made. Going to a restaurant was a treat and indulging in junk food, a rarity. Our groceries were bought from the farmers market and my mom was very particular in her choices. While shopping the produce section, she would frequently pick up the vegetables, carefully inspect them, and make sure there were no blemishes on the outside. As I shop today, I do the very same; I remember my mom every time I do, because she taught me that buying good quality ingredients is the first step for cooking a good meal.
As a young girl, pizza was the only international dish I knew. My mother and I used to buy the pizza bread base, make an Indian version of marinara sauce, and top it off with a local pasteurized cheese. At the time, my food vocabulary was limited; however, after getting married and moving to Israel, my knowledge of food expanded. Having lived there many years, my husband’s family had assimilated well to the local food culture and they were very excited for me to enjoy it too. At first, the dinner table seemed daunting because the flavors were so different from what I was used to. The first time I ate an Arugula salad, I hated it! The taste was so bitter. I was amazed how people thought “grass” was palatable! I also refused to eat mushrooms, because I had never seen them before. However, as the years went by, I spent a lot of time helping my mother-in-law in the kitchen and learnt to appreciate different food preparations and flavors.
In 2003, after moving to NYC, I was astounded by the diversity of the population and the food. Experimenting recipes from cookbooks became my fascination. Not long after, I enrolled into the chef’s training program at Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. The training introduced me to ingredients and food preparations that were unfamiliar and untried, taught me discipline in the kitchen and instilled a confidence to venture beyond my comfort zone.
As I conscientiously started buying seasonal fresh whole foods, I remembered that in my childhood everything had been simple and pure; there was no fancy packaging, and there were no marketing frills. The quality of the products just spoke for themselves. Things are so different now. In the fast paced life we lead today, we want everything instantaneously. We don’t want to waste our time picking quality produce. We take the easier way and buy packaged food, ignorant of the fact that companies contaminate it with synthetic ingredients that prolong shelf life. I hope that my food and life experiences can help people to cook fresh, eat healthy, and enjoy a “spicy” life!
Some pictures of Jaggu Bazaar, the vegetable and fruit market my mom still visits every week
The "fruit wallah" (fruit man) displaying his fruits on a roadside stall
A boy smiles at the camera while he is weighing the onions on a manual scale
Green vegetables being sold in Jaggu bazaar - the storekeeper filling up a bag for his client
A dirty alley in Jaggu Bazaar, the fruit and vegetable market in Kolkata
Carrots, green peppers, beets, green beans, tomatoes displayed in wicker baskets.
Mangoes, apples, pomegranates, sweet limes spread on newspapers for sale. These stalls/shacks often double up as the storekeeper's bed.