Pista-chio. (Beautiful, expensive, rich.)
I have a bag of these, and I don’t know what to do with them. That’s rare for me; it’s rare that I don’t know what to do with an ingredient. But when it comes to these I’m torn. Should I save them for Diwali and add them to a sweet, made with thickened milk, sugar, and saffron? Or do I make them into a delicious cold ice cream? Or do I bake them into a cake? I don’t know. But I’d better decide soon, because whenever I take the bag down to look at it, I end up eating some.
Apple. (Crisp, cool, delicious.)
My mantra is to eat seasonal and buy local, and there is nothing more seasonal than apples during autumn. Mind you, we don’t really have autumn here. What rotten luck for me to miss my favourite season, although it is true. The leaves don’t even change colour here. Nothing dies, and nothing is reborn. But I always know where I am with apples. I can’t get enough of them lately. I add them to almost everything, and apple sauce does go well with chicken. Just saying.
Cof-fee. (Hot, steaming, black.)
When I’m working (translation: writing) I am addicted to coffee. I drink it in the morning, and then I drink it through the day. My grandfather liked his coffee sweet and strong, and that’s how I like my coffee too, although lately I’ve been drinking it black. My favourite thing to eat with coffee is a piece of buttery shortbread. It is my favourite elevenses. There is nothing quite like coffee and shortbread; they are the perfect marriage.
Yog-hurt. (Cold, creamy, gone.)
I make my own yoghurt. I have done for many years now. It’s always amusing to me when people buy yoghurt. I buy it as a starter and nothing more. Nothing compares to the joy I feel when I come down to the kitchen in the morning and the yoghurt’s done; it’s like some invisible creature came to it in the night and transformed my milk (which is exactly what happens, of course). It’s a beautiful thing; silky, creamy, glistening in the light. Alright, alright. Enough already.
Alm-ond. (Small, sweet, delicate.)
There was an almond tree in the garden of the rambling old house that I grew up in. I was amazed at discovering as a little girl that the purplish-pink fruit was actually an almond. My grandmother showed me how to get the fleshy husk off, and we used a meat tenderiser to whack the hard shell off. All that work yielded a teensy sliver of a nut that my grandmother gave me to eat, and I decided that it was the most gorgeous thing in the world. I was four years old. I think that was when my love for food was born; my habit of marveling at the world and the things in it. It is one of the most awesome memories I have of my grandmother; most of my good memories with her revolve around food.