Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project Food Blog: Cooking My Way To India

  So here I am, officially entered in the Project Foodbuzz Challenge to be the next Foodbuzz Foodblog Star. Voting opens on Sept. 20th and I'll let you all know how you can vote for me. I hope you will. 
 Challenge #1. I got some 'splaining to do. Who am I?
  I'm a screenwriter; it's how I earn my living. Before I was a writer I was the voice of many Saturday morning cartoon characters and television commercials. Yes, you've probably heard me. Here's one, Rosemary from Hong Kong Phooey!

  But before all of that, I was cooking. Of course like every little girl I had an Easy Bake Oven, but my father being a fireman, and wary of "accidents" and fire, took away the light bulb. They never told me, so I'm still waiting for my white cake to bake.
  This is where I'm supposed to tell you about my most beloved and cherished childhood food memories. Was it baking chocolate chip cookies with Grammy? Making a delicious home roast chicken, or a three-day pasta gravy? Not quite. Mine involves the Big Bang and more Pyrotechnics than are found in a Michael Bay movie. Canned tamales that my mom boiled for dinner one night without opening the can. Whoops. She blowed them up real gooood. That was a real flavor explosion, all over the walls. Ah, good times. Good times.
   If you haven't figured it out by now, cooking is not a big deal in my family. My mother hates to cook and always tells me that her next house will not have a kitchen. She also tells me that the gypsies brought me. 
  After the explosion, I decided I wanted to learn more about all this cooking stuff. So I started to read cookbooks, studying the pictures to discover what stuff was really supposed to look like. You mean fish is not a piece of charcoal with fins? Really? And, slowly I learned how to cook.
   Since I'm lucky enough to have a job that involves working from home, I have plenty of time to cook, and about 20 years ago I decided to learn about Indian cuisine. My sister-in-law, a noted  expert on Indian art, has lived and worked in India. Knowing my love for Indian food, she got me started.  However I didn't love all the ghee and oil, so I set out to make traditional Indian dishes with a healthy twist. Like this cauliflower with mustard seed.
 Or, an entire banquet for a special event.
   And that's what I've been doing for the last 20 years for my husband/writing partner Alan, friends and family, all under the watchful eye of Patsy the Wonder-Husky.

 And it's what I do in my blog.
   I  show that an Italian American from a food-phobic family can cook one of the worlds' great cuisines and do it "old skool." I show the steps, I show my mistakes, I show seasonal variations. Indian food is a passion for me, and an obsession.
  I also try to show what to do when Indian ingredients aren't available. Living in LA there were easy sources for anything I wanted. Long beans? No problem. Bitter melon? A snap. Silver vark for garnishing my desserts? Right around the corner. Living in the Wine Country of Sonoma, California... not so much.

   Part of the fun of cooking Indian in Sonoma is discovering that many of the local ingredients that are thought of as part of the Italian kitchen, originated in India (thanks Roman Empire!)
   One final thing. People always ask me how many times I've been to India. Well, I'm embarrassed to say... never. Alan and all the rest of his family have been numerous times, I've cooked for many visitors from India. But I'm a big chicken, and we all know that big chickens, and even little chickens  like me don't fly. For years my fear of planes has kept me grounded. My husband and I judged a film festival last year and it was my first time on a plane in years. However, I'm determined to get myself East. Finally. I have gotten my passport, and now it's time to go to Mother India, to go to the source. So I'm cooking my way to India, and I realized shortly after I started this blog a little over a year ago, that that's what this thing has been all about. I 'd love some company on the trip!
   Now about this whole Blogger Star of Tomorrow business. Working my whole life as a screenwriter, I'm certainly not used to thinking of myself as any kind of star. Writers are pretty far down on the Hollywood food chain. In fact we're usually lunch, or maybe brunch... most of the time make that toast. Even when I was a voice actress doing cartoons, it's not like anyone ever saw me. But the more I think about it, it might be kind of cool to be a star, which is why I'm here.
   What I have to offer as a Food Blogger is a fresh and hopefully fun take on a type of cuisine that few non-Indians cook. They're traditional recipes adapted for the modern kitchen. Like this deconstructed Banana Split done with Indian flavors.

   I cook this food every day, and if I can do it without the help of a Kitchen Wallah, anyone can. I also love to take my readers along on my foodie adventures, from visiting a heritage potato farm, to taking up the modern version of old style gleaning, to discovering Banana Flowers right in my own backyard!

   Living in Sonoma County allows me a sort of all access pass to go behind the scenes and visit the people who create some of the most exciting food and some of the most delicious wine in the world. I'm ready for my close up!


  1. What a great job but I expected nothing less from a great writer like yourself! love reading about the passions that got you to cooking and blogging good luck Kathy wonderful job!

  2. Thanks, Claudia..same to you too. I loved reading about how all that Italian food, and those wonderful recipes have been handed down in your family. What a great story and great pictures too. I guess now we wait and tell everyone to vote on the 20th?

  3. Ah my foodie friend! Once again you made me smile while reading your post. I think it is a fantastic look at who you are. I feel lucky to have "met" you through your blog.

  4. Great post - still laughing about your mom microwaving a can! You must get yourself to India. I went at the end of 2008 for a wedding and it was incredible, especially the food. My husband aka pickiest eater in the world, ate everything and loved it all, except the pon (sp?). Good luck on the contest.

  5. I loved Hong Kong Phooey and remembering that and knowing you were "that" voice is pretty cool. You might not have been on camera, but don't undersell it.

    I love Indian food and was lucky enough to work with a number of folks from India over the last few years. At first they did find it strange that the I wanted to learn how to cook their home foods, but they came to enjoy the spoils of both my mishaps and successes. As you say it isn't that common for folks here to cook in the style, and I haven't been to India yet either. One day.

    I have a cauliflower to use and hopefully when I search your blog for the recipe it comes up. It will make a nice lunch for me when I work from home tomorrow.


  6. okay, where have you been all my life? You're my older twin. Also, you are hysterical... I love your writing style!

  7. Fantastic job Kathy... Beautifully written and a great submission :) Good luck with the contest, looking forward to seeing more :)

  8. Hi Kathy! Love the post and so sad about the light bulb.... bummer! I fear planes and bears.... you are not alone in the plane department and you cook damn good Indian..... your recipes are the real deal~! See you in the second round! Meg

  9. Patsy looks too adorable. You know I adore your blog and I love Indian food so you're always an inspiration. My mom can't cook either (not that she's a bad cook, it's more that she just doesn't know how except boil water for tea).

  10. so happy to know you'll be visiting India in the near future! good luck in the competition and keep letting Patsy share the spotlight - she's too cute!

  11. I remember Hong Kong Fooey! Great post Kathy. Best wishes!

  12. Wow, what's going to happen once you visit your mother country? I enjoy the culinary journeys through India and Sonoma that you share with us on your blog - good luck in the competition!

  13. I have always enjoyed your blog, but reading your story just makes me enjoy it all the more. You have helped me discover clay pot cooking and different facets of indian cuisine. Thanks and best of luck with PFB!

  14. Thank you for sharing your life. I look forward to reading more. I will be posting my tonight or tomorrow. Check it out and let me know what you think.

  15. Kathy: Couldn't find an email so I hope you don't mind my sending this to you thru a "comment"
    I've enjoyed your blog and I wanted to present you with the One Lovely Blog Award that was kindly sent to me. I hope you accept this gift and display it proudly on your Blog. The rules are simple and you can find your award on my food blog listed below.

    Here are the rules for passing it on:

    1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link. (thanks for mentioning my blog!)
    2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
    3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

    Fondly, Nanette

  16. Just found you through the foodbuzz challenge. I certainly wish you well, and think your entree is among the best I have read.

    Should the gods smile on me and I make it to the second challenge, i am planning to explore Indian food. Mostly cause I have had my eye on a spice box for awhile. So, i will be devouring your archives this weekend...

    Good luck, you are among the ones to beat!


  17. Wonderful motivation. I started cooking Indian food a couple of years ago because there are no good Indian restaurants in Denver. Yes, none. I'm glad you have a blog (and glad I found it) and look forward to consulting it as I expand my Indian repertoire!

  18. Beautiful post Kathy as always. Have been struggling to balance life and blogging lately... and must apologize for my lack of comments. Best of luck with this project, your blog is most definitely an asset to the foodie community!

  19. How could it have taken me this long to find out you live in LA and work in Show Biz like me. You will be tough competition. You obviously know how to tell a delicious story. Good Luck. GREG

  20. Wonderful post! I love finding out more about you and what brought you to making Indian food even though you're Italian and living in California!

    (I had an easy bake oven too.)

  21. Great story and I always love your Indian food! I am so jealous you get to live in Sonoma! You've got my vote! Good Luck!

  22. A fun read. You got my vote and you got a new reader.

  23. @foodalogue,
    thanks so much, glad to meet you!

    Nate@ House of Annie,
    Thanks so much!
    Thanks so much Jodie, I'm grateful every day I spend here!!

  24. @the Mom Chef,
    Who didn't have one of those?! I finally gave up and when I discovered it didn't cook (cause of my dad)turned it on its' side lowered the oven door and used it as a garage for my toy cars.

  25. @penny aka jeroxie,
    thanks so much!!

    @Sippity Sup,
    yep, in the same business but we live in Sonoma now. We moved up here full time about 5 years ago after a number of years going back and forth between LA and we're down on business about every few months or so..gotta get my umami burger fix!

  26. @redkathy,
    no apologies necessary..I've been terrible at keeping up with everybody because of work.Thanks so much for all those kind words..kathys' rule!

  27. @A year on the grill,
    thanks so much. I found your blog too and gave you a vote!

  28. Great to know more about you through this entry. I've voted for you. Good luck with the contest. Do take a look at my entry, if you like it don't forget to vote. Thanks.

  29. Sent a HAPPY ♥ vote your way. See you in round two Kathy!
    ~ Mary

  30. @Thas,
    thanks so much I voted for you too!
    @Food o' del Mundo,
    thanks, I voted for you so hope we all make it!

  31. gorgeous blog - and dog! i'm a hollywood actress and am thrilled to see someone else in the biz food blogging.

  32. Kathy.... just voted.. a nice red glowing heart! ♥♥♥ Megs

  33. Kathy, I love your blog. Just voted for you - good luck!
    I grew up in Kerala. When you go to India, you should definitely go to Kerala - it's beautiful. Pick a place in each corner of the country and visit it. The cuisine in each part of India is unique and flavorful! I wish I could go with you :)

  34. @Latha,
    that's exactly where we're planning on going!!! I was thinking about Trivandrum. Alan has only been in the north as his friends were in outside Poona, in all his trips he's never been south.

  35. Well, Kathy, Patsy's adorable mug tempted me here (that's low!), lol. Honestly, once I saw that your blog is called 'The Colors of Indian Cooking' I had determined to look around anyway. I'm actually planning an Indian buffet dinner party on Saturday! So for now, I'm taking this moment to vote for you, then I'm just going to poke around a bit :) Hope we see each other again in this competition!

  36. Looks wonderful! I just gave you a vote! You can check out my entry here: Thanks and Good Luck!

  37. So nice to have found your blog via PFB. I in awe since I've not been too successful with Indian dishes (as much as I love it). You've got my vote!

  38. hey kathy, what a great story you have! from cartoon character to indian cuisine guru :) i can't wait to see what you have coming up! you got my vote.

  39. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

    Cold Food Displys

  40. Thanks for share the blog...I always love Indian food!!!Indian Restaurants



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