Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Food Meditation... at The Attic

After a deeply carnivorous diet which contributed in pushing my Blood Pressure by 10-20 base points on the systolic and diastolic pressure. It was time to take the mail from Mina at The Attic more seriously. I have, been a part of the group for lecture series followed by elaborate dinners at the IIC. (The Anglo Indian Dinner: see the previous posts, and the Mughal Cuisine, which I am yet to write about).
This is more about the current experience, the food meditation. Like mindfull eating, as professed, by Thich Nhat Minh(The Vietnamese Buddhist saint, now living Soouth of France). Words like Amaranth, Barnyard millet, organic and holistic living etc were words and places I would not go near forthe last, nearly 5 years, as I have been deeply carnivorous.
However, the latest, the blips on my blood pressure index and general winds of change urged me to look, accept and perhaps make the call. I spoke to Anaam, to enquire and confirm my attendance at the food meditation; he sounded Oshoesque (borrowed from Buddhaesque) in his disposition.

I was there at 1.00 pm sharp registered in the guestbook (called Food from Farmer) and paid the Rs 200/- and settled with the music around to an experience extraordinaire. I shared the table with a lady working on ecological recycling (developed while she lived in London) and a young teacher from a school at Varanasi. The next, floor seated table, like ours with a yellow damask had the constant chatter in French (by a French woman) and an Indian lady responding in French.
Anaam encourages, let the flavors communicate with you and vice versa. I take his advice rather seriously and smell and taste everything diligently.
1. Arhar daal (Lentils) with jakhia tadka 2 Mandua (Finger Millet) and Amaranth (Chaulai) Roti
3. Paneer (Cottage cheese) curry 4.Amaranth Raita
5. Alloo jakhia (Dry potato vegetable) 6. Chhachh (Buttermilk)
7. Black rice 8.Kheer (sweet rice in milk) 9.Ginger and Onion Chutney
10. Freshly prepared Achhar ( Chilly and Karonda pickle)

The food smells wonderful, the Chaach (buttermilk) has a creamy after taste. The Daal smells and tastes heavenly, imagine I have three bowls, it is ordinary yellow arhar daal, but you should have been there to share and understand the experience. The stars were definitely the daal, the pinkish ginger onion chutney and the kheer . Oh man the smells were pure the taste unique and everything had its own flavor with a heightened arousal of all my senses. I can easily say it was one of the best or perhaps the best meal I have had this year.
The experience took you to another place and time. I am sure there are several benefits of organic food, produce and the unaccustomed earth they are grown own. The produce in this case came from a village 5-6 hours walk from the nearest roadhead near Rishikesh. However, along with the produce, I would complement the cook’s effort with a 50 % leading to this simple, flavorful and exquisite meal Thank you, Mina Vahie and Anaam from The Attic for calling me and having me over.

I understand there are two formats of mindful eating here, one is the one I attended, in the restaurant format, 6 tables of four floor seaters. The other is a simpler format. Try it, it's worth it.
The Attic is in the Regal Cinema building above The Shop.
Do you have an interesting story on Alternative Dinning. Please write in.
So Long!