Rooh brings new age Indian cuisine to the West Loop
Rooh brings new age Indian cuisine to the West Loop
By Carole Kuhrt Brewer , today at 7:43 am The Rooh team. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer Literally translated, Rooh means soul
Soul and spirit are what Rooh Chicago is all about. The highly-acclaimed Progressive Indian restaurant and cocktail bar that opened late May inside the former Lunatic, The Lover, & The Poet space in the West Loop (736 W Randolph) promises a unique and elevated dining experience.
The multi-level space features the main first floor dining room and extended bar area; a basement private dining room and a second floor lounge. Rooh exterior. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer
The authentic Indian restaurant offers charming, seasonal fare based on customary Indian sensibilities and international techniques, courtesy of respected Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar and Chef de Cuisine Sahil Sethi.
The Spirit of Rooh
Complete with an innovative cocktail menu and an eclectic, modern design, “Rooh,” meaning soul or spirit, brings that spirit to Chicago’s “Restaurant Row.”
Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar explains, “When developing the culinary programming for Rooh Chicago, we have made a conscious effort to work with both local and specialty purveyors to ensure we are providing our patrons with the finest ingredients putting a focus on incorporating the influence of the Chicago food scene into our cuisine by including unique items, such as our take on a hot dog with Malabar prawn sausage and kasundi mustard.” Chef Sujan Sarkar
Named Times Chef of the Year in India, Sarkar has combined the country’s rich traditional and regional flavors with local Chicago ingredients and modern techniques.
Small Plates or Large Plates
Take your pick.
Small plates on the menu include: Green Pea and Goat Cheese stuffed unleavened bread, with shaved fresh truffle, goat butter, and pea shoot; Tuna Chaat with avocado, green mango, chilled melon rasam, and puffed black rice; Cauliflower Koliwada with home-made spiced chickpea batter deep fried and tossed in house peanut chutney, served with tempered yogurt and rice mousse with peanut thecha; and Fresh Oyster served with charred unripen mango granita, pickled chili, and finger lime pearls.
Large plates include the Paneer Pinwheel , a roulade of nuts and marinated cottage cheese served with makhani sauce and fenugreek; Achari Monk Fish, wrapped in a bamboo leaf and served with kerala allepey curry; Lamb Chop, coated with pistachio and curry leaf crumb, baby eggplant moussaka, and varuval gravy; and Beef Short Rib Curry, braised in house spice mix of cumin, coriander, and black pepper and served with madras curry, semolina coated bone marrow croquette, and garlic mashed potato.
Those with a sweet tooth can choose from dessert options including Haji Ali Cream served with fresh mango and honey comb in a mango shell and Baked Semolina Cake with milk ice cream and toasted pistachio.
Cocktails Shaken or stirred, Rooh has them both. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer
This is an area where “Rooh” really showcases its spirit. Guests can choose from nine seasonal cocktails inspired by ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and its six tastes, or rasas – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter. Cocktails are beautifully presented with fresh fruit and edible flowers. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer
The cocktail menu features innovation selections such as the Hyderabad Tonic with gin, turmeric, orange thyme, and grapefruit tonic; Pink City with tequila, guava, chili, and Rooh masala; and Malabar Old Fashioned with bourbon, coco-almond, coffee bitters, and maple among others.
What: ROOH Chicago
Are These ’16 Easy Tests’ to Check Whether Food Is ‘Fake or Real’?
or Learn More Origin
In June 2019, tens of millions of Facebook users watched and shared a viral video that purported to demonstrate “16 easy tests” to determine whether certain foods and drinks were “fake” or “real.”
The video was posted on 1 June by Blossom, a digital publishing brand that creates viral content, often in the form of “listicles” — “8 ways to transform and upgrade your wardrobe,” “3 oddly satisfying stress relievers,” “4 super cool ways to use ice cube trays,” and so on. Within a few days, viewers shared the video more than 3 million times and viewed it more than 85 million times.
The video purports to show short clips of DIY food “experiments,” along with subtitles that add a degree of detail:
The 16 tests outlined in the video constituted a mixture of falsehoods and recycled urban myths — one or two which have a grain of truth to them, and several of which address types of adulteration that are absent from the United States and many other countries but have been reported in India and parts of the developing world. On the whole, the video served its viewers poorly as a source of reliable information about food safety and adulteration.
In a statement sent in response to the spread of the video, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Snopes:
Federal law requires that food is safe and properly labeled. For example, all food additives and color additives must be approved by FDA before market entry, and the labeling of food must be truthful and not misleading. We take food contamination and fraud very seriously and do take action when problems arise, especially if it appears that the adulteration was intentional. Consumers should rest assured that most of the practices illustrated in this video are not legal in the U.S. and any FDA-regulated product that violates or appears to the violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, may be subject to seizure, mandatory recall, or other enforcement action … Consumers should be able to trust that the foods they eat are safe and videos like these can undermine the confidence consumers have in the FDA’s role in maintaining the safety our food supply …
For its part, First Media , the company that operates the Blossom brand, told us via a spokesperson: “The video does not claim that all products or specific manufacturers include these materials, nor does it make any health or nutritional suggestions or recommendations. They are demonstrations of things we consider to be important for our global audience, however this content is intended only for informational purposes and as entertainment.”
We sent the video and its 16 claims to Eric Decker, head of the Department of Food Science in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, one of the leading academic food science programs in the United States. Here is our breakdown of the 16 tests, based on Decker’s assessments and the supporting evidence provided to Snopes by First Media.
1. “Processed cheese with chemicals is difficult to melt”: FALSE
The claim that processed cheese is hard to melt is an old one, and a subject we have previously examined in detail . It first emerged in late 2014 when internet users began posting videos of themselves setting fire to slices of American cheese in an effort to prove that the cheese was “fake.”
When asked for supporting evidence, a spokesperson for First Media directed us to a 2015 Vice News article and wrote: “Processed cheese contains an added ingredient known as ‘Emulsifying Salt’ which is known to ‘help bind fats, proteins, and water in cheese.’” Interestingly, the Vice article that First Media relied on as evidence carried the headline “Stop Setting Your Cheese on Fire” and warned: “Videos purporting to demonstrate the evil stuff in processed cheese have started making the rounds online. Problem is, they don’t prove anything except how little we know about our food.”
In response to this section of the video, Decker told us:
“That’s exactly the opposite of reality … There are additives that are added to processed cheese to help the cheese melt … They take real cheese and they add what they call chelating salts and things like citric acid. That helps break the protein [casein] down. The protein in regular cheese is very aggregated together. So when you melt it, you see these clumps. If you can get those proteins to come apart, then it’s much easier to melt the cheese.” [Emphasis is added].
2. “Rice is mixed with plastic bits to increase manufacturer profit”: FALSE
This is another canard . Every so often, for the best part of the past decade, highly questionable and thinly sourced reports have been emerging from China and other Asian countries, as well as parts of Africa, claiming widespread adulteration of rice with plastic. So far, no reliable corroboration of those claims exists, which have caused panic in some countries and have been confirmed as hoaxes .
If you add plastic to rice and then cook that mixture, you might be able to identify the plastic by its melting, turning clear, or sticking to the frying pan. But no reliable evidence exists that such rice is bought or sold anywhere in the world (not least the United States) in the first place. When asked by Snopes, First Media declined to say how and where they obtained the rice shown in the video, and whether they had added anything to the rice before filming this portion of the video.
3. ‘Baby food contains ground-up rocks advertised as fortified calcium’: UNPROVEN
First Media told us this test was based on one included in a similar 2015 video, which can be viewed here . However, that video purportedly showed a magnet being used to locate and extract iron filings , not calcium, in baby food. We put that discrepancy to First Media, but they declined to clarify what their video actually showed, and also refused to say how and where they had obtained the baby food purportedly shown in the video or whether they had added anything to it before filming.
Either way, the video is framed in a highly misleading way, describing fortified calcium as “ground-up rocks.” Calcium, an earth metal, can be found naturally in rocks and other components of the earth’s surface, especially in limestone. On this subject, Decker told us that most supplemental calcium was ultimately derived from a rock. “That’s what’s in lime [stone]. You can get calcium that comes from oyster shells, you can get calcium that comes from all different sources.” He said the description of fortified calcium as “ground-up rocks” was “very misleading.” “The calcium they put in baby food would be no different than what they put in any food.”
4. “Synthetic supplements burn! Natural supplements won’t!”: FALSE
“That’s just bullshit,” Decker told us. “There’s just no basis to any of that. Most synthetic supplements are chemically identical to natural supplements.” In response to our request for supporting evidence, First Media directed us to another questionable 2015 video, which can be viewed here . That video also showed a tray of supplements — both capsules and tablets — baked in an oven. Those that burned or melted were identified as synthetic, those that did not were identified as natural. When asked by us, First Media refused to identify the supplements shown in their own video, and refused to say where and how they had obtained them.
5. ‘Glue’ in meat: MOSTLY TRUE
This section has to do with something called transglutaminase, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes as “an enzyme approved for use as a binder to form smaller cuts of meat into a larger serving of meat. It is a natural substance derived from fermented bacteria …”
Transglutaminase is sometimes colloquially referred to as “meat glue,” but First Media’s video had the potential to cause unnecessary alarm or misinformation by describing it simply as “glue,” raising the specter of synthetic acrylic and epoxy glues being surreptitiously embedded in meat products.
We can’t verify that what is shown in the video is in fact meat glue, but we do know that transglutaminase is regarded as safe by U.S. federal authorities.
According to the USDA, “TG enzyme is a food binder that has been used in meat and poultry products for over 10 years. It was determined to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 for use to improve texture and cooking yields in various standardized meat and poultry products and as a protein cross-linking agent to fabricate or reform cuts of meat.”
6. Washing powder is added to ice cream “for shine and lightness”: FALSE
As evidence in relation to this section of the video, First Media sent Snopes a link to a 2018 post on a relatively obscure Indian blog which claimed that ice cream is sometimes adulterated with “Detergents or washing powder to improve smoothness and induce frothing thereby adding to the volume.”
The warning appears to have originated with speeches and checklists prepared in 2012 and 2013 by Sitaram Dixit, then chairman of a non-profit organization called the Consumer Guidance Society of India. In a 2013 document , Dixit outlined two tests for determining the presence of washing powder in ice cream:
“1. Put some lemon juice [in the ice cream], bubbles are observed if washing powder is present.
2. Add 1 ml of Hydrochloric acid (HCl) to a little of [sic] Sugar. If you observe effervescence, then washing powder is present.”
Despite this warning, no evidence exists of a pattern of behavior whereby retailers or manufacturers do, in fact, add washing powder or detergent to ice cream in order to add to its frothiness. We found no specific reports of any such incidents, either from India or elsewhere. In the context of the United States, we checked the FDA database of product-complaint reports from 2004 to 2018, and found not a single report of washing powder or detergent having been added to ice cream, or any other food or beverage product.
First Media’s video might well show lemon juice being added to a mixture of ice cream and washing powder. (The company again refused to say where they obtained the ice cream shown in the video and whether they had added anything to it before filming.) However, the underlying premise of this experiment — that manufacturers or retailers do, in fact, add washing powder to ice cream “for shine and lightness” — is false.
Most of the remaining 10 claims can be traced back to guidelines published in 2015 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a legitimate statutory agency operating under the aegis of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian government. Food adulteration is a serious and widespread problem in India, to an extent that is not replicated in the United States and many other developed countries. Some of the remaining tests in the Blossom video were based on scientifically valid experiments, but they had to do with types of food and drink adulteration that either simply do not occur, or are not prevalent in the United States and many other countries. Although Blossom has an international audience, the brand served its viewers — particularly those living outside India — poorly by failing to mention any of that crucial context.
7. Milk is adulterated with rice water, but will turn blue in the presence of seaweed: MIXTURE
This test can be traced to the FSSAI guidelines , known as “Detect Adulteration with Rapid Test” (DART), which set out the following method:
“Boil 2-3 ml of sample with 5ml of water. Cool and add 2-3 drops of tincture of iodine. Formation of blue colour indicates the presence of starch. (In the case of milk, addition of water and boiling is not required)”.
As First Media explained to us by email, they used seaweed in their test because it is a good source of iodine. We haven’t been able to verify the iodine content of the particular seaweed they used, nor the composition of the milk samples featured in the videos. (The company refused to say where they obtained the milk or whether they added anything to it before filming, and they declined to answer a question about the prevalence of starch adulteration of milk in the United States.) However, the test is at least based on an FSSAI experiment that is scientifically legitimate, as confirmed by Decker.
Nonetheless, it is a test that addresses a type of adulteration (starch in milk) that is not prevalent in the United States and many other developed countries. By failing to provide that crucial context, this section of the video presented a highly misleading impression to tens of millions of viewers.
8. “Old produce is often dyed to make it look fresh” (and rubbing it with oil and water will reveal the deception): MIXTURE
This test also originates in the FSSAI guidelines, which set out the following method:
“Take a cotton ball soaked in water or vegetable oil. (conduct the test separately). Rub the outer red surface of the sweet potato. If cotton absorbs colour, then it indicates the usage of rhodamine B for colouring the outer surface of sweet potato.”
Clearly, food products in India feature color additives such as rhodamine B to an extent or frequency that warrants the intervention of the FSSAI. However, the same is not true in the United States. Since 1983, the FDA has banned the two types of Rhodamine B for use in drugs and cosmetics due to their carcinogenic properties. Since rhodamine B is not affirmatively listed as safe for use in food, it is therefore also effectively banned for use in food. For that reason, food manufacturers — subject to FDA inspections and fearful of punishment for violating food safety regulations — don’t use rhodamine B. In rare cases when they do, the FDA takes action against them. In light of these facts, it’s not clear where or how First Media obtained the sweet potato shown in the video, or whether they added anything to it before filming.
9. “Coffee with additives floats, pure coffee sinks”: UNPROVEN
This test can also ultimately be traced back to the FSSAI guidelines, but those guidelines set out methods to test for the presence of two specific substances apparently used in India to adulterate coffee: clay and chicory powder. In testing for clay, the FSSAI advised, “Add ½ teaspoon of coffee powder in a transparent glass of water. Stir for a minute and keep it aside for 5 minutes. Observe the glass at the bottom. Pure coffee powder will not leave any clay particles at the bottom. If coffee powder is adulterated, clay particles will settle at the bottom.”
In the illustration used to demonstrate the clay test, the unadulterated coffee floats on the surface of the glass of water, something Blossom claimed was characteristic of adulterated coffee:
In testing for the presence of chicory powder, the FSSAI guidelines advised: “Take a transparent glass of water. Add a teaspoon of coffee powder. Coffee powder floats over the water but chicory begins to sink.”
Here once again, the illustration shows pure coffee as floating on the surface of the water, while the chicory-adulterated coffee sinks. This is the opposite of what Blossom’s video claimed when it stated “pure coffee sinks.” For these reasons, among others, this particular test should not be considered reliable.
We asked First Media to specify the kinds of additives that were tested in its video, but we did not receive a response to that particular question.
10. Fake salt contains chalk and turns water cloudy: MIXTURE
Again, the practice of adulterating salt with chalk is one primarily seen in India. We could find no evidence of such a practice in the United States. As such, the “chalk in salt” test derives from the FSSAI guidelines, which outline the following advice:
“Stir a spoonful of sample of salt in a glass of water. The presence of chalk will make [the] solution white and other insoluble impurities will settle down.”
11. “Old split peas are coated in green dye to disguise them”: MIXTURE
It’s not clear how widespread the practice of adding green coloring to split peas is, but it has featured in unconfirmed news reports emanating from China and India , and it has also been the subject of viral hoaxes in India. It appears to be prevalent enough in India that the FSSAI included it in some guidelines, advising: “Detection of artificial colour on green peas: Take little amount of green peas in a transparent glass. Add water to it and mix well. Let it stand for half an hour. Clear separation of colour in water indicates adulteration.”
However, no evidence shows that the practice is prevalent in the United States or other developed countries. Furthermore, it’s not clear that Blossom’s video actually shows green dye being removed from split peas, as opposed to the process of chlorophyll degradation, which occurs naturally when green split peas are exposed to the heat of boiling water.
12. “Pure spices burn and ignite, impure spices don’t”: UNPROVEN
This claim too can be traced back to the FSSAI guidelines, but those guidelines specifically related to asafoetida, a gum that is used widely in Indian cuisine. By contrast, the Blossom video referred only to “spices,” and showed a spoonful of turmeric.
The FSSAI guidelines advised: “Detection of foreign resin in asafoetida: Burn small quantity of asafoetida in a stainless steel spoon. Pure asafoetida will burn like camphor [a flammable wax]. Adulterated asafoetida will not produce bright flame like camphor.”
While asafoetida adulteration might well be prevalent in India, and lighting a flame under a spoonful of it might indeed be a scientifically valid means of determining whether the asafoetida contains adulterants, it simply cannot be assumed that the same test works for other spices. As Decker observed: “Trying to extend that test to turmeric isn’t necessarily accurate, because those two spices have very different compositions.”
We asked First Media for a list of spices to which the “flame” test applied, but we did not receive a response to that question.
13. Some honey is diluted with water and diluted honey extinguishes a flame in a candle wick: MOSTLY TRUE
This test also originates in the FSSAI guidelines, which state: “Take a cotton wick dipped in a pure honey and light with a match stick. Pure honey will burn. If adulterated, the presence of water will not allow the honey to burn. If it does, it will produce a cracking sound.”
The FSSAI test appears to be valid, and appears to have been replicated by the makers of the video. However, it’s worth noting that in the context of the United States, the primary way in which honey is adulterated is by being mixed with corn syrup or cane sugar, not by being diluted with water. In light of that fact, it’s not clear where First Media obtained diluted honey, or whether they themselves added water to pure honey before filming.
14. “Pure tea doesn’t stain, impure tea stains instantly”: MIXTURE
Black teas get their characteristic dark colors from the tannins they contain. As such, even unadulterated tea might leave a stain, as anyone who has dropped a tea bag on to a garment or piece of paper can attest.
However, the FSSAI guidelines do contain a test that is designed to determine not just whether a tea is “impure,” as the video ambiguously claims, but specifically whether old tea leaves have been artificially colored with coal-tar dye: “Detection of exhausted tea in tea leaves: Take a filter paper and spread [a] few tea leaves. Sprinkle with water to wet the filter paper. Wash the filter paper under tap water and observe the stains against light. Pure tea leaves will not stain the filter paper. If coal tar is present, it will immediately stain the filter paper.”
We asked First Media to clarify what they meant by “impure” tea, but we did not receive a response to that question. As such, we cannot evaluate the validity or reliability of the test shown in the video.
15. ‘If butter contains oil, added sugar will turn pink’: UNPROVEN
First Media cited a source that claimed: “Add a pinch of sugar to a teaspoon of melted ghee in a bottle. Shake well. Check it after 5 minutes, if you see the colour change to red, then it contains vegetable oil.”
That purported test can ultimately be traced back to a document published by Dixit, the former chairman of the Consumer Guidance Society of India, whose claims formed the basis of the “washing powder in ice cream” test above. Dixit outlined an experiment for determining the presence of vanaspati, a kind of vegetable shortening, in butter or ghee (clarified butter): “Take one teaspoonful of melted ghee or butter with equal quantity of Conc. Hydrochloric acid in a test tube. Add to it a pinch of cane sugar. Shake well for one minute and let it stand for five minutes. Crimson red colour in lower layer shows the presence of Vanaspati.”
First Media’s video claimed only that the presence of “oil” (presumed to be vegetable oil) would cause sugar to turn pink in butter. However, the source the company cited and the original source both claimed the sugar would turn red, not pink, and the original source said the sugar would turn “crimson red,” and only after the inclusion of concentrated hydrochloric acid in the mixture.
Without any further details about the precise ingredients and process employed by First Media (which the company failed to provide), and in light of these discrepancies, we can’t draw any definitive conclusions about the validity of the test shown in the video.
16. Some fresh produce is coated in wax, and warm water removes the wax: TRUE
This is the only clearly accurate claim in the video. We can’t say for certain that what is shown in the video is indeed wax being removed from a bell pepper by warm water, but there’s no doubt that producers and retailers do sometimes apply wax coatings to fruit and vegetables, as Decker outlined: “That’s common. Vegetables are waxed a lot. The main purposes of waxing the vegetable, one of them is to give it that shiny appearance, but the other one is to prevent moisture loss.”
So the application of a thin coating of wax is a real phenomenon, as the video states, but this doesn’t indicate that the food is “fake” — rather, it’s a safe, FDA- approved way to help the produce look shinier and last longer. As Decker observed: “All these waxes are edible, anyway. They’re approved food additives.”
In summary, this particular section of the video is actually accurate, but it shouldn’t be a cause of too much concern for consumers.
Edinburgh International Book Festival Launches 2019 Programme @edbookfest #LoveBooks – Love Books Group
Edinburgh International Book Festival Launches 2019 Programme @edbookfest #LoveBooks We Need New Stories Edinburgh International Book Festival Launches 2019 Programme
In an era of contradiction and division the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival invites authors and audiences to find new stories to give meaning to the world. Stories are to society what DNA is to human life – small strings of information which become bound together to make up a shared understanding of humanity’s place in the world. The 2019 programme, launched today, brings together writers from all over the world for the most international gathering in the Festival’s history to participate in a series of conversations, debates, workshops and performances to champion their stories.
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “Stories are devices that help humans make sense of a complex world. At a time of uncertainty, simple narratives such as ‘Make America Great Again’ or ‘Take Back Control,’ may be enticing to some, but do they tell us what’s truly achievable? The 2019 Book Festival looks at seismic changes in 21st century society, including the impact of technology; the collapse of trust in who’s telling the truth; and the increasing dominance of certain languages at the expense of others. These have long been the terrain of science fiction, but this Festival’s theme is not only focusing on fiction. Whether we’re listening to scientists and politicians or mythmakers and poets, to understand the world around us We Need New Stories.”
New voices at the Book Festival this year include award-winning Indian author, citizen and activist Arundhati Roy who makes her first appearance in Edinburgh in conversation with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Joining her in making their long-awaited debuts in Charlotte Square Gardens are two leading Australian novelists Thomas Keneally and YA writer Markus Zusak. From Indonesia the world-renowned poet, essayist and playwright Goenawan Mohamad comes to discuss his life and work and from France the Festival welcomes two writers shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize – Annie Ernaux and Mathias Énard.
Major book launches at the Festival across the adult and Baillie Gifford children’s programmes include new novels from Salman Rushdie, Cressida Cowell, Tracy Chevalier, Ann Cleeves (who introduces her new detective), Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, James Meek and Deborah Levy. Composer James MacMillan launches his memoir and Branko Milanovic is interviewed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Eddie Izzard speaks about his audio recording of Dickens’ Great Expectations and there is more great fiction from Kate Atkinson, Harry Hill, Clare Balding, Tim Winton, David Nicholls, Joanne Harris, Mark Haddon and Roddy Doyle who is in conversation with Blindboy, one half of the Irish comedy hip-hop duo Rubberbandits.
Lead sponsors Baillie Gifford have expanded their support of the children’s and education programmes resulting in a new interactive children’s area and, in a new collaboration for 2019, The New York Times is not only sponsoring the Main Theatre in Charlotte Square Gardens but also working with the Festival to present a series of panel discussions on climate, gender, the future of technology and China. Leading writers from the newspaper including European tech correspondent Adam Satariano, European styles correspondent Elizabeth Paton and photographer Josh Haner are joined by Energy at the End of the World’ s Laura Watts, American feminist campaigner Naomi Wolf and Yuan Yang, co-Founder of Rethinking Economics amongst others to discuss the key issues of the day.
Important women’s voices include former BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie, who launches her new book Equal , Caroline Criado-Perez and Mary Portas who all call for radical change. Campaigner Gina Martin offers an empowering toolkit for activism and change while Danish comedian Sofie Hagen discusses body image. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in conversation with Olympian Katherine Grainger, Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, Labour MP Rachel Reeves and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup all share their collections of inspirational women.
Stories around race and identity are explored by actress Zawe Ashton, Scottish model Eunice Olumide, US author and Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead and former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, who both launch their highly anticipated new novels. Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, children’s illustrator Mylo Freeman and author Serena Patel explore similar themes for younger audiences and three voices from the US – Kwame Alexander, National Poetry Slam Champion Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds bring their lyrical verse novels for young adults. Other authors writing gritty stories for young adults on topics including transgender, #MeToo, sexuality and mental health include Irish novelist John Boyne, Juno Dawson, Robert Muchamore, Alex Wheatle and Anthony McGowan.
A key voice in the US protest movement Black Lives Matter, DeRay Mckesson makes his first appearance in Edinburgh as one of the 2019 Guest Selectors. Mckesson talks to Texan writer Casey Gerald about growing up underprivileged, black and gay in Dallas; to Ibram X Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center in Washington DC, who launches his new book How To Be an Antiracist , and to Fatima Bhutto and Regina Porter about why everyone, no matter who they are, should have a role in making a better society. Val McDermid tackles Home/Less in her Guest Selector strand, speaking to Ali Smith, Karine Polwart and Palestinian author Nayrouz Qarmout about individuals and families who’ve faced the decision to leave their homeland; to Leila Aboulela, Robin Robertson and Kamila Shamsie about the meaning of ‘home’ and explores the many forms of homelessness in conversation with Danny Dorling, Geetha Marcus and Joelle Taylor. The 2019 Illustrator in Residence, Eilidh Muldoon, is a hugely popular Edinburgh artist who will be hosting a series of events including a cocktail and colouring event for adults, a bookmaking workshop for teens and a discussion about picture books in translation.
The 2019 Book Festival presents the most international programme in its history, with over 60 countries represented. In addition to Oman’s Jokha Alharthi, winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, audiences can enjoy novels from Mexico’s Emiliano Monge, musician Rita Indiana from the Dominican Republic, Sulaiman Addonia who originates from Eritrea and Khalid Khalifa from Syria. Margaret Busby introduces her collection New Daughters of Africa and is joined by contributors Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and Bernardine Evaristo, and in the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme illustrators Fifi Kuo from Kuwait and Czech Petr Horáček appear together with debut novelist Yasmin Rahman from El Salvador and Finland’s Maria Turtschaninoff who concludes her thrilling The Red Abbey Chronicles series.
Alongside the internationalism of the programme, indigenous languages play a key role. Throwing Voices is a unique collaborative project looking at how local language, culture and tradition can resonate across linguistic divides. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, five pairs of authors have shared words and objects and worked with a musician to create a boundary-crossing performance. Among them, Basque writer Uxue Alberdi and Irish poet Ciara MacLaverty have collaborated with harpist Rachel Newton; Sami writer Linnéa Axelsson and Inuit poet and throat singer Taqralik Partridge share their experiences with folk musician Kate Young, and Gaelic poet Rody Gorman and New Zealand writer Tayi Tibble have worked with Scottish Indian beatbox artist Bigg Taj. As part of the Scotland goes Basque programme the Festival welcomes leading figures in the Basque literary scene including Harkaitz Cano, Miren Agur Meabe and Bernardo Atxaga.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Edinburgh International Book Festival raises Scotland’s cultural profile on a worldwide stage, by stimulating debate and intriguing audiences. The Scottish Government is proud to provide support through our Expo fund, with £120,000 in 2019 for Throwing Voices, which shows how language connects us to powerful expressions of local and international identity in the 21st century.”
International authors also feature in the 46 novels and short stories eligible for the Festival’s First Book Award. Alongside Greenland’s Niviaq Korneliussen, Singaporean Jing-Jing Lee and Nigerian authors Jumoke Verissimo and Dean Atta, news reader George Alagiah, scientist Jim Al-Khalili, actor Richard Lumsden and Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism, all bring their debut fiction to Edinburgh.
Authors finding new ways to talk about climate change in a series of events presented in collaboration with WWF include former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee, geneticist Professor Steve Jones and Alex Rogers, a pioneer in marine biology and consultant on BBC’s Blue Planet II . The Festival also introduces new nature writing celebrating the wonders of our natural world. Master wordsmith Robert Macfarlane takes a lyrical journey into the hidden worlds beneath our feet and Kathleen Jamie previews her luminous new essay collection, Surfacing . Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge and adventurer Robin Knox-Johnston discuss their extraordinary lives, historian Neil Oliver turns his attention to the landscape of the British Isles and Brigid Benson reveals the secrets of the North coast of Scotland. For younger readers Chris Mould has illustrated a new edition of Iron Man , Nicola Davies brings her Country Tales series and YA writers Marcus Sedgwick & C A Fletcher introduce ideas about civilisation and its impact on the planet.
The Book Festival’s Citizen project , supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme, is bringing together people in communities across the city, in Muirhouse, Liberton and Wester Hailes, to interrogate the word ‘citizen’. Participants in Citizen are joined in the Gardens by the project’s writers-in-residence Claire Askew and Eleanor Thom to discuss their ideas. In addition, a series of events take inspiration from these community discussions welcoming Clare Hunter and Esther Rutter who explore the radically restorative powers of crafting, knitting and sewing; Iranian writer Dina Nayeri and journalist Nick Thorpe who share their stories of refugees and Kerry Hudson who joins American author Sarah Smarsh to discuss their experiences of working-class life.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “For centuries Edinburgh has exported stories to the world, leading to its designation as the first ever UNESCO City of Literature. Since the International Book Festival launched, we have welcomed some of the greatest minds and most interesting writers on the planet to exchange ideas and share their stories. In line with our aspirations to expand the reach of festival activity beyond the city centre and into our communities, I’m delighted that through our PLACE programme partnership, we are able to support the Citizen programme which does exactly that.”
Food fosters community, and the World on a Plate strand of events includes Afternoon Teas with Alissa Timoshkina, founder of the KinoVino film supper club, Palestinian chef Joudie Kalla and champagne expert Davy Zyw. Bake-Off finalist James Morton and his father Tom Morton reveal the delights of Shetlandic cuisine, and food writers Jack Monroe, Prue Leith and Scottish chef Gary Maclean all introduce new recipe books. The University of Cambridge geneticist Giles Yeo explores the science of obesity and the truth about diets, food historian Robyn Metcalfe introduces her new book examining the challenges of the food supply chain and also joins Helen Browning and Dieter Helm in the debate on Futureproofing Food.
The Book Festival’s partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh returns for a third year with special one-off interpretations of three new cult classics: Miriam Toews’ Women Talking , Charlotte Higgins’ Under Another Sky and David Keenan’s classic This is Memorial Device . The Playing with Books series continues with James Robertson and Aidan O’Rourke presenting 365, their ground-breaking project of words and music, and an extraordinary premiere performance of the late Tom Leonard’s Mother Courage led by Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn. Francesca Simon is joined by composer Gavin Higgins to discuss adapting her novel, The Monstrous Child , into an opera and, in a very special one-off event to close the Festival, The Hebrides Ensemble and composers including Linda Buckley, James MacMillan and Pàdruig Morrison, respond musically to the Festival audience’s favourite Last Lines.
A strong poetry strand includes readings from the newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, the breathtaking talents of Rachel Long, Tania Nwachukwu and Hibaq Osman from the Octavia poetry collective and an astonishing line-up of international poetry in The Divan Sessions. Activists and poets Lemn Sissay and Benjamin Zephaniah discuss their lives and the issues that inspire their work and the legend of dub poetry Linton Kwesi Johnson discusses the work of his friend Michael Smith, whose life was cut short when he was killed at a political rally in Jamaica. Concert pianist Susan Tomes writes on the joys of playing piano, Jane Glover shares her passion for Handel, BBC Radio broadcaster Robert Philip demystifies orchestral music, Everything but the Girl’s Tracey Thorn discusses her latest memoir and Glasgow Alt-folk musician Beerjacket performs songs and stories from his new album-book combination Silver Chords .
The University of Edinburgh’s James Tait Black Prizes celebrate their centenary, with the winners of the 2019 Fiction and Biography prizes being announced on stage at the Festival. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed by the University in partnership with the Book Festival, is now in its third year and participants are encouraged to attend events with some of this year’s shortlisted fiction authors including Will Eaves, Jesse Greengrass, Olivia Laing and Nafissa Thompson-Spires.
With support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Book Festival is committed to making the Gardens and events ever more accessible. This year there are captioned and BSL interpreted events across the programme and infra-red hearing assistance in all theatres. A new free sensory storytelling session has been created for adults and children with severe or multiple learning disabilities and there is a range of free events across the programme from 10 @10 in the morning to Unbound with Edinburgh Gin at night. An expanded selection of events across the programme has been designated Pay What You Can. The Book Festival village is fully accessible, with disabled toilets in both George Street and Charlotte Square Gardens and offers one of only twelve Changing Places accessible toilets in the centre of Edinburgh. A new ramp will give easy access to Charlotte Square Gardens from street level.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival receives funding from Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council and this year welcomes over 900 participants from over 60 different countries to its tented village in Charlotte Square Gardens and on George Street. The Festival runs from Saturday 10 to Monday 26 August 2019.
Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing at Creative Scotland commented: “The release of the Edinburgh International Book Festival programme is always a hotly anticipated event in the cultural calendar. For 2019 the team has curated an exceptional programme centred around books, stories and ideas that promises political engagement, experimentation, challenge, excitement and, of course, entertainment. Scottish artists, writers and thinkers are firmly centred in the programme alongside their international peers, presenting significant potential for creative exchange between home-grown voices and visitors. For audiences there is truly something for everyone, from the loyal festival crowd to – vitally – those who haven’t yet discovered the joy of books.”
Entrance to the Gardens is FREE and the gardens, cafés, bookshops and all venues are fully accessible. Full details of the programme can be found at www.edbookfest.co.uk . Tickets to all events go on sale at 8.30am on Tuesday 25 June 2019, online at www.edbookfest.co.uk , by phone on 0345 373 5888 or in person at the Box Office at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (on Tuesday 25 June only, thereafter at The Hub, Castlehill). PLEASE share our feature and click the like button to help us grow!
South X South Asia – The Spicy Savor
June 6, 2019 Hey Foodies!
This past weekend, the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival’s celebrated its 9th year! This was my first time attending the festival and I must admit that I was blown away by the seminars, learning events, and tasting tents! Featuring chefs from all over the south, the festival made sure to highlight key influences on southern cooking styles, particularly South Asian cuisines. Meherwan Irani
Meherwan Irani is the founder of both Chai Pani and Botiwalla restaurants as well as his spice collection, Spicewalla . As a child, Meherwan’s mother forbid him from eating street food because of her fear of him getting sick. Meherwan shared stories about him digging for coins in his mother’s purse, skipping class, and sneaking out the house just to enjoy Indian street food with his buddies, which in turn was the inspiration behind his popular, Indian street food brands. I had the pleasure to try one of Meherwan’s street snack staples, Behl Puri, which is a combination of puffed rice, vegetables, and sweet n’ spicy chutney. The flavors of the sweet onions paired with savory chutney was so refreshing in the summer heat. Be sure to try it out at one of Meherwan’s restaurants! Meherwan Irani Farhan Momin
Farhan, aka Farmo , is both a dentist and featured contestant on Master Chef. Famous for recreating southern dishes with a South Asian flare, Farhan showcased his Karee buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with pickled jalapeño, garlic curry leaf jalapeño sauce, in a sweet Hawaiian bun. I had the pleasure to try his delicious twist on a southern fried chicken sandwich. The chicken was so tender and had a kick of heat, complemented by the cooling yet spicy jalapeño sauce. I think Chick-fil-a might have found their next competition? Farhan Momin Samantha Fore
Samantha Fore is a Sri Lankan Kentucky native who finds home in traditional cooking. With very little Sri Lankan restaurants within the southern states, Samantha focuses on filling the void with her Sri Lankan twists on southern staples. Samantha whipped up her specialty shrimp and vegan grits. The shrimp was cooked with sweet tomatoes in an aromatic and savory curry sauce, poured over a bed of hot grits. Who knew Sri Lankan cuisine had such overlap with your average shrimp and grits? Samantha Fore
What I enjoyed most about this festival was that attendees could interact with chefs outside of the restaurant. Both Farhan and Samantha took the liberty to discuss what their experience was like growing up South Asian in the South, and felt as though food was the bridge that connected the two cultures for them. As a South Asian food blogger, attending these particular seminars really resonated with me because I can also relate. South Asian and Southern cuisines have A LOT in common. Both cultures fry food, eat tons of meat, have a share of vegetables, and crank up the heat. The evolution of food is intertwined in so many cultures, and the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival did an outstanding job at selecting chefs who could truly capture the interconnectedness.
I hope you all enjoyed this post!
Until next time,
966 Words Ile Maurice
The sun was coming up as we touched down at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam airport in Mahébourg, on the south side of Ile Maurice. After a twelve-hour flight from Zurich, I was happy to see that we were going to get what we came for.
It is winter in Mauritius, which means slightly cooler weather. We mostly had temps around 25 Celsius, a few clouds along with the odd raindrop. Perfect for me as while I love spending time on the beach I am not a huge fan of the heat.
Our destination was Trou aux Biches, a beautiful lagoon on the opposite end of the island. Our driver gave us a guided tour through the mountainous interior during the one-hour ride.
I was surprised to see that English rules of the road apply, with driving on the left side. All of the road signs are in English, but the place names are French. This is due to the island’s colonial past, which switched over several times from Dutch to French to British before becoming independent in 1968.
Most people speak French as well as English, along with Créole and Hindi. The island’s location in the Indian ocean, although it is considered part of the African continent, and its geographic proximity to Asia, make it a popular destination for international tourists. Fields of ‘canne à sucre’ or sugar cane
‘Canne à sucre’ or sugar cane is traditionally the main industry on the island, and there are fields as far as the eye can see. It seems the crop has suffered of late from competition from the sugar beet, along with the world’s increasing aversion to sugar. Oddly, our driver told us there are also a great many call centers now in Mauritius, taking advantage of the multilingual workforce.
Our resort was a bit of a splurge, with infinity pools and waterfalls, gorgeous landscaping, a semi-private beach (there were still hawkers regularly flogging their wares) and as a bonus, bar service!
This was less of an adventure and more of a beach vacation. All I need is a shady lounger and a stack of books to be happy. It was heaven!
Ile Maurice is two hours ahead of France time-wise, so we woke a bit later than usual. Each day started with bright sunshine and the screeching of birds. Being in the southern hemisphere and the shortest days of the year also meant that the sun set rather early, around 5:30 pm.
The only inconvenience was mosquitos, which came out in force after dark. We tried to cover up and use deet (yuck) as there have been warnings about the risk of dengue fever. But we sat outside — hey, tropical vacation — and naturally still got bitten. They are tiny little buggers and I neither saw nor felt the bites until they started to itch the next day.
One of the things we enjoyed most on Mauritius was the variety of food. The Indian influence means a lot of spicier options, curries and such, which we both love. Plus the classic French cuisine, along with Italian.
The hotel bar had some fabulous cocktails. My favourite had ginger, brandy and rum. Not too sweet but with a nice kick!
The local beer is also excellent. That’s a Phoenix for me, and Monsieur will have his usual non-alcoholic option.
We left the hotel compound for dinner several times. Aside from the breakfast buffet, which was utterly decadent, the hotel restaurants were overpriced and the food only passable. Also, given the British influence, there was dress code for dinner which meant husband had to wear long pants and shirt with collar – not a win for Monsieur! Fortunately the hotel staff were happy to accommodate by driving us across the resort by golf cart to walking distance from the nearby restaurants. It was a fun ride: those electric ‘voiturettes’ as they call them can really go!
We went back to one place, Le Pescatore, twice. This beet sorbet amuse-bouche was amazing.
The fish was in a light coconut curry sauce. The desserts were to die for!
We took a day trip to visit some sights in the north part of the island. Port Louis, the capital city, served up a mix of old and new.
There was a wonderful market hall with all kinds of fresh produce and goods. As everywhere, the signs are in English.
We are terrible at negotiating so ended up paying way too much for some spices. Ah well, it was fun and at least we supported the local economy!
The surrounding beaches in the north end from Mont Choisy to Grand Baie offered beautiful expanses of white sand flanked by pine forest.
We stopped to see a fishing village called Cap Malheureux (Cape Misfortune) with a history of ships foundering on the rocks and lovely views out to the nearby mountainous islands.
One place on our route was called ‘Balaclava’ and husband asked the driver why. The guide seemed baffled and had no idea what the word actually meant. Turns out that the French had renamed certain places that had been historically dubbed with English names. Thus ‘black lava’ became ‘balaclava’. Nothing to do with the head gear!
Other than that, we did very little. Was it because we had only a week with a long flight on either end? I’m not sure but for some reason, for once I was happy to just kick back and relax. The explorations of the mountains and remote islands will have to wait for a return visit.
On our flight out, despite the clouds playing peek-a-boo, you could see the coral reef that surrounds Mauritius, making it a safe haven for shark-free swimming and snorkeling.
Au revoir, Ile Maurice! Hope to visit your beautiful shores again one day. Share this:
The Great Outdoors: Al Fresco Dining
written by Gaby Dyson
Katy Hofstede-Smith imparts her top tips for making the most of al fresco dining this summer…
Summer is all about making the most of being outside and enjoying whatever good weather we are blessed with. For a country with so few sunny summer days – last year’s scorcher excluded – we tend to get stuck into any opportunities for al fresco dining that are going!
Nowadays, outdoor dining is less about prawn sandwiches and a bag of crisps and more of an exciting affair. But what to pack and how to transport it depends entirely on what you are doing and where…
If you are attending something relatively formal, such as the races or outdoor proms, then ‘more is more’ is your maxim. As these events usually allow for back-of-car-dining or some form of transport; pack a table, folding chairs, silverware and anything else required to make it truly fabulous. These events lend themselves to more ‘classic’ dishes but that shouldn’t stop you adding a few interesting twists. Cold Poached Salmon with a Gin & Cucumber Dressing is a solid choice, as is a Green Vegetable Medley; made by simply mixing together asparagus, peas, cucumber, spring onion and mint with a pesto dressing. I would complement these dishes with freshly baked focaccia or rolls, as well as warm new potatoes with herby butter. Follow all of this with individual Eton Mess puddings, heavy with berries and washed down with cold sparkling wine or Cucumber & Mint Water.
For a relaxed beach or countryside picnic you need to think more carefully about what to carry. Some old woolen blankets make the best picnic rugs and you can add some large cushions for extra comfort. Food can be more relaxed but try to do something different to make it more interesting. Instead of a picnic pie, try adding a Moroccan twist to proceedings with a chicken pastilla (a delicious pastry, flavoured with cinnamon and encased in icing sugar dusted filo). This is an interesting change to the more traditional pie varieties, but it travels equally well. Other great dish ideas include: Beetroot Dip with Crudités or Mini Boiled Quails’ Eggs, peeled at home and dipped in to a flavoured salt. Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls filled with prawns, rice noodles and fresh vegetable ribbons and herbs can be made quickly at home and are fantastic on a hot summer day, served with a spicy dipping sauce. Finish the meal off with some fun and slightly retro layered jellies. These are easy to transport and look great; especially if you make a large one and turn it out onto a board when you arrive.
For many al fresco dinners, it can be fun to get creative and theme your menus. I like to make an Indian feast with tikka flavoured meats, Spiced Roasted Cauliflower Salad, some flat breads, crunchy spiced vegetable salads and Indian dips. For dessert, I recommend something simple but tasty, like Indian rice pudding with dried fruits or a spiced set milk pudding. Middle Eastern dishes lend themselves fabulously to this type of catering as well. The cuisine typically features lots of dips, salads, cheeses, flatbreads and cooked kebabs to choose from. A selection of baklava, served with some hot mint tea, is a fantastic way to end a feast before returning to the outdoor entertainment.
Transporting your food and drink doesn’t have to be difficult. There are lots of beautiful picnic boxes and containers available these days which can double up as serve ware. Alternatively, look for unusual ideas such as tiffin boxes for an Indian feast. To keep things cool during transportation try copious amounts of cool blocks alongside frozen bottles of water and premade cordials. Not only will these chill your food but they will also melt during the day and provide perfectly chilled drinks. To transport hot dishes, use thermos flasks and plan your dishes carefully to ensure that your ingredients will fit. Alternatively, depending on where you are going you could bring a portable barbeque with you (preferably a gas version rather than a disposable). Plan to cook simple meat dishes in situ and make sure that everything is prepared in advance so it’s just a matter of assembling and cooking your meal. 0 comment
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East or west, ilish is the best | Research News, The Indian Express
Several of those who belong to the club of partition immigrants from East Bengal, consider the Hilsa much more than a fish that is to be consumed. It is a part of their cultural ethos Top News Amid tussle with ‘Captain’, Sidhu loses key portfolios, gets Power ministry ICC demands Indian Army insignia to be removed from Dhoni’s gloves Live World Cup: Starc, Coulter-Nile power Australia to 15-run win over West Indies “Ghoti der ke toh amrai khaiye poriye manush korlam,” says my mother as she spreads across large luscious pieces of the mighty Hilsa for marination in turmeric and salt. In essence what she meant to say was that those who migrated from East Bengal after Bengal split into two in 1947, are the ones who educated the original residents of West Bengal (the Ghoti) to eat and drink right. As my mother’s face glows with pride over the supposed victory of teaching the Ghoti to eat like a true Bengali, she points to the Hilsa shining in all its glory and about to be submerged into a pan of mustard oil. For of course it is the Hilsa, the very pride of the Bengali culinary world, that the Bangal most fervently uphold as evidence of their contribution to the development of the Ghoti palette.
Advertising Much like my mother, several others who belong to the club of partition immigrants from East Bengal, consider the Hilsa much more than a fish that is to be consumed. It is a part of their cultural ethos that evokes nostalgia and pride over a home that was long lost by the stroke of a pencil that Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew to divide the once united Indian subcontinent into two nations based on religious demographics. This is not to say that the Ghoti, or their descendants, would under any circumstances agree with the Bangal assertion of superior food culture, particularly of their determined claim of consuming the best kind of Hilsa. The fish is an object of equal sentiment to them, who consume it with much relish and uphold it to the world as the finest among the finest of what the Bengali cuisine has to offer.
The majestic downpour of monsoons that take place in the middle of the year is a much welcome relief from the sultry, humid summers of Bengal. But for the Bengali epicurean, the monsoons are also a time to look forward to a large range of the best ilish maach (Hilsa) that come with the season. In the riverine landscape of Bengal, which includes both the East and the West, fish is of utmost importance. Not only is it the staple diet, a driver of the economy and that of pleasure, but the fish is also of customary significance with ceremonies related to marriage, birth, and death often having a ‘fishy’ touch to it. However, we can be certain that no other fish evokes the kind of emotion and pride that the Hilsa does.
“The mystique of the Hilsa can be understood only in the context of a larger Bengal that was split into two by the 1947 Partition of India-West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan which later became the country of Bangladesh,” food historian Chitrita Banerjee writes about the Bengali obsession with the fish in her book.
Advertising The Hilsa and its split personality If one were to get a bird’s eye view of an undivided Bengal, one would see a delta with a large number of rivers flowing across its plains. These numerous rivers, including the Ganga, the Padma and the Brahmaputra that ultimately flow into the salty waters of the Bay of Bengal provide Bengal with a climate and topography perfectly suitable for the unbelievably large variety of fish that forms part of the Bengali diet. Ask any person what he or she best associates with the Bengali personality, and one can be fairly certain of the response: ‘they love fish’.
Bengali’s love for fish, connected as it is to its riverine landscape, has been a common factor that links the two sides regardless of religion, caste or creed. However, when Sir Radcliffe drew the line of partition between the two Bengals, he also divided the rivers between the two sides. The Ganges was now a part of West Bengal, while the Padma and Meghna flowed through East Pakistan. Essentially a saltwater fish, the Hilsa is found in the Bay of Bengal, but it travels upwards through the various rivers and its tributaries during the spawning season. The nature of the migration is such that larger concentrations of the fish is found in the rivers on the side of Bangladesh. This is not to say that the Hilsa is not available in the rivers flowing through West Bengal. However, they are much lesser in number in the waters of the state which is more favourable to the breeding of Crustaceans. The division of the Hilsa between the waters of East and West Bengal eventually went on to become an object of cultural rivalry between the two sides.
Bengali’s love for fish, connected as it is to its riverine landscape, has been a common factor that links the two sides regardless of religion, caste or creed. (Illustration: Subrata Dhar) It is to be noted, that though the geographical boundary that separates the two Bengals is fairly modern in origin, the languages and manners of the people on either side have been different for centuries. “The languages and the ways of the people of the eastern side- people usually called Bangals by their detractors on the west, were for long an object of amused contempt in the western side of Bengal,” writes historian Dipesh Chakrabarty in his article, ‘Remembered villages: Representation of Hindu-Bengali memoirs in the aftermath of the partition’. When the partition took place and a large number of Hindu Bengalis from the eastern side were forced to migrate to the west, the age-old differences between the two groups was suddenly heightened, with each making every effort to assert their superiority over the other. Food culture was one among many other aspects of rivalry between the two.
Whose Hilsa is it anyway? “Renowned Bengali writer, Sunil Gangopadhyay had once remarked that the Ilish from river Padma is far tastier than the one from the Ganges,” says Prabal Banerjee. A third-generation East Bengal immigrant, he says that all his life he has been told by his predecessors that the Hilsa found in the Ganges is not even worth carrying its name. His enthusiasm in asserting East Bengal’s superiority when it comes to the Hilsa is shared by 78-year-old Dilip Kumar Chatterjee who believes that before the migration of the Bangal into West Bengal, the Ghoti barely knew anything about the large variety of fish specimens that today Bengal is so proud of. “Ghoti ra ilish maach er mohotto kono din bujhbe na (The Ghoti will never understand the true worth of the Hilsa),” he says smugly.
Best Of Express Amid tussle with ‘Captain’, Sidhu loses key portfolios, gets Power ministry ICC demands Indian Army insignia to be removed from Dhoni’s gloves Live World Cup: Starc, Coulter-Nile power Australia to 15-run win over West Indies Commenting on the difference in the preparation of Hilsa among the two groups, Malabika Biswas says “the Ghoti add sugar to the fish they cook. A Bangal would rather die than doing so.” “Actually Bangladesh any day produces better fish than West Bengal, and that is not restricted to the Hilsa alone,” says Biswas. She explains that the reason behind Bangladesh producing better quality fish is because both freshwater and saltwater flows through its region, making it easier for a large variety of fish to breed there. Chatterjee on the other hand, explains the superiority of the Hilsa from East Bengal by connecting it with the British rule. “When the British ruled, majority of the industrial growth carried out by them was on the western part of Bengal. Hence, the Ganges has been polluted for a very long time. That kind of industrial development never happened in East Bengal, resulting in better quality fish there,” he says.
The Ghoti on the other hand, equally emotional about the Hilsa, can hardly agree with the Bangal assertion of rights over the Hilsa. “My mother makes a killer ilish bhapa; and I love it far more than any other fish. My parents, too, share my love for ilish,” says research scholar Anashya Ghosal. Rejecting the popular conception of Hilsa being more of a Bangal product, Ghoshal says that “it’s something that the newspapers and city hoteliers have constructed through memetics”.
Entrepreneur Srovonti Basu Bandopadhyay echoes Ghoshal in asserting a united love for the Hilsa among all Bengalis. “World has become a global platform nowadays so ilish is the favourite fish of all Bengalis regardless of whether she is Ghoti or Bangal,” she says. Food critic Jiya Chakraborty Prasad, however, prefers the Hilsa from Ganges over the one from Padma. “It’s mostly to do with the fish quality to be honest. The Padma Hilsa is fattier and chunkier. The Ganga one is sweeter and leaner. I have sampled both and from a foodie perspective I prefer the Ganga one,” she says. However, she too goes on to add that “it’s more of a cultural mix now! So I don’t think anything anymore sticks to d binaries regarding food at least.”
In the days following Partition, the Bangal and Ghoti both had a hard time coming to terms with the sudden changes. While loss of home was a cause of extreme pain for the Bangal, the change in demographics with the inflow of large number of migrants was reason for the Ghoti to be bothered. Eventually, though the differences and rivalries between the two groups have faded over 70 years and both come together to share equal enthusiasm in food, festival and sports. What remains today are jocular references to cultural superiority, such as whose ilish is it anyway.
40 Father’s Day 2019 Dining Deals in the PHX – Phoenix New Times
Chase’s Diner 2040 North Alma School Road, Chandler
Meat and more meat is on the menu for dad at Chase’s Diner . From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the big day, Chase’s Diner is serving the meat lover’s special which features bacon, ham, and sausage with two eggs, hash browns, and toast. This hearty meal is available for $12.29. If dad is watching his waistline, he can also opt to order from the regular menu. Wash down a Chompie’s sandwich with a buy one draft beer, get a second for $1 special. Courtesy of Chompie’s Chompie’s Multiple Locations
Surprise dad with the unexpected on Father’s Day. Gather his buddies at Chompie’s to enjoy a buy-one-draft, get-a-second-for-$1 deals. He can sit back, sip beer, and relax while eating deli favorites like a Reuben, roast beef, or turkey breast sandwich — not to mention that famous order of pastrami. This offer is available only on Sunday, June 16, at all Chompie’s locations. Creamistry Multiple Locations
The summer heat is gearing up in the Valley and by Father’s Day, a cool treat will definitely hit the spot. On Sunday, June 16, dads will receive half off any ice cream treat with the purchase of a regularly priced dessert. Dad and everyone else can scream for ice cream at all Creamistry locations. Daily Jam is offering mancakes to fulfill Dad’s sweet tooth. Courtesy of Daily Jam Daily Jam Multiple Locations
Is Dad up for a good cause? During Father’s Day weekend, Daily Jam will serve “mancakes” – stacks of pancake combinations with a choice of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and fruit. Daily Jam will donate $1 of each order to The 100 Club of Arizona, which provides financial assistance to families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches 1075 West Queen Creek Road, #1, Chandler
If you want Dad to have a hearty breakfast without breaking the bank, Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches offers everything from a Sunrise Burrito to stuffed French toast — sourdough bread stuffed with apple-cinnamon-cream cheese filling and caramel, served with choice of pork sausage or vegan chorizo patty. Come by between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, and Dad will get a free dish with the purchase of one regular breakfast or brunch entree. Fractured Prune Doughnuts 9390 West Hanna Lane, Suite B101, Glendale
If you’re looking to satisfy Dad’s sweet tooth, head to Fractured Prune Donuts . On Father’s Day, Dad can skip counting calories and receive 10 percent off half a dozen or more doughnuts. And maybe, if you’re good, Dad might be in the mood to share. Try the chicken chilaquiles for a taste of modern Southwestern cuisine at Ghost Ranch. Mer Norwood Ghost Ranch 1006 East Warner Road, Tempe
For the father who loves modern Southwestern cuisine, Ghost Ranch is celebrating Father’s Day with steaks. Treat Dad to a 14-ounce prime rib-eye paired with crispy fingerling potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and toppings like chimayo chile sauce, confit shallots, and herbs. All ingredients are locally sourced and crafted in-house by the chefs. On Sunday, June 16, draft beers cost a penny with a purchase of a Cowboy Steak. Hash Kitchen Multiple Locations
If Dad believes breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Hash Kitchen will deliver. On Sunday, June 16, fathers may choose from herb-fried-chicken eggs Benedict, featuring two poached eggs, fried leeks, and warm maple reduction with hollandaise, or the thick-cut bacon scrambler with potatoes, onions, and Swiss cheese. To complement these savory entrees, order the cannoli pancakes. Entrees are $12. Dad can also build his own Bloody Mary for $13, choosing from more than 40 toppings including crispy bacon, sausage, and fried ravioli. ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho 6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale
Ambiance, elegance, and a prix-fixe dinner menu sets the tone for Father’s Day at ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho . At 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, dads can participate in a wine versus beer showdown while enjoying their five-course meal. The prix-fixe dinner with pairings is $75 per person. For more information and reservations, call 480-360-2700. Treat dad to a steak at Keeler’s in Carefree. Courtesy Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse 7212 East Ho Hum Road, Carefree
From 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, give Dad the VIP treatment at Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse . With the purchase of a steak, guests can order $1 draft beers and $1 wine by the glass. Reservations can be made by calling 602-374-4784. LDV Winery Tasting Room 7134 East Stetson Drive, Suite B110, Scottsdale
LDV Winery celebrates dads this Father’s Day with two wine gift baskets available with special pricing through Sunday, June 16. The baskets includes the P.S. (Petite Sirah) I Love You! collection — a 2013 petite sirah and 2012 Epilogue petite sirah for $57. Or grab the I’m Nuts About You basket, which includes a sack of Arizona pistachios and a bottle of LDV Winery’s 2013 Sky Island sirah for $42. Baskets can be ordered at the LDV Winery Tasting Room in Scottsdale or by calling 480-664-4822. Liberty Station American Tavern and Smokehouse Multiple Locations
Liberty Station American Tavern and Smokehouse locations will honor dads this Father’s Day with $1 draft beers all day, and 20 percent off barbecue to-go orders on Sunday, June 16. Reservations can be made by calling 480-278-7044 for seating at the DC Ranch location, 480-595-9930 for seating at the Terravita location. Luci’s at the Orchard has the most chill patio. Melissa Campana Luci’s at the Orchard 7100 North 12th Street
Chill with Dad on the patio at Luci’s at the Orchard. It might be a little hot, but the 80-plus citrus trees will provide plenty of shade. On Sunday, June 16, Luci’s is serving $3 draft beers for Dad in honor of Father’s Day. For more information, visit the Luci’s at the Orchard website . Marcellino Ristorante 7114 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
If your dad loves Italian food, Marcellino Ristorante offers authentic specials on Sunday, June 16. Guests can order from the normal dinner menu or choose from specials including chef Marcellino’s 16-ounce veal chop with a spicy whiskey reduction sauce for $56. Or go for the 16-ounce boneless rib-eye for $56, filet mignon for $44, baby lamb chops for $42, or tagliolini mare e monte, a long, delicate pasta sautéed in rich tomato sauce with tailed shrimp and mushrooms, for $25. As a special treat, Dad gets a complimentary tiramisu. The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s 3603 East Indian School Road, Suite A
The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s is treating Dad with burger and beer specials. On Father’s Day, dads will receive half-off burgers and local brews. For more information, call 602-626-5050 or see The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s website . Match with a steak and egg breakfast. MATCH Restaurant & Lounge/Facebook Match Restaurant and Lounge 1100 North Central Avenue
In honor of Father’s Day, Match Restaurant and Lounge is offering a steak-and-egg breakfast from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. The breakfast features yep, steak and eggs, plus grits and Texas toast for $15. Dads can also enjoy $2 draft beers all day long. Reservations can be made by calling 602-875-8080. Mountain Shadows 5445 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale
Treat dad to brunch at Hearth ’61 from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Choose from classic dishes on the seasonal brunch menu, including the green chili pork torta and crispy, thick Belgian waffles. Dad can savor complimentary chocolate and sun-dried cranberry scones for the special day. Did anyone say whiskey? Mountain Shadows is offering a flight of three whiskeys, including Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, and Blanton’s, for $30. For reservations, call 480-624-5400 or visit the Mountain Shadows website . Organ Stop Pizza 1149 Southern Avenue, Mesa
For the father who loves a good buffet with a soundtrack, Organ Stop Pizza will keep him occupied with food and tunes. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, Organ Stop Pizza offers an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet with salad and unlimited soft drinks. Adult buffet is $12 and children under 9 eat for $10. Advance tickets are required. For more information, call 480-813-5700. Pastrami hash and eggs at Original Breakfast House might put Dad in a food coma. Courtesy of Original Breakfast House Original Breakfast House 13623 North 32nd Street
If Dad is an early riser and loves breakfast, Original Breakfast House is the best place to start Father’s Day. From 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on Sunday, June 16. Choose from a crab omelette, pastrami hash and eggs, Mexican eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, and carrot cake pancakes. All entrees are under $15. Parma Italian Roots 20831 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, dads can get their fill with a steak-and-eggs brunch, and receive $1 beer pints with their meal at Parma Italian Roots. If Dad isn’t the mood for brunch, Parma is offering filet mignon served with creamy polenta and broccolini for later in the day. Dinner is served until 9 p.m. For more information, call 480-292-9900. Perk Eatery 6501 East Greenway Parkway, #159, Scottsdale
Want to keep it spicy for Father’s Day? Perk Eatery is featuring Sriracha Bloody Marys for $6. Dad can pair his drink with a chicken scramble with eggs, chorizo, chicken, sautéed onions, and jalapeños. For those fathers wanting to stick with traditional fare, the regular menu is available as well. Enjoy an all-day happy hour at Pomo Pizzeria. Courtesy of Pomo Pizzeria Pomo Pizzeria Multiple Locations
Pomo Pizzeria is celebrating Italian style on Father’s Day with all-day happy hour at each location. This includes mini meatballs, calamari, salami boards, and crostini for under $8. Drinks include $4 Italian prosecco, $5 Peroni, and $2 off craft cocktails. Press Coffee Multiple Locations
If dad is a coffee guy, Press Coffee is your place to celebrate with him. Press is offering a specialty blend coffee with notes of tobacco and cedar with a molasses sweetness for the big day. Supplies are limited. For the entire month of June, pick up this specially blended bag for $16. Roka Akor 7299 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Nothing like an interactive cooking class to bond father and children, right? At 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, Roka Akor is offering a Father’s Day cooking class. You’ll walk away having made pork belly maple chicken yakitori with spring onion scallops, wasabi dust- and shiso yuzu miso-marinated black cod, and rib-eye with wafu dressing. And it’s all served with Roka’s signature sweet potatoes, broccolini, and mushrooms. Price is $150 per person. To register, call 480-306-8800. A meat and cheese board for a meat and cheese guy. Susie Timm Rusconi’s Italian American Kitchen 10637 North Tatum Boulevard
Rusconi’s Italian American Kitchen is featuring a three-course menu for Father’s Day. Choose from starters like Arizona desert sweet shrimp, guajillo-seared ahi tuna, and tomato and burrata salad. Main courses include boneless short ribs and white truffle-scented macaroni and cheese, while dessert could mean caramelized banana and Madagascar vanilla crème brûlée. The meal comes with a complimentary Bloody Mary or draft beer. Enjoy all day for $40 per person. Reservations can be made at 480-483-0009 or online at the Rusconi’s American Kitchen website . Salt Tacos and Tequila 6751 North Sunset Boulevard, Glendale
Who says you can’t have taco Tuesday on Father’s Day? On Sunday, June 16, Salt Tacos and Tequila is offering $15.99 all-you-can-eat carne asada plus a Bud Light, Four Peaks, or Man Michelada for a penny. Dad will find it hard to resist this deal. Salty Sow 4801 East Cactus Road, Scottsdale
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, fathers can indulge in a specialty brunch at Salty Sow . Selections include honey rosemary-dipped fried chicken and waffles, pork belly hash, honey ham, cast iron skillet scrambles, rotisserie turkey, and hot-smoked salmon. Brunch is $34.95 for adults, $19.95 for children 6 to 12, and free for kids under 5. For reservations, call 602-795-9463. The charcuterie board at The Sicilian Butcher. Debby Wolvos The Sicilian Butcher 15530 North Tatum Boulevard, #160
Do you want to make Father’s Day a family outing? The Sicilian Butcher is offering a five-foot charcuterie board with polenta fries, signature craft meatballs, artisanal meats, and cheeses. For the main course, consider a build-your-own meatball meal where you can choose from nine types of meatballs and sauces. If dad is on the hungrier side, there is also the rib-eye steak, chargrilled with citrus and herb oil. For more information, call 602-775-5140. Tempe Public Market Cafe 8749 South Rural Road, Tempe
On Father’s Day, Tempe Public Market Café is celebrating Dad with a burger and beer deal for $12. For dads who crave something different, the sandwiches, salads, and handmade pizzas are made with seasonal ingredients and from organic farms. Dad might be able to eat healthy this Father’s Day at Tempe Public Market Cafe. Tempo Urban Bistro 21067 West Main Street, Buckeye
Father’s Day should be an epic celebration for dads. Therefore, Tempo Urban Bistro is offering an epic burger — an eight-ounce Kobe beef burger loaded and served with fresh-cut fries. There’s also an epic steak, a 16-ounce, center-cut New York strip steak sided with a loaded baked potato and seasonal vegetables. Finally, epic ribs, a full rack of barbecue baby back ribs is also available on this special. For the dad who loves spice, there are plenty options at Thai Chili 2 Go. Courtesy of Thai Chili 2 Go Thai Chili 2 Go Multiple Locations
All day long on Sunday, June 16, Thai Chili 2 Go locations are celebrating Dad with a special deal. All fathers can receive an entree at half price with the purchase of a regularly priced entree. Dad can take the leftovers home to savor the next day to prolong his special day. Thirsty Lion Gastropub Multiple Locations
If dad is into beer tasting, Thirsty Lion Gastropub is offering half-price beer flights. This Father’s Day, dads can find their favorites from local breweries at any location. Any it doesn’t have to be all about the beer — Dad can try grilled rib-eye steak served with white cheddar mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Reservations are required. For more information, visit the Thirsty Lion Gastropub website . Tomaso’s 3225 East Camelback Road
For a carb-heavy meal with upscale entrees, take dad to Tomaso’s . For Father’s Day, the restaurant is offering spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmigiana, braised short rib ravioli, veal chop caprese, and veal osso buco milanese. Fathers who have an adventurous palate for fine dining will enjoy their time at Tomaso’s. So many barbecue choices at Trapp House BBQ. Courtesy of Trapp House BBQ Trapp House BBQ 511 East Roosevelt Street
If your dad is a barbecue guy, Trapp House BBQ will hit every right spot. On Sunday, June 16, dads can savor entrees like Texas brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, or Carolina pork shoulder. With the purchase of any entree, select beers are available for $1 all day. Dads who prefer brunch can feast on hickory-smoked brisket, smoked beef short rib, or pancakes with three hot cakes layered with his choice of apple-smoked pulled pork or pecan-smoked chicken. Bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys are available for $15.99 with brunch. Brunch is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the barbecue and beer special goes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more details, call 602-466-5462. Tres Tempe Restaurant 7192 South Price Road, Tempe
Toast Dad at Tres Tempe Restaurant with $5 old-fashioned cocktails and $4 draft beers all day long on Sunday, June 16. Let dad pick out his favorite on the menu, too. He can choose from a merguez lamb burger á la fausto with spicy aioli, fried egg, banana French toast, oatmeal risotto, pastrami salad, and baby back ribs. Reservations can be made by calling 480-897-5300. Twin Peaks Multiple Locations
Most dads love the sound of sports with their burgers and beers. Twin Peaks is offering Dad a pass for that specific combination. Dads who dine in will be invited to come back any time through the rest of June for a buy-one, get-one handheld burger, sandwich, or taco free with a purchase of an equal or lesser item. It’s the gift that keeps giving even after Father’s Day is over. If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters. SHOW ME HOW
Looking For Affordable Global Eats In Delhi? Hit Up The Embassy Canteens
Save Mumbai may have been anointed the restaurant capital of the country by a few food critics but the capital city has a lot of foodies’ hearts. From the bylanes of Purani Dilli to the vistas of Chanakyapuri, every corner seems to offer special treats in Delhi. Yes, Chanakyapuri too. The pincode is better known for its embassies, and not so much a bustling restaurant scene. But thanks to the multitude of embassies and cultural centres that dot the capital, Delhiites have always had access to unique international cuisines that the rest of the country simply doesn’t. Plus it’s authentic and affordable to boot. For example, Ethiopian injera bread is mostly inaccessible to those of us who live in Mumbai, but the residents of Delhi can hop over to the Ethiopian Cultural Centre and get their fill. Infact, some of the best global nosh in the capital is not made in the kitchens of the much-hyped restaurants but these backlane canteens. All of them may not have the ambience of a white-table-clothed joint, but the menus make up for it. Here are a few joints that will be worth the drive: Vietnam Embassy’s Canteen You can’t roll in any day of the week but on Friday, the canteen is open to the general public. Gorge on pho (soup), bun cha (meat balls) or sample their pork noodles. A meal for two will cost less than a thousand bucks here. Winner winner! The Cafe At Korean Cultural Centre Korean food has made its way into the Indian mainstream but the cafe at Korean Cultural Centre is the OG Korean spot. Their Bibimbap bowl is a favourite among the reviewers of this eatery. Finish your memorable and affordable meal with their “Fairytale” tea. Ethiopian Cultural Centre Go for the injera platter–a shared platter made of a sourdough pancakes topped with various spicy vegetarian and/or non-vegetarian options. End with a cup of Ethiopian coffee which will be presented to you with a side of ceremony by the waiting staff. Alliance Francaise Delhi The small eatery serves popular French nosh like crepes along with more global fare like burgers and sandwiches. It is affordable, the service is quick, and you can order a crepe while watching a French verite film at one of the many film festivals that Alliance Francaise organises. Italian Institute Of Culture This is the spot which is the closest to a fine dining experience. And why would it not be. The food is catered by celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia, who first introduced Delhi to authentic Italian flavours with her restaurant Diva.