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Dal à la Obama

August
21

“I wanna try the dal Obama makes,” said my 7-year-old daughter yesterday, when she heard about the presidential candidate’s dal making prowess and “desi” bona fides.

The San Fransciso Chronicle reported Sunday that while addressing a group of largely Indian and Pakistani supporters at a Frisco fundraiser, Obama declared, “Not only do I think I’m a desi, but I am a desi.”

The desi (one from our country, in Hindi) then went on to talk about his expertise in cooking dal (lentils), while admitting to not being an expert at making naan, the Indian bread.

“Somebody else made the naan.” he said, during the fundraiser that netted a record $7.8 million.

In India, where many families have been vegetarian for generations, dal- a good source of iron, folate and protein- figures prominently in most meals.

So when Obama talked about his affinity for dal, it obviously struck a chord with desis of all generations.

I am truly impressed that not only is The One down with our lingo and cuisine, but also has enough sense on where to draw the line. If he had said he was an expert naan maker, he would have been booed out of the auditorium. No desi worth his salt makes naan at home. It would be like making bagels at home.

Excuse me while I serve my family some arugula with my dal fry.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 11:23 am by Swapna Venugopal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: cooking, India, vegetarian

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About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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