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The pleasures of Western food


Every time I cook American/Western food, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. It’s simple, no muss no fuss, and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

The other day I made some split pea and ham soup, and let me tell you, it was one of the simpler meals I’ve made. It took me less than 25 minutes to prep: cut onions, carrots, celery, garlic and ham, saute briefly in olive oil, add split peas, throw in some bay leaves, chicken broth and a few pepper corns and put it to simmer. While I made a couple of phone calls, read a magazine and folded a few clothes, it simmered. About 90 minutes later I was ready to serve it with some salad and a loaf of fresh bread. Voila! dinner was ready.

Given my Indian upbringing, I tend to cook Indian food more often. Yesterday I cooked a full Indian meal and it took me three hours, all of it glued to the stove.

The longer I live in the United States, the more I’ve come to appreciate the pleasures and the relative simplicity of everyday Western cooking. I’ve learned to roast a chicken, a leg of lamb, and make different kinds of soups and pastas. I even considered making a chicken pot pie from scratch, but I’m not there yet. All this is pretty good for a cook who, until a few years ago, used the oven to store pots and pans.

My kids like my experiments with Western cooking. My husband, who is one of the easiest men to feed, likes anything I cook. I’m the one who has held out for so long, craving fiery curries and fragrant pullaos almost every day. But as time goes by, I’m seeking freedom from the stove, or at least less time in front of it.

That has led me to try my hand at Western cooking, and let me tell you I’m loving it!

This entry was posted on Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 4:29 pm by Hema Easley. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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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, ConnecticutÕs largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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