Saturday, April 30, 2011

A To Z Challenge

A Tribute to the letter "Z"

This is also a tribute to my parents who believed in eating just enough to survive while enjoying every bite of their meal. It was very hard for my mom to cook to the standards of my father's taste as he knew about the finest cuisine you could find in India. Being an accountant for the kitchen of the King of Hyderabad before India became a democracy introduced my father to not only the fine cuisine of India but to that of Great Britain, the Middle East and the Far East (as they then called it). So, after losing his job after India became a democracy my father worked for the government of India, but still had the taste buds of the royal kitchen. He did grow herbs and vegetables for my mom and always said that one does not need the heavy taste of grease but the "ZEST" of fresh herbs and vegetables. These are the pointers I will always remember.

Use lemon juice instead of heavy dressings on your salad. (I miss the spoons that my uncle had with the name of salad dressing engraved on their handles.)

Saute your food to bring out the zest. It is better then than frying.

When it comes to vegetables fresh does it better than cooked.

Don't drain the nutrients out by boiling. Try steaming if you have to cook vegetables.

Keeping a mix of lemon crystals and salt is better than just table salt. (Here in the US we keep garlic salt.)

Yogurt is always better than ice cream. ( My mom made home made yogurt every day but I would go for my father's home made ice cream any day. It was only occasional though.)

 My daughter orders unsweetened ice tea with a slice of lemon instead of soda and it smells great. I use any excuse to drink cola while eating out as we don't buy it in grocery any more.

"Zest is something anyone can afford, but you have to be lucky to recognise it," my grandmother's best friend said when I was little. I think she was right.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Congratulations Munir on making it to the end of the challenge!

Inger said...

I wrote about a Zen Retreat in our canyon for the final post, thinking there was no other Z-word that I could use. You proved me wrong. My husband loves to cook and cooks with zest and we do many of the things you wrote about. I am so glad to have met you through this challenge.--Inger

Terry said...

Hi Munir,
Sorry I found your blog on the last day of the A-Z challenge. I follow Inger's blog, and I've enjoyed the challenge.

Talei said...

A great Zest post! Congrats on finishing the challenge, its been a pretty wild ride. ;-)

Monalisa said...

Your father sounds like my husband. He knows the best of the cuisine. And at the time of my marriage, I was a big Zero at cooking. Then he slowly started to teach me lesson by lesson. And the recipe I have from families and friends, he always scrutinizes. says it needs to get to be of taste, like the zest you talk about.

This was an enjoyable post :)

Vanilla Mama said...

Love the Zest! You are full of it!

Step-parent's Cove said...

I really enjoyed the post. I will try some of the tips you gave, and congrats on finishing the challenge!

Belle said...

Wonderful post on the letter Z! Good cooking advice. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Super post! I love how you tied in your family's history and cooking. Congratulations on finishing the A-Z Challenge. :-)

Arlee Bird said...

This sounds like the way I need to eat. I really must change my dietary habits.

Congratulations for making it to the end of the A to Z Challenge!

Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Tossing It Out

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Everything in life needs a little zest.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Munir .. been having net problems .. thanks for coming over to comment - appreciate it. Congratulations on finishing the A - Z challenge .. good for you ..

I love this post - I've printed it out .. as it's so interesting and definitely healthier for us. I must introduce more zest into my foods - I'm fine during the day .. salad and fruit .. but come evening (the time it suits me to eat) - standards can slip a little! ... I definitely must take on a better evening menu - now summer is here - perhaps that's a good time to start!

This story of your father being part of the Court of the King of Hyderabad before democracy came in .. fascinating that he learnt so much about the foods of other countries .. as we've done here & you'll obviously even more mixes in New York.

Wonderful he took the trouble to grow herbs and veggies for your Mom .. and his phrase "we need the 'zest' of fresh herbs and veggies" - no wonder you remember.

My grandfather, a civil engineer, designed Sydney Harbour Bridge and I've a video (silent) of him and 2 of his children (not my father, who was the youngest of the sons) visiting Hyderbad - the dam there .. I think .. they sailed round South Africa, where the eldest son married a South African, and on through the Singapore Straits and to Sydney. +/- 1932 ..

I tried to get my uncle (the 2nd son) who was very very deaf to give me some notes on the video .. I managed to get a few bits and bobs .. but he died a year ago aged 96 less one day!

Fun .. and my mother went on the train from Bombay to Calcutta in 1935 .. she told me a little about it a couple of years ago .. to visit her mother and stepfather ...

I wrote a post:

Cheers .. this is great - loved your history .. you should do some more weaving history snippets .. fascinating stuff ... enjoy the weekend .. and happy days - Hilary

sangeeta said...

Si rightly said about Zest ... affordability is not the question , it is the 'taste' for it that matters.

Thank you for dropping by and for the encouraging words :) I am finding your blog quite interesting.