Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spices and Synchronicity


: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality

I love when synchronicity happens. Somehow it makes me feel like I am on the right track in life and the universe's plan really is perfect.

Several months ago, when my niece Elizabeth was going to college in London, we were writing back and forth and she expressed the desire to learn how to cook Indian food. I remembered she'd gotten an Indian cookbook for Christmas and I suggested when she came home over the summer, we should cook a big Indian dinner.

Well, it's summer and last Friday I headed to India Sweets and Spices to pick up some fennel powder, whole cumin, garam masala, cloves, mango chutney, spicy pickled mango, and the fabric to drain the paneer. Fortunately, between my sister and I, we pretty much had all the other spices we needed.

Saturday, after my pastel class, I headed to my sister Penny's to start decorating the table and cover the sofas with Indian blankets. Penny brought out her India books and photo albums from her trip years ago. My niece Rachel started putting together an Indian music playlist.

Elizabeth and I, with some help from Rachel and Penny, spent 4 hours in the kitchen preparing the feast! It was so hot in Ojai over the weekend we felt like we were cooking in Calcutta. It was so hot!

We made lamb with coriander and onions, paneer with peas, and dahl (lentils) with spinach, all from her cookbook. Penny made up some raita and of course, we had rice. Rachel made mango lassi with fresh mangos and yogurt for our dessert. (I don't know that it's traditionally a dessert but it was a perfect sweet drink to end our meal!)

My parents came over to join us and Elizabeth's boyfriend (who provided the naan bread and marigolds!) as well. Of course, my nephew and brother-in-law were there too. It was a lot of work but well worth it. They best part was spending time in the kitchen with my nieces.

The lamb with coriander had a yogurt base and was mild and very tasty.

I can't believe Elizabeth actually made home-made paneer. She said it was pretty easy -- except maybe boiling milk over a hot stove, in the middle of summer, while standing over it, to skim off the top.

We figured out a few things we would do differently next time (like preparing some things ahead) but all in all it turned out great and there was very little left over.

On my way back to L.A. on Sunday, I sat in traffic thinking about our amazing family dinner and what a wonderful memory we'd made, when my phone rang.

It was my friend Shea calling.
"What are you doing tonight?"

"Oh," I said, "being mellow and getting ready for work tomorrow."

"You might want to rethink that," she said.

It turned out that her friends had box seats at the Hollywood Bowl that night and the couple they were supposed to go with had to cancel. We were invited to go in their place. What was the music?

Are you kidding?

The traffic opened up and I made it in time to sit in the box, have dinner and see folk musicians, Bollywood step dancers and best of all, A.R. Rahman, the composer of Slumdog Millionaire, Water, 127 hours and many others. It was amazing. It felt like a miracle.

Rahman is a genius. He not only is an amazing composer but when he began to sing from the depths of his soul I could barely contain my emotion. You could feel his sweet spirit come through his smile as he spoke. He pointed out the beautiful moon behind the audience. He talked about going back to the children at his music foundation in India and telling them about performing at the Hollywood Bowl and that it meant anything was possible.

I found these on YouTube ...

His beautiful soundtrack for the film Water ...

And yes, that's me in the middle at the Hollywood Bowl.

In looking for YouTube videos of Rahman's work fort this post today, I found out that he composed the music for Elizabeth: The Golden Age ... which I watched on Monday night.

There is no such thing as chance;

and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.

~ Friedrich Schiller 1759-1805

Had any interesting synchronicities lately?



Je découvre ton blog avec plaisir. C'est une Américaine, Michelle, sculpteur et peintre vivant en France qui m'a initié au monde des blogs. Je suis beaucoup d'artiste Américains.
Ta chronique culinaire est très bien écrire t m'a donné l'envie de m'inviter à ta table.
Bonne journée, amie des Arts.


Shayna said...

I love every inch of this post! Happy Summer to you!

A Brush with Color said...

WOW--now, THAT is indeed synchronicity. Sounds fabulous, Lucinda. That meal has me drooling. And how beautiful it all looked. What a wonderful day you had! You created memories for your niece and family that will last a lifetime, too. Your family does sound really lovely.

Di said...

Thank you! The music is treasure and your stories, delicious!

Karena said...

I love stories like this!! I feel some synchronicity coming on!

Your dinner table looks gorgeous and the menu, YUM!


Art by Karena

Come and join my Giveaway of a very special painting!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Looks like a beautiful evening! I can almost smell the marigolds and curry...
By the way...thanks for the lovely, kind words on my art work and I also wanted you to know that I just finished watching 'Fitzcarraldo' by Wener really have to watch this incredible piece of cinematography....brilliant! Synchronicity across the miles.

Jaime Baiao said...

WOW !! what a day!! Congrats for the feelings you've got in this synchronicity and thanks for visiting my blog! A good hug!

jann said...

What a charming table setting, and I loved the pix and description of your wonderful family meal! Looks fantastic!

Merisi said...

Ah, synchronicity, what's not to love about such wonderful coincidences?

Bronwyn said...

Your meal looks delicious!

KathyA said...

I love paneer!! What an interesting time you all had and how special to be cooking together. It's been really hot here and this week it will get worse -- we'll be over 100 for a few days.

Cobalt Violet said...

Roger - Merci! :)

Shayna - Thank you! You have a great summer too!

Suzanne- Yes I am very lucky in the family department!

Di ~ Thank so much!

Cobalt Violet said...

Karena- thank you!

Kerry- yes so often we are sync! I need to rent that!

@artebaiao - you are welcome- my pleasure and thank you!

Jann- thank you and thanks for visiting!

Merisi- right?! :)

Brownwyn- yes, thank goodness it was!

Kathy- oh I am sorry, anything over100 is miserable and I am a wimp so I like below 83! :). And yes, very interesting!

Victoria said...

Yay Hi Lucinda..what a fabulous post...beautiful and inspiring..gorgeous pics! Such a cool story..and I too love sychronicites...they are most magical! I love Indian food is wo wonderful to make it from scratch..i love curries and mango chutney..! Sounds like a wonderful memory...thanks for sharing this magical moment of many moments..and synchroncities all tied in weaving harmony! Very cool!
Thanks for the vids..

Loree said...

What a lovely weekend you had. I am not much into Indian food but your feast looks delicious and synchronicity is beautiful when it happens.

melissa n. said...

LOVED this blog Lu!!! (on soooo many levels!!!)

Michele Hancock said...

Love the creative family feast! I am going to have to link this to my page Tutti a Tavola !

Re: synchronicity - It's good clean fun!

Marialuisa Giovannini said...

Hello ,that can be explained in Allan Kardec book "The Spirits 'book ".
Lassi is a perfect drink for Indian curry .
I like your blog compositions

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