Friday, December 2, 2011

Unless its a matter of life and death.

Sometimes I wonder if I am heartless because I am unaffected by death. Not unaffected entirely, but not like a normal person. a lot of things make me cry, when I my parents yell at me I cry, when I get angry I cry, when I fight with my siblings I invariably cry. But for some reason I don't when someone goes to the other side.

Isn’t it true that everything that breathes must stop at some time, as sure is birth so is death. Anything born come with the number of days it will live. Animal and child alike. Then why is it so hard for us to digest it? Am I too young to know this, or have I not experienced it closely enough to be affected by it could be questionable.

I feel sorry for the loss, the fact that we will never hang again, and never laugh together and eat together and make new memories, and it is possible that over time we will make new memories which will replace those that we made with the one. But that's life isn't it. I believe everything that goes, comes back and so on. And everything that goes moves on to a different plane that we are yet to see, many people call it the better place. I believe it probably is so. If it wasn’t, so many people wouldn’t give up their whole world and move there? Would they?

The question again is, maybe because I haven’t experienced it from close enough. Could be, I hope I don’t have to. From where I come, we don’t talk about death so lightly, we don’t talk about death at all unless absolutely required, and talking about it makes it somewhat ugly and real. I agree to an extent; however I feel it is the most natural act of life, like someone famous once said, death is so terrible because it happens all the time.

In my many years of reading and thinking I have come to realize that every life has something to teach us just as every death. If it was a life of love, it was worth living it. No person comes into his being without having fully experienced life. Some may say what about untimely deaths and deaths of the young ones, but they were just not ready for the world at the time, they come back, you just have to keep an eye out for them. They come back all right and you don't even know how much closer they are to you the second time around.

Am I heartless because I’m not obviously moved by it?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An open letter

I didn't write this, and it's kind of long, but spells my heart out for all the picky eaters out there.

For my niece ... Because the internet will be around forever and I will not.

I worry and wonder if you’ll discover the flavors of the world given you are such a picky eater now. Because your parents are not world travelers, I wonder if it’ll take you as long as it took me to discover that fruit can be delicious year round and that the heirloom tomato is far superior to Jersey tomatoes. I wonder if you will continue to despise everything green as you get older and worry you’ll miss out on green delicacies like California avocados and Japanese edamame.
When I was your age, I did not spend a lot of time in the kitchen. As I got older and started living on my own, I wished I had paid more attention to how my mother made her meatballs or how my grandmother made apple pie and a crust from scratch. I do still have both of their recipe boxes filled with recipes where some are handwritten, some typed, and somewhere it’s just the ingredients and I’m left blindly to figure it out on my own. Oh, if only the internet had been around fifty years ago.
They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and I did learn a few staples over the years from my mother that have paved my way to many of men’s hearts. I know how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch, but even if I measured everything exact, it still never quite tasted like my mother’s “gravy.” I’d give you the recipe but I recently learned that you don’t even like pasta! My ears almost fell off of my head when I heard. How can you be 50 percent Italian and not like pasta? I started to think that there was a switch at the hospital but then I recalled that the other 50 percent of you is Irish, from your mother, who ironically happens to also not like pasta with red sauce. Mamma mia!

You’re a beautiful mixture of Irish and Italian, yet your taste buds are 100 percent American and were bred on chicken nuggets and French fries. So, it’s no wonder that I fret that you will not discover how delicious fresh beets can actually taste if made in a salad with a lemon-olive oil dressing where the beets are not pickled. I worry that you won’t discover that as gross as Brussels sprouts tasted when our parents made them, that they can actually be deliciously sweet and a great addition to pork if sautéed with caramelized shallots.

I wonder that if your mother and I are not around and you have a cooking question, who you will call? Will you consult the internet? Will you know that you need to take the gizzards out of the turkey or else you’ll kill your guests? Will you know that you need to shell the fava beans then blanch and remove the second skin otherwise your bowels will not be happy? Will you know that your meat needs to rest after you cook it to seal in the juices? I actually didn’t learn that about meat until I was forty as I had given up meat because of your grandmother’s leather-like pork chops.
I am sure that you’ll probably know how to bake because you have a sweet tooth much like your Aunt. I hope that you will find a friend to bake holiday cookies with, a tradition my best friend and I had when we lived close by one another. Although you never met your great grandmother Laquintano, I know you will not give out her family pizzelle recipe and will learn to choose wisely as to who to make pizzelles for since they are so time consuming and a true labor of love.

I can only hope that you will try things more than once when tasting food. As I’ve learned that much like subjects in school that depend on the teacher, food depends on the chef. I did not care for pork for years and I only knew of pork chops on the bone until someone showed me how delicious pork tenderloin could be, especially one with a maple glaze. I’ve also learned that food can take many forms and taste different depending on the preparation. Know that your taste buds change every seven years and those things you didn’t like before, you may learn to love as you get older and it’s totally okay.
I also pray and hope that corporate America has not rid us of the farmers when you get older and that you support your local farmer’s market when possible. It’s a magical place. One where you’ll discover vegetables and fruits you had never tried or even seen before and also where you’ll find that there are a dozen different types of peaches and apples. It’s the place where when you go home and cook up what you just bought, you’ll discover how delicious fresh food tastes over processed packaged food at the supermarket and secretly wish the Farmer’s market was open every day.

I hope that you learn that food is both your friend and your enemy. You never feel good when you overindulge and everything in moderation is a reward in and of itself, including chocolate. I hope you know that it is not okay to eat a gallon of ice cream—ever, even if a guy breaks your heart. My broken heart led me to San Francisco where I not only met your Uncle but also discovered a culinary experience far beyond my wildest dreams. I discovered the earthiness of fresh truffles, the decadence of pate and caviar, the sensuality of sushi, the creamy taste of avocados, the sweetness of figs and that dates really are nature’s candy, and the bursting mouth-watering flavor of Heirloom tomatoes. I discovered that there really is bad wine and there are some fantastic wines. I learned that some wine is not for sipping but for imbibing with a meal and they will complement each other like a necklace to a dress.
I hope that you understand that if you are lucky enough to be cooked for, that you should be grateful. Since every meal, when home cooked, is always a labor of love and even if it doesn’t taste great, you should always remember to say thank you to the chef.
I hope you get the opportunity as I have to eat your way through Italy, Spain and France. These are the things I hope you don’t miss out on and that you discover for yourself and the sake of your palate.
With love.
Tracy Sestili

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In a fix.

On a general note I am a very satisfied person, when it comes to me. I really think highly of everything about me. I like my sense of style, my eating habits, my body, my face, my hair, my choices and you know, just happy with the way I am.

But what do you do when you find out something about yourself that you don't like. And it's not one of the things you can just ignore, because it’s one of those self destructive things. In a sense at least, it’s like no one but you suffers from it.

My imperfection comes in because I am a people pleaser. I like to make everyone happy. In other words, I can’t say no. just really can't say no, not even if my life depended on it. I just have the constant need to make everyone around me happy. And if I say something which might or according to me might offend them, or hurt them even though it’s the truth, I am so hard on myself about it. I’d rather text them the same thing, even if they were in the same room. And even in the text I’d say it in an apologetic tone, as if it’s my fault.

I really don’t like this about me. I don’t like that people take me for granted (though it doesn’t happen that often) or try to get the better of me just because I am not saying anything. I just feel that if I was them and they said that to me I would be offended. But I have also noted that when they do I am not that mad. Another reason I want to change this is because, the age I am at right now is pretty delicate. If I don’t change it now, I’m going to be this way forever. And I just stress out too much when people are doing those things or asking those things to which I can’t say no.

Monday, April 11, 2011

men and women are both from earth.

No other planet could create something so complicated yet so simple.

restaurants, bars, subways, museums, classes, anywhere really that men and women can be together, I have come across one common thing - how much women talk and how much men listen. A lot and very little, respectively. The first time I noticed this was when I was with my family in a pizza hut and realized how many couples there were around me, married, dating and friends. Every table had the same scene, the girl talking and the man listening (read: staring into space) to her. and that when I started observing this very interesting fact, everywhere I went, every couple I saw and every place that I could observe this, my realization gained body.

Of course I have to say I am not offended, amused rather and I have two takes on it. One is that well yes men should really pay more attention to what their women are saying, because, just for their own sake, they might get into big trouble for just staring. You know, she is going to realize at some point.
Then again, we really just want a guy who will listen and not interrupt, as I have also noticed, when he does interrupt he is promptly asked to shut up and not give his opinion.

Women on the other hand, extremely complex as they come never cease to entertain me. They will follow every astrology book and website in the world, and keep track of what their daily horoscope tells them(guilty) and ask advice of everything that's got absolutely no legitimacy and believe it too but they won't believe another human being. Especially males.
The poor guy is telling you what he is thinks or doesn’t think about you and your clothes and your shoes and your looks and your feelings, but you just won't believe him. They will consult every girlfriend of theirs' and their boyfriends too (to get a male opinion) and then in the end, come back to what the tarot cards said. WTH???

Again my Libran head won't let me rest in peace until I say both sides of the story. Due to the few bad men out there who have broken trusts of the good women, women are compelled to have that bad taste.

But then, give the guy a chance...not all of them are bad. How can you believe what a stranger has to say about your relationship when they know nothing about it, how can you trust stars to 'guide you' when you can't trust yourself?


OK I know this is really random stuff, but stuff I notice and since it’s my blog I can blog about anything I think about. Also I’m thinking of diversifying my blogs and every time I cook something I think is great and worth sharing, or even if I come across really good food in general, I am going to try and post picture and something about it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blessings of life.

God’s gifts to other girls. They come in all shapes and sizes, styles and qualities, stuff you like about them and stuff you (sometimes) don't. But whatever their faults, their love-able-ness are far above it all. They make everything good in your life better and everything awesome even more awesome. They always just know what to say and what not, though don't get me wrong they give you stuff in your face when you need it.

They come with their drama and their problems; this is not necessarily a bad thing I’ve realized. because over the million conversations you have with them over wine, cheese, really yummy unhealthy junk food, really yucky healthy green teas, gigantic meals and cartons of ice cream, you come to learn a lot from their experiences. Girlfriends are like your guilty pleasures and the toughest company sometimes. they let you gloat in your awe but always bring you to level when it’s too much, they also let it sink in when you have screwed up but will still be close by to bring you up when you are too down in dumps.

Spending time with some of my girlfriends even now makes me feel like I’m 4; it becomes my play-time. You can talk to them about anything one can think of. Let it be girl stuff to boys to clothes to make up to your body to other people's body to anything between the sky and the earth. In front of them you don’t have to pretend to have grown up, you can play dress up weather you are 2 or 12 or 22. there is a certain understanding that never has to be established, it’s just always there like from the moment you see another girl who could be a potential friend you know in less than 8 seconds what friend she will be to you - your make up friend your fighting friend you soul sister your eating friend, your adviser friend or all of them in one. And I think every girl who reads this has a corresponding name to each.

Another thing that I have noticed is that when we girls are together we talk like no one is watching. The pearls of wisdom that we distribute are some of the most amusing and probably some of the smartest ever given. Though rarely applied to self we are great at pointing out what our friend should do and not do. we go to great lengths at justifying why we did what we did, to the point where the justification takes 2 days and the blessing is that our girlfriends who hear us out for those 2 long days know all through it that we are only pleasing ourselves. Catching each other’s excuses is so easy only because at some point we have done something equally unreasonable.

There is nothing that makes me happier than doing nothing with my friends and nothing will be ever more important to me than them.

This post is dedicated to all my blessings, thanks to which I am who I am. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

still on food.

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans
The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans
The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans
The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans
The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fatty foods and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans

moral of the story: eat and drink whatever you want. Obviously speaking English is what is killing you.

I think the process of appreciating food starts from the eyes. I really enjoy those hibachi style places where you can see how they cook the food. It builds up the anticipation for the food. Sight of food makes your mouth water, which leads you to feel hungry. It’s the most beautiful biological process in our body.

When you see shredded cheese boil a little and turn slightly brown in the brick oven (or an oven) and smell the aroma from the risotto which tastes like its stuffed and boiled in cheese, how can you not forget about everything else and just concentrate on the food.

You know all the wise people who do yoga and meditate and stuff like that will tell you, how to concentrate on the moment and only that. Not to think about what has already happened and not to worry about the future, they know what they are talking about. This is especially true for eating, I think food fulfills the very need of our soul, its satisfies cravings and makes you forget about worries and definitely cools you down. If you don't concentrate on eating while eating, its pure disrespect for food.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

living to eat.

Out of the many things that are bursting out of me that i really have to want to write about, one is food. For those who know me, they know this was just a matter of time before i wrote about food. It’s the one and only true love of my life. There is nothing better, nothing more, nothing as satisfying that the thought of food. The fact that when you put a cake of noodles in hot water, they will become soft and edible and you can put almost anything in hot water and it will do the trick. Of course you need to do a little more than boil it for it to be yummy.

The love of food comes in two parts, one is to cook good food and the other is to appreciate good food. I don’t think it’s necessary to have both to be fully in love, but they complement each other. And it’s also one of those things that you can never tell, what came first, did people eat good food and then get inspired to cook better, or did they cook well and then fall in love with eating. In my head at least, it’s really confusing. I’m going to be completely honest, i dream about food sometimes, there was a cake, one of my roommates made at one point and i still fantasize about it. Every bite of that cake was a piece of heaven in my mouth. She was the best at baking, (to our delight). She is responsible for instilling the experimenting quality in me. Before that i loved it too, but i just didn't try a lot of new things.

I love eating (ok i know you know that already but just putting it out there anyways). I also have the capacity to eat a LOT. And yes looking at me, i don’t look like i am a hogger. But I’m a pig when it comes to eating. Ask my sister if you don't believe me. I have had my share of food bets, though there is one that i still haven't attempted and it’s pending for almost a year now, but i see it happening very soon. That you have asked now, it is a bet between me and my friend about me eating 2 foot longs at subway. The only thing is, i haven’t come up with what i want if i win. So i haven’t attempted it yet, but once i do i will.

I always think, if i could get paid for eating, it would be my dream job. Like how can get life better than that? Ever. Like isn’t that the dream? To be able to eat all you want, like i heard recently there is position called, 'director of sleep', this person goes to hotels and sleeps. he gets paid to check if the hotel room is comfortable enough, if the atmosphere is good enough for tired people who want to get a good night sleep. It’s something like that for me and food, but more deep and more intense. I’m not the best cook, but i try new stuff all the time and i have all these recipes that i have bookmarked on my computer that i want to try out when i have the time. It’s an extremely relaxing activity for me. It’s almost like magic, because just some time back they were just ingredients, now its yummy stuff. there is still some stuff i don't eat, can't eat - paneer, fish(i love all other sea food, just no fish and no, no salmon either), olives, beef(just because I’m Hindu), goat cheese(yuck, I’m sorry goats, but it’s just disgusting). Almost everything else, i would try just for trying sake. Again, i don’t know how i feel about snake and crocodile meat and all those exotic (weird) meats. That takes guts, more than anything else.

When it comes to stuff i love, i love cheese. In Mexico (this is what another roommate told me) they did a study where they asked if people would give up a certain kind of sex or cheese. Guess what 90% of the people said? Well, they love cheese just as much as me. I love all kinds of fruits, especially berries and tangy kinds like green mango and gooseberries, and stuff you only get in India. But i love all fruits i could never discriminate among them. I like vegetables too, but I’m a little bit of a kid about them, i just eat them because they are good for you. I love tomatoes and i eat them raw sometimes, same for onion (in salads of course), garlic (in absolutely anything), peppers, carrots and some others. The rest just because you have to eat them to be healthy.

I owe some of this love to my mom too; she is always very experimental about what she cooks, so i always got to taste new kinds of things. And yes, she is the best cook there is. Among my favorite cuisines, i would put Lebanese and Mediterranean food up there. This goes without saying that 1st place goes to Indian food (and equal parts to south Indian, north India and everything every part of India is famous for) and i do include indo-Chinese food in this, as it’s very very different from real Chinese food, very very different. Others include, Portuguese, Mexican and Italian.

There is so much out there to try, I’m worried, what if I’m not able to try all of it over the course of this lifetime. If that does not happen, my bucket list will never be empty. The joy of eating is incomparable, it just never disappoints you. It can taste bad, but it's not the fault of the food, it's your fault for not doing it justice. i friend of mine asks me, why i keep eating all time and my response to that is, if i die the next moment or soon at least i know i was full and well fed before dying and that i wasn’t craving something before passing into nothingness.