Last weekend I took an Indian cooking class from everybody's favorite Bakery Scientist and Food Chemist Extraordinaire, The Badger King, who will be hence forward known as The Kitchen King after every Indian's favorite spice.

This was my next step up after the Thai experience.

Funny aside.

At that Thai class, we were all talking about whether we could make this stuff for our families and most everyone in the room said their kids and/or husbands wouldn't eat it so they'd have to make it for themselves. I, however, piped up about how I take my kids and/or husband to Thai restaurants all the time and they eat everything and love it, so I was confident that they'd eat whatever it was I cooked for them from this evening because they're not picky eaters. (I KNOW! Sanctimonious, much? Sometimes even I can't stand to listen to me.) Then I went home and cooked every single recipe that I learned and they all ate exactly NOTHING from any of it.

Not so much funny, ha ha. Just funny sad.

But I digress.

Last winter after one of the big snowpocalypse events, a guy came to our door to ask if he could borrow a shovel. He'd been staying with his girlfriend, who lives on about a half a block up and is from India, when the sky fell and his car was completely lost under the snow for three days. She didn't own a shovel and neither did he, so he stayed there but now he had to go to work and was having trouble digging out his car with the broom and dustpan he was using. The KingofHearts loaned him one of our shovels and then went down a few minutes later to help him dig out. We didn't really know him or her, but we couldn't go anywhere anyway and it was the neighborly thing to do. A couple of weeks later, she came to the door with a giant bag of homemade Indian food she'd made for our family to thank The KoH. After we got over the weirdness of accepting three days worth of food from a near stranger and tried some of each dish to make sure we didn't die (we are such cynical souls), we realized it was the most amazing food ever. The lentils! The lemon rice! The naan! Did I mention the lentils? We spent our energy the next few weeks scheming about other things we could do for her so she would make us more food in the future. But then she found out it was us who kidnapped her dog in the first place, so she was a lot less appreciative when we showed up at her door to return it.

Hence, my need to learn to make my own Indian food.

Badger's classes are great because he's a little bit Alton Brown, a little bit food anthropologist, and a little bit travel/cultural guide, with some inside jokes thrown in that make everything more hilarious if you happen to know him outside of class. Even though I haven't necessarily come home and changed the way I look at the kitchen, nor have I become someone who no longer would rather order pizza for delivery than make a meal from scratch, I really dig learning about the science of cooking and in each class there's always been at least one trick I've picked up that has Blown. My. Mind. Like how to perfectly skin tomatoes in two minutes flat. Or that you should start potatoes in cold water when you boil them so the outside doesn't overcook while the inside stays hard. Or the magic that is the potato ricer. Or what was that thing about garlic? I got too distracted by the taco discussion to pay attention to that one.

Some of the funnier quotes that came out of that class and have been thrown around in my home lately have mainly to do with asking an old Indian woman about her culture:

"So now almost all the middle class in India have blenders and they don't have to make purees by hand with a mortar and pestle."
"Do you feel a loss for the old ways?"
"It is a stupid question, no?"

"Did you have an arranged marriage or a love marriage?"
"Grow to love, grow to hate, it is the same."

"You aren't working very hard to get a husband, are you?"
"If I do a poor job of making this, does it mean I don't have to have a husband?"

Good times.

The single most salient point that I picked up from this most recent class is that in India the common conception is that being able to cook well will get you a husband. One woman in the class offered that she already had a husband but was hoping to get a new one and I may or may not have agreed just a little too strongly with her point.

Apparently the quality of your chapati and whether or not it puffs up and is perfectly round when you put it on the fire is a key indicator in that quest. Here is mine:

Mr. Cusack, I shall be awaiting your proposal.