If there’s one thing I loved about India ALMOST as much as the people— it’s the curry! Oh my word. We demolished 14 curry meals in 7 days, absolutely no problem. Curry is everywhere, using every meat, fish, and vegetable imaginable along with their vast array of spices. It’s not for the fainthearted…
Now we (my dad, husband, and youngest son) are all major curry fans, but nothing could have prepared me for the Indian assault on my taste buds. Many varieties were super hot (I am a wee bit wimpy compared to my men folk), but we were broken in gently, and usually managed to douse the tongue-flames with a dollop of homemade yoghurt.
We ate 2 meals at restaurants, but other than that we were fed by pastors wives and church members, and I have to say— I would take the curry and kindness in the warmth of an Indian home any day. The hospitality of these dear people we had never met before was overwhelming. Indian women have cooking down to an art form, and they take great pride in serving their meals. Yes, the food was plentiful and tasty beyond description (note to self: if you tell your host the food is delicious, your plate will be totally refilled instantly regardless of your already-full belly), but it was the HOSPITALITY that shook me to my core. They gave selflessly, wholeheartedly, and joyfully. It almost made me cry, and I’m not a crier.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Don’t you just love this verse found in 1 Peter 4:9? Hmmm easier said than done sometimes (oops, I think that was a grumble!) It’s interesting to see which verses this little gem is sandwiched between: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” and “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Love and grace. Hospitality is right in the middle.
We were warmly welcomed into the humble homes of strangers with open arms, and it fed our souls as well as our stomachs. They were unbelievably kind. How often do we (I) make all sorts of excuses about opening up our homes, when it’s actually a command, not a sweet suggestion. The thing is, we’re not told that we have to make a 4-course dinner and provide live entertainment in a spotless, dust-free show home. Why, oh why do we make our lives so complex? Hospitality is welcoming a person into your home and your life, showing them kindness and a deeper more real version of you, and making them feel comfortable and loved. That can be done over coffee and cake, or takeout pizza …or a curry 🙂
Confession: There was ONE curry I couldn’t handle. We were visiting an amazing day-orphanage run by the pastor’s wife, and after the open-air service we were invited to stay for lunch. (One doesn’t say no when offered food in India.)
It was GIZZARD curry in a giant vat. I kid you not. I dare you to look it up. There were also mutton livers in there (that didn’t persuade me I’m afraid.) Here you go:
Suffice to say, the only one of us who ate it was my brave and fearless son Jacob, and that was only because he was in the “bathroom” (I use that term very, very loosely) when the description of lunch was being discussed. He devoured every morsel in blissful ignorance. Poor guy. Yeah, I kind of enjoyed telling him what was in the curious curry AFTERWARDS… Sorry bud.
So after my week of Indian cuisine, I came home desperate to try some authentic (not out of a jar!) curries and such. I have always been a little hesitant to dabble with a vast array of spices, so I hunted for a recipe book with basic info and fool-proof instructions for the Indian novice.
Indian for Everyone is beautiful— filled with gorgeous, colourful photos depicting India as well as its food— it’s very informative and offers a wide range of recipes with easy-to-follow instructions. I even purchased a tiffin box with jars to make my own spice mixes (look at me go!)
I made my first meal— Chicken Tikka Masala and Tandoori Cauliflower, and it was a huge hit with my family. Admittedly, it was a lot of work, but now I have some spice blends ready to go for next time, and there WILL be a next time… the consensus was that this dinner was the BEST EVER, and my lasagne has now been toppled from the “favourite” spot! I’m looking forward to making my way through this book, and stretching my hospitality to include some daring cuisine…
Now when I think of curry, I remember the kindness and love and hospitality of the people we had the privilege of meeting in India.
And it makes me want to be more like them.
Working on my curry and kindness…
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: