Last week, one of Rain Man's friends called to asked if she could "borrow" me to help her figure out the mysteries of the Indian spice rack. She had a couple of recipes that she was dying to try out but wanted some "expert" help with picking the ingredients. Accordingly, Blondie and I met up at the Indian store where she proceeded to pick up almost everything in sight and that wasn't nailed down. Really, I'm not sure when she's ever going to make samosas (from scratch) or appams or idils or half the other dishes for which she liberally gathered raw materials. But that's not the point. Besides, we had a mission - Lamb Curry was on the menu and we were ready to cook. As I assumed the role of culinary supervisor and spice grinder, Blondie chopped, grated, sliced and diced with a vigor that only a novice cook can muster. I recognised it in my own cooking style!
After combining everything, we left it to simmer on a low heat and went off for a pint to the pub. On our return an hour (and a few pints) later, we found a smooth and tasty curry waiting for us.
It was half way through dinner that I actually remembered that it was Diwali, the Hindu new year and the festival of lights. When I shared that with Blondie and described how back in India all the houses would be decorated with little oil lamps from top to bottom, she got up and ran around lighting all sorts of little candles. Just like India, she beamed triumphantly.
Looking around, I had to admit that although we certainly wouldn't have had a bunch of vanilla and cranberry Ikea candles in India, essentially it was just like home. I was celebrating and sitting around a table sharing good food and toasting to a new friendship.
That, is certainly a good reason for a celebration!