I was having a chat with one of my Instagram/blogger friends, and she marveled how fascinated she was by my mere existence, how “I’ve never met or known any non-Indian who is as interested in Indian food as you are. You know and cook more Indian food than many Indians!” She told me that she talked about me and my posts a lot with her Indian husband, who was also born and raised for most of his childhood in India. “She’s a non-desi, but she makes every Indian dish! I don’t think it’s possible for her to fail making anything Indian!” she exclaimed to him.
It’s like the e-mail thread I’ve been on with Chris’s mom’s cousin about how to make appam. I had repeatedly failed at getting the right texture and look, and so what originally started as an appam recipe exchange morphed into a “what is your favorite Jasmine rice brand?” to “do you want the all-time best Kerala chicken stew recipe from a Syrian Christian”? discussion. I love, love these conversations so much.
These conversations generally only happen with people who are super food obsessed down to the last grain of rice or the last gram of spice. Chris’s aunt also marveled over my attention to detail at making idlis from scratch: “I just buy the ready-made batter!” she said. I could even hear her voice through the email. Yep, I am a perfectionist. If you’re going to do something, you better do it all the way, otherwise just stop altogether.