Curry and Connections

Tonight I made a decent Kerala style mushroom curry. I found the recipe via an online friend I first met via an orchid discussion forum. She lives in Mumbai and has an excellent blog of her own that you should check out some time. Something struck me about the fact that when I was looking for advice about authentic Indian cuisine, I was able to get authoritative input from someone I’ve talked with for years but have never met. Such is the power of the Internet.

Occasionally I’ll step back from the keyboard and take a critical look at the role the Internet plays in my life. I recently returned from a wonderful camping vacation where I probably could have but didn’t bother to access the Web, email, etc. I really didn’t miss them. Sure, I was capturing images I may post on facebook at some point and, yes, I did manage to do one ambient sound recording that may find its way onto Freesound. (It stars a vireo with wolf backup, by the way.) I had plenty of treeware, an ereader and my precious notebooks to keep me busy and I knew I’d be back online soon after returning to civilization.

Best of all I had the opportunity to let my mind slow down and really evaluate how I spend my time, including my Internet usage, and I decided it’s a valuable connection to the people and information that enrich my life. I think about the individual and joint projects I’ve got simmering right now and while it can seem overwhelming at times, they’re things I truly enjoy or that I feel are important. While I was jotting down yet another URL in my notebook to check out when I got home I looked at my to-do list. It occurred to me that I really need a to-don’t list. It doesn’t even have one item on it yet, but I’m getting close to formulating the first one. It goes along the line of “Don’t waste time/energy on things you don’t really care about.” Simple enough, but I have a feeling there’s some power in it I haven’t quite yet realized.

Meanwhile, the curry was good but it was also a learning experience–what experience isn’t? The recipe I used was from one of the sites Sunita recommended, a blog called Vazhayila. I used a mixture of the oyster mushrooms from the almost-neighborhood farmers market and some regular button mushrooms. The onion, garlic, jalapeno and tomato came from our own garden. Spices were from our local Penzey’s store. The co-conspirator told me–after the fact–that Penzey’s chili powder is a bit on the strong side. That and the extra jalapeno I added were evident when we were sweating and sniffling our way through dinner. A few dollops of yogurt helped cool things down. Next time I’ll remember to make a cucumber raita. Finally, local tortillas stood in for the chapatis since I thought we were out of whole wheat flour and I didn’t want to venture out into traffic again.

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