Monday, November 29, 2010

My Thanks: winner announcement, agent interview

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. Mine was absolutely great. We traveled to Houston to be with my side of the family, so instead of turkey and dressing we had chicken biryani (a rice and chicken dish flavored with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace). Hey, we kept to the fowl-theme and the food was delish and the blessings were many.

Some of the highlights of my 2010 Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Waking up early and sneaking off to a neighborhood playground early Thanksgiving morning with the cowboy and the kids. We collected leaves along the way and talked about what we were thankful for. We swung on swings, slid down the slides and listened to happy giggles.

2. Spending time in the kitchen with my mother and sister, learning family recipes and stories. Watching the family try the end results. The verdict was uber kind: "It's even better because your hands touched it."

3. Finally telling people that I signed with an agent. For some strange reason, I needed to relish the news privately and accept it was real before I could share it. Here's an interview with my agent Nalini Akolekar.

4. Launching the blog and then checking back at every opportunity on the comments section. Unfortunately, my internet connection was spotty and that limited my visits. However, I'm absolutely amazed by the response. Thank you all so much for your kind words, great suggestions and follows. I will be adding a few more things to the blog: recipes, blog schedule etc.

5. Meeting up with a writing buddy I hadn't seen in ages, catching up face-to-face, talking writing. Visits with writer pals always refresh and inspire me.

6. Realizing what a great support system I have, made up of family, friends, and writing groups. I love you all!

Okay, enough of the sentimental stuff. Are you ready for the book giveaway winner? Drumroll please. The lucky person who won a copy of Monica Bhide's Modern Spice is...Deborah Blake. Congratulations! I'll be e-mailing you for details.

Thanks for reading y'all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Princess and the Cowboy: How it all began.

OK, so I'm not a real princess, but my cowboy farmer makes me feel like one. Many people are surprised that an adventurous woman from Bangladesh and a quiet man-of-the-earth from West Texas can meet, fall in love and make a life together. Hey, love happens.

Welcome to Hot Curries & Cold Beer, where I share my kitchen experiments and life adventures, where I bring my two worlds together to create a whole new world full of color and sizzle, scents and flavors.

My West Texas adventure began with college graduation. I thought I was on my way to NYC, but then I started adding up the costs. Reality check. So instead, I decided to adventure in cheaper, but still exciting places. I sent resumes all over, from Alaska to West Texas. The latter won my heart (to be honest I'm a cold wimp) and I came to the land of the cowboys. The plan: work and save for two years, have fun, then head to New York.

Somehow two years turned into four. While I was enjoying my newspaper job, my feet were kicking up dust, ready to travel. Greece was calling my name (Greek food + Greek Men = one helluva siren call). My one regret: I hadn't learned how to two-step before I left Texas. I might have lamented about this over beers, because a friend from the paper soon invited me to hang out with her that weekend. She'd find someone to teach me how to two-step.

I walked into the bar and there he was: tall, blond and blue-eyed. There were others too, but somehow we kept finding each other. And we talked about food, and we talked about books (that's one of my other weaknesses/passions/obsession). He held me close and taught me the Texas Two-Step. After several dance classes -- dates -- he finally said, "You know, if I wasn't holding you so close, you'd probably learn easier." Well, he waltzed all thoughts of Greece out of my head.

That happened in 2000. We have had much fun introducing each other to our very different lives, experiences and worlds. I took him to Bangladesh (and for once my family found me instantly in the airport crowds. I was next to the towering white guy in the cowboy hat), he took me to his family's sausage-making. My mother cooked him up a bunch of greens, which he referred to as weeds,but ate and managed to compliment her. His mother fed me saurkraut and I actually smiled.

For the wedding, he wore a Western Tux and I wore a traditional red and gold Lehenga. After the first dance, he changed into a silk kurta set, and I wore jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. We exchanged garlands, followed by a traditional kiss. So our life has been a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a fusion.

No where is this fusion better expressed than in the kitchen. We both love cooking together and coming up with new recipes. I'm the experimental, go-with-my-gut kind of cook. He's the meticulous type, measuring and taking notes, just in case he likes it enough and wants it again.

Now that you know who we are and sort of what to expect, I hope you'll be joining us again to see what the cowboy and I are cooking up next.