March 27, 2013

Strawberry Sorbet & Sweet Paratha

March 27, 2013
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Nobody drives a forty-eight years old car. It doesn’t meet today’s need for speed, practicality, ecology, prestige or other values attached to a vehicle. Cars could, potentially, last longer but our ever changing desires dictate when a car, mobile phone, computer or camera is outdated.

Buildings from the 60’s, on the other hand, are still used for living although they may require renovation. They are more expensive to design and, thus, more respected. Also, homes are emotional investments: they are made of memories. Unless abandoned, a house will stand for several generations.
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As awkward as it may sound, the human lifespan is somewhere between a car and a building! Our tissue deteriorates faster than the combination of earth, water, fire, air and ether in wood, stone or metal. Or, even, plastic! A physical body is made of matter, although it’s organic and able to stretch, transform and facilitate our mental and intellectual development to a large degree. It’s intricate and, in many ways, inconceivable. But, it will decay and die, just like everything else. Even the subtle matter that forms our sense of self, mind and ability to discriminate will, often, debilitate in old age, despite of its advanced metaphysical nature and ability to archive impressions during a lifetime. It’s the part of us that wants to and will manifest again, even after death, to realize our passions. Therefore, death is nothing but changing a set of clothes for a new role, situation and relationships. It’s the end of a play and the beginning of a new script.
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If you are wondering why the morbid subject, no, I’m not dying. Yet. I just turned forty-eight!
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Optimistically speaking, forty-eight is a late afternoon, six o’clock, in a twelve hour circle. It’s a transition hour; a twilight. The fall of night is probable, although not immediate. Naturally, I find myself less enamored by the wonders of this world and more withdrawn. Similarly, there are fewer smiles on my face but many in the heart.
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If anything, birthdays remind me of the transitory principle of material life! Accepting a sack of blood, flesh, bones and mucus, as a residence, is a mixed deck. However, the cards are not delivered randomly. We get what we order, knowingly and unknowingly. We may not remember when, where, why or how we requested what comes our way. Neither can we, usually, cancel the order at our convenience but, thankfully, we can deal with it in a sensible and sober manner. The sages recommend observing the field and working with it intelligently: being in, but not of, the world! For a soul, constituted by the finest transcendental substance of eternity, knowledge and bliss, it’s the way to remain unaffected by the erosion of time. For one who is never born, there won't be death.
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To celebrate of being never born, we enjoyed refreshing strawberry sorbet and sweet parathas (flatbreads) made with cinnamon bun spices with my husband yesterday. An odd combination, perhaps, but it tasted otherworldly.

Unlike the banana ice-cream I’ve made before, this sorbet was far from insipid. Strawberries restore the potential and glory of the recipe.
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Today is one of the biggest holidays, and a fasting day, in our vaishnava tradition of yoga. It’s to commemorate Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared like the moon to dissipate the darkness of ignorance. He is prananath: the one in charge of my life-air.
Thank you.

56 comments:

  1. This is absolutely gorgeous -truly a feast for the eyes even before it can reach the tastebuds :)

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  2. Happy birthday Lakshmi. That sorbet is gorgeous--does every bit of justice to the berries.

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  3. Your pictures just keep getting better with every post, Lakshmi!
    I am in awe!

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  4. i don't know whether to read your words or see the pics. both are awesome in this post. when i read, it resonates in my heart and i miss seeing the pics and when i see the pics, i miss the reading the words. i heart what you say. wish you a belated happy birthday as well as a happy holi.

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  5. Exquisite! Both teh sorbet and paratha look extremely promising.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. Beautiful words, photos and recipes, as always love! Happy belated birthday too xx

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  7. Wow! This is the first time I'm visiting your blog and I instantly became a fan! Your sense of aesthetics is supernatural... Thank you for sharing all this!

    Ja mikä pullamestari ootkaan! Sain taas uuden inspiraation pullareenaukseen.

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  8. And also thank you for the words of wisdom.

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  9. As much as I love your food photographs, it's your words that brings smile on my face and peace to mind. I am awe of your thoughts and life's philosophy. They say our actions depicts our thoughts. With your stunning photographs and soulful narration, your blog has become very special and dear to me.

    Before I click the publish button, let me wish you much happiness on your special day. Happy birthday, dear Lakshmi! :)

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    1. Sia, thank you. I'm happy to hear you and others find something useful in the blog. My words are not really mine: I'm just an instrument :-)

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  10. And I love the use of cinnamon in sweet paratha. As far strawberry sorbet, I will have to wait a while before snow melts and spring comes to my part of world :)

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  11. Happy Birthday Lakshmi. Wish you health and happiness. Your words and photographs transport me to a whole new world. I like it there :-)
    The paratha seems like a treat my little one would like.

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  12. Wishing you a very Happy and Belated Birthday dear Lakshmi. There is always certain level of stillness and spirituality in all your posts Those beautiful pictures have dazzled us all this long and may they continue to do so for many years to come. :-)

    Siri

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  13. So very inspirational. Your words, photos and work are exquisite. Bless!

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  14. Happy birthday Lakshmi. Lip-smacking sorbet and paratha.

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  15. You always seem to draw me more into your writing, Lakshmi. And the photos too!

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    1. Thanks, Kiran. Nice to hear what I write resonates. Organizing the information I have been revealed through the process of bhakti is easier for me than cooking or photographing. Although I may lack literary finesse, sharing philosophical concepts is natural and where my consciousness is. It's wonderful when you and other reciprocate.

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  16. I agree you get what you order for.. and I also believe you will never find yourself in a situation, good or bad, that you can't handle!! beautifully written post.. and the sorbet caught my eye!!!

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    1. You are right, we have potential to handle everything. Sometimes we need help though. Some situations may be too confusing, in my experience. That's why relationships are so important.

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  17. Happy Birthday! I, too, recently turned 48. While age may or may not have brought wisdom (how does one ever know, really), it's certainly brought perspective. Beautiful post, and beautiful paratha.

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  18. Happy Brithday! Your writing is so poetic, I enjoy reading and rereading it even. Beautifully written and photographed. Please deliver many-many recipes and writing as such for many-many years to come!!!

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    1. Many years to come, a blessing or a curse :-) Thank you.

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  19. "We get what we order, knowingly and unknowingly. We may not remember when, where, why or how we requested what comes our way"- this pretty much summarizes my day right now. Thank you much Lakshmi for such beautiful posts- its truly inspiring. I will be visiting farmers market soon to get some fresh strawberries and make this sorbet :)

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    1. Dixya, for the sorbet I used frozen strawberries because they are not in season here either. Technically, it works. Fresh is, of course, fresh and will make the sorbet even better.

      Regarding getting what we order is, in reality, one of the most difficult concepts to accept. The paradox is that we, as humans, claim independence when good things happen but, when something goes wrong, we'd like to shift the responsibility to others; it's someone or something else's fault. The tendency to think we deserve the good and are victims of the bad is so prominent. I constantly struggle to balance it.

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    2. Here are my few cents about the sorbets. On my opinion and experience frozen strawberries will make better sorbet than fresh ones. There is much more liquid in fresh strawberry when you mix it into pulp. More liquid= more ice pieces in the sorbet. Sometimes I even pre-froze my fresh stawberies and than make a sorbet with it. Same with milk shake or lassi.

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  20. If only my teachers in all the grade levels were as passionate for delivering their thoughts like you I might have become a decent writer and paid attention in class. I have to agree with Sia she wrote earlier and it is the best so ditto from me! Happy 48th I am right behind you.

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    1. :-) thanks, for the encouragement, Monica. Happy to hear I'm not alone between forty-eight and death!

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  21. From the very first time I visited your blog, I was hooked. The beauty of your spirit, wisdom, gift of expression, artistic photography, and creative cooking are stunning. Thank you for your generosity in sharing so many of your gifts with us.

    Wishing you a year full of beautiful experiences and much love. Happy Birthday!

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  22. You have put it more profoundly and yet simply than any big book of philosophy :)Another reason I love you Lakshmi. Now with the recipe! I cannot believe it. Cannot cannot LOL. When a sweet craving strikes sometimes, this is what I do to my last paratha of the meal... without the almond flour though. just a smear of ghee, and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon powder :) and then I eat it all to myself. Never even thought that it could actually become a recipe. Love every bit of the post (like I do all your posts). Many many beautiful wishes for you.

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    1. Lol! Parathas are so good in all shapes and forms.

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  23. Dear Laksmi, such a lovelly day to celebrate a birtyday on Gaura Purnima Festiwal. May Lord Gauranga bless you with the taste for chanting the Holy Names. Wish you all the best my friend, a beautyfull soul in the 48-old body;-)))

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  24. This is such a perfect dessert! Love <3

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  25. Beautiful photos and I love the sweet treat :D

    Happy Birthday Lakshmi :D
    I sure know how it feels to be 48. I, too turned 48 early this month. Feels like every bone and muscle in the body protesting to every sudden move I make.

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    1. When young, we ptotest the old ways. When old, we protest the new ways.

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  26. Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes and blessings.

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  27. AleksandraMarch 28, 2013

    Happy birthday and thanks again for a wonderful post. My son turned 10 yesterday and I had cinnamon rolls on my mind today. I seem somehow connected to you more than ever before. I love the comparison with age and the times of the day. I see that in my son with his now 10 years. The day is beginning and there is such an openeness and awe of what awaits him. I am turning 38 and am looking forward to the wisdom that comes with having experienced and seen more of this world of ours. I am especially in awe of women who ripen and age with beauty and grace like you.

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    1. Believe me, sometimes it's rather crazy than grace :-)

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  28. Absolutely loved reading your post. Gorgeous pictures. I found your blog recently and fell in love with it. The analogy of 48 year to the 12 hour clock was really nice.

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  29. What a lovely post full of wisdom, love and lots of sweetness. I just found your blog last week and I have to say it's turned into my FAVORITE! I LOVE your soulful, spiritual writing and your deliciously sattvic recipes. I wish you the best of luck with all your endeavors and will eagerly be waiting to read more of your insight and yumminess!

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  30. I often dip my parathas into sugar, but never thought of making them into a sweet. How brilliant! Beautiful post as always Lakshmi!

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  31. Your photos are so beautiful; you really have an eye for turning your food into a lovely subject! The color of the sorbet really pops. I can't wait to try the recipe, I was so excited to see the parathas are made with spelt flour. After reading a book called Health on Your Plate I've been introduced to a number of different flours than the bleached stuff I was used to - I'm excited to have an opportunity to try out spelt. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Spelt is a great alternative to wheat. It's very potent.

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  32. Happy very belated birthday! It looks like you had some super delicious food to celebrate. The color in the sorbet is gorgeous!

    Death is my least favorite subject so I have to admit, thinking about life like a time of day was kind of disturbing for me. Regardless, this is a beautiful post and I love how you write about life.

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  33. Das ist genau das Richtige für mich. Sieht total lecker aus und schmeckt vermutlich auch richtig gut.

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  34. Lakshmi, I have lost count of the times that I have read this post. What you have written, your choice of words, your sensitivity, spirituality, and the way your eyes sees things and captures them in the camera and present it to us, is truly 'otherworldly.' God bless!

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  35. Your blog is delicious!! The recipes, the photographs…look so incredible! Congratulations!!

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  36. I just stumble upon your blog and I now became a big fan of it. So very inspirational words, photos and recipes. Well, a happy and belated birthday Lakshmi! Wishing you more best of lucks and love. Thanks for the wonderful post!

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  37. Lakshmi,

    This is such an awesome combo! For Ugadi Festival, my family in Bangalore prepares sweet roti called obbattu that we eat with warm milk. Ice cream sounds divine!

    Cheers,
    Chitra

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    1. Thanks, Chitra. I googled obbattu and it looks fabulous. I will try it with chana, coconut, elaichi and jaggery. My recipe was a spontaneous concoction.

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  38. Your blog and photos are absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!

    xo

    :) Tracey

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