Author and former TV reporter Anupy Singla has made inroads in the American culinary market by promoting DIY Indian cooking.
Anupy Singla is hoping to turn Indian cuisine into the next Mexican food.
Well, not exactly, but this best-selling cookbook author, mom and former broadcast journalist sees a real need for what she has to offer — expertise as a self-trained cook informed by emigrating from India at just age three.
Yet, her business, Indian as Apple Pie, is more than just a cute concept: it’s spices, recipes, cookbooks, a blog and, with any luck, the inspiration for a TV show.
Spices the Indian way
Singla, who lives in Chicago with her husband and two young daughters, says her business fills a niche, and she is shattering preconceptions.
That’s because many Americans just don’t get what Indian food is about, she claims; for example, we frequently confuse a curry with curry the spice, or douse dishes with the spice as a “Saturday Night Fever” character would his cologne.
“Some think curry powder is the essence of Indian cooking. I grew up never using curry powder, only for some specialized non-Indian [foods],” she says.
The average American will eat 130 lbs of sugar every year during his or her lifetime. That’s a 650% increase over the 20 lbs per year that was consumed, on average, back in 1820. And while we all know that processed sugar is linked to a long list of health issues like diabetes, hypertension, headaches and depression it also contributes to a sort of dumbing down of our taste buds. The more sugar we eat, the more conditioned we become to it, and the less of it we actually taste.
Kenton Whitman has a lot to say on the subject of processed sugar and its stealthy partners, salt and fat. Whitman is the man behind ReWild University, a Wisconsin-based school for re-integrating human hunter-gatherer wisdom and “learning to live consciously in the world.” He’s one of a handful of people leading a movement to awaken some of our latent wild instincts and to develop an appreciation for our place in the natural world. One step in the process is rewilding how we appreciate flavor.
“Sugar actually decreases the pleasure we get from food,” Whitman says. “In very tiny amounts, it can enhance flavors, but it’s easily overused to the extent where it masks the true flavors of food. Instead of tasting the actual food, we just taste the sugar, and find ourselves craving more.”
(Banner photo © Zach Nash)
In the movie Chef, Jon Favreau plays a chef on the edge who leaves his crazy white-linen job to run a food truck.
In the movie “Chef”, Jon Favreau’s character abruptly quits working for a posh L.A. restaurant that’s been squelching his creativity – as well as forcing him to work under a psycho boss, deliciously played by Dustin Hoffman. The disgruntled chef decides to follow his dream of opening a specialty food truck and the results are, of course, movie magic.
So is art imitating life? Are real-life chefs and would-be chefs quite as bold after they’ve been stifled creatively? Turns out yes, even if most interviewed won’t cop to being quite as miserable as Favreau’s Chef Carl was onscreen.
Pride of ownership
Oklahoma City-based chef Jonathon Stranger, co-owner of popular restaurant Ludivine, attended the world-class Institute of Culinary Education, yet in his early 20s his life was a mess. Working in restaurants seemed to fuel an alcohol-and-pills habit, in part because of the plentiful supply he found through working in kitchens, but mainly because of where his head was at.
Chef Jonathon Stranger went from recovery to creative riches with his world-class restaurant Ludivine, which has brought the farm-to-table concept to Oklahoma City, his hometown. Photo © Quit Nguyen