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bear by san

March 2017



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drive train _ netcurmudgeon

for hernewshoes (in her current attempt to kick the mochaccino habit) and anybody else who wants it, a friend of a friend taught me a pretty good trick for shortcut chai this week.

You will need:

a coffee grinder
a teapot full of black tea
a mug
sweetened condensed milk, fat-free or full-fat, as you prefer
and your favorite chai spice mixture.

What you do is whiz the spices in the coffee grinder until they are a fine power, and store them in an air tight container. You take a tablespoon or so of spices, open a small can (or tin, if you speak British) of condensed milk, and mix (a) into (b), and then stick the can into the fridge with a bit of saran wrap over the top.

When you need chai, make strong black tea--quite strong, I've been using half again as much tea as I normally do--and put a big spoonful of the milk/spice glop into the cup. Stir.

Instant chai. With no scrubbing the milk film off the saucepan after.

It makes me happy.


Re: clarification?

There are a bunch of good recipes out there, and I kind of, um, do it by smell. *g* So to speak.

cardamom and clove and nutmeg and pepper and ginger and cinnamon are all good....
Hmmm. It sounds good, but I'l probably stick to my version.

1. Put ice in glass
2. Shake and open container of 'Oregon Chai'
3. Pour Chai into glass
4. Add milk to taste.

I got addicted to their version and have never gone anywhere else. *sigh*
*g* If one's trying to shake an addiction to commercial stuff, though, it doesn't help....
Bengal Spice is teh stuff for chai. I should get some.

hungry now....
Mmmmm.... Bengal Spice...
The condensed milk makes up for not boiling the tea in the milk, you see--so you wind up with full-strength tea-flavored milk when you dilute with tea, instead of milky tea.

If you see the difference.
But...but...but...Chai is Evil!

Unless you have a bad cold and need the ginger chai to unclog your sinuses.

Seriously though, I had no idea that there are so many different kinds of chai spices etc available in the US.
Cardamom and tea! What's not to love!

I think in the US we get a LOT of variety because we have immigrants from all over the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia and they all bring their own hometown blend....

So many non-Indian people have an Indian or Pakistani or whatever family as friends, and get fed spiced tea made that way, and teach their friends to make it that way....

It's one of the best things about the USA, I think. Our media really sucks at multiculturalism, but our cities--especially the coastal and upper Midwestern ones--

--it's great.

Where do you live? If I may be so forward as to ask. (I'm in Las Vegas)
I still find it strange when I see Indian/South Asian faces/names/foodstuff etc mentioned in Merkin blogs/papers/books. I think it might be because of the fact that India was persona non grata for so many years, especially during the cold war. It gave me a sense of not really existing in the world in which those books were written. We didn't qualify as villains, we certainly weren't friends, and we rarely merited a mention in popular culture. I have noticed a change over the last 5-6 years though, and am beginning to get over the initial reaction ['Oh, we are in the same world then!']. :)

And I live in Gurgaon. 'Tis a small town near Delhi, and the latest call-centre mecca. :)


One of my dearest friends is Indian--American-born herself, of immigrant parents--and I grew up with a lot of Cambodian and Vietnamese and Thai students as friends. In the Northeastern US, where I went to school, we had a big influx in immigration during the 1980's.

Of course in our television shows and movies you see whites and blacks (mostly African-American, very few Caribbean blacks unless they're terribly stereotyped), and a few Latinos (almost all Cuban--though they're rarely presented as anything but bad guys, even now--or Mexican-American), and a very few Chinese or Japanese characters--and the reality of the US is really multicultural these days.

In the very small city of Madison (population around a third of a million, I think), I can find to Ethiopian, Afghani, Jamaican, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Irish, Indian, and probaby half-a-dozen other national cuisines. Hartford, which has about 200,000 people, is similar--Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, Puerto Rican, Indian, Pakistani, Greek, Moroccan, West Indian, and a bunch of other communities.

I just wish we presented that face of our country to the world with more gusto. Because I think it's one of the best things about America.
The availability of dofferent cuisines is such a boon. My hubby insists that the US has the second best food in the world, second only to Korea.

And yes, a better depiction of the multi-culturalism would be good. It would be very helpful from a political perspective [I confess - I am a political animal, to the extent that I sometimes toy with the idea of starting a lj community called 'I heart politics']. It would be harder for the world to see the US as *The* Other if they can spot racial/ethnic similarities with Americans.
I think you're right.

I think currently about 70% of the national population is Anglo-European, about 12% African-American, and the other eighteen percent is diverse--Latino, Caribbean, Native American, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander. Those numbers are off the top of my head, however, and may be from the 1990 census rather than the 2000 one. (We do a national headcount every ten years. *g*) And in some places, like southern coastal California, the Latino population is rapidly outstripping the Anglo one.

However our power elite is overwhelmingly white and Protestant. Which of course isn't helpful.

But I've worked with muslims, christians, hindus, buddhists, pagans--

--there are parts of the US that are still overwhelmingly white, of course. But that's changing, slowly.

It always amazes me to watch Canadian television. Canada's actually more "white" than the US, percentage-wise, but their newscasters aren't.

Anyway, we're not as homogenous over here as we look on TV. *g*

Actually, I try to bring that out in my fiction, in my own small way. If I know somebody who I can ask about a culture well enough to present somebody who grew up in it convincingly, I'll try to find ways to include characters of that ethnic background in my work.
The WASP factor in politics was the first thing I read about in my Master's course on Merkin constitution and politics. There was a time [some 5 years] when I could recite the census records of the US [1970, 1980, 1990] but ever since I stopped working on my PhD thesis [around the time my daughter was born] I have taken barely 5~6 looks at the recent data. :)

I never thought of the US as homogenous but I always wondered why South Asians don't figure in movies and books. In fact, it was a point I worked into my thesis to demonstrate how the Indian diaspora was not projecting enough soft power [my thesis was on the pattern of Indian Americans' political participation from 1975 to 1995].

I haven't read your books [still can't find them] but do you have Indians in your books? Of all the writers who have written fiction about India/Indians, I have been most impressed by Laurie R. King and Ian McDonald. And most infuriated by Ashok Banker but I have already ranted enough about him.... :)

Anyway, if you'd ever like me to proof-read/critique anything to do with India, please just ask. I *like* being thanked for being critical. ;)
I should also note that I make a *mean* potato-lentil madras curry. *g*
Oh my. That goes so well with rice, steamed greens and corainder-tomato-garlic-chilli-chutney.

I think I just decided on my lunch. :)
I have some in the freezer.

Hmm. Lunch tomorrow!


I think I have my meals till tomorrow afternoon sorted out now. Dinner tonight would be a Korean feast in honour of Chuseok [the Koran thanksgiving], tommorow's lunch would be the leftovers from dinner.


I do so love Korean food. Especially when the menu includes barbecued prawns....mmmm.
Oh, god.

My big weakness is Vietnamese food. And sushi, of course... but there's a Vietnamese dish that's white fish and scallops over glass noodles with a ginger garlic sauce....

....oh dear. I could cry. *g*
I like sushi but prefer sashimi. Especially the way they serve it in Korea - with soups and chiges, and at least 10 side dishes.

The Koreans have a dish which is *perfect* for summers [how hot does it get in Vegas? From the books I've read, it gets respectably hot] - glass noodles, thinly sliced cucumbers and carrots are served in a chilled, spicy clear soup. And then the dish is garnished with boiled eggs. Mmm, I want. For winters, they have this delightful thing called 'tapoki' - fish cakes, rice cakes and boiled eggs in a steaming hot chilli sauce, garnished with spring onions. Oh my. It is almost worth dying for.


I'll stop now and go have my lunch. :)