April 2, 2006 |
JOAN DIDION once said of her native California that "things had better work here, because this is where we run out of continent." Perhaps that's why she prefers New York these days. In the introduction to his latest book probing our dysfunctional nation-state, Peter Schrag poses no fewer than 25 questions that pick at sometimes uncomfortable truths about life on the edge of the Pacific. It's that kind of book -- and the kind of times we Californians live in.
March 29, 1999 |
When Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni came to the United States from India 23 years ago, she brought with her the books she read as a child, old Bengali folk tales filled with gods and demons, and fantastic fairy-tale adventures. She's still reading those books, but this time aloud--translating from Bengali as she goes--to her sons, Anand, 7, and Abhay, 4, as well as other kids from her Houston neighborhood who stop by to listen. "They love stories, my children--genetically, I guess!"
June 11, 1997 |
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni works magic--sometimes with words, sometimes with a saucepan. Her recently published novel, "The Mistress of Spices" (Anchor Books, $22.95), is set in an Indian grocery in Oakland, where Tilo, the proprietress, dispenses spices like magical charms to heal the sundry problems of her customers. At home in Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, Divakaruni employs spices in a broad range of Indian dishes.
June 11, 1997 |
What, no nigella in your kitchen? No ajwain? No fenugreek? You're missing out on some exciting seasonings. We're not suggesting you throw out old reliables like pepper and garlic salt. And you don't have to scrap meat loaf and stew for new, exotic cuisines, either. After all, these spices season everyday food in the countries where they are popular. There's no reason they can't cross over into everyday cooking here. The problem is that most of us just don't know about them.