Mar 24, 2007

Sweet Translations

Today a bunch of us from my mom's group went out the new Indian restaurant in Media, Shere- e-Punjab. I guess someone must have read my November blog post complaining of the dearth of Indian restaurants in Delaware County, and decided to take action. I am so powerful. Anyway, really good food, and they vary the buffet dishes enough to keep you from getting bored. For the desserts today, they didn't have my beloved golub jamun, fried milk balls soaking in syrup (!). Instead they had "Indian cheesecake." I wish they had left it at that and not included the Indian name, barfi. Quite the unfortunate nomenclature.

I thought it tasted odd; it just seems that desserts don't translate as well across cultures as savory dishes. Except for golub jamun, which must have a special drug in them. Chinese red bean desserts are unpalatable, to me, as is anything with rosewater, common to middle Eastern sweets. But baklava and halvah work for me, come to think of it, only too well. Maybe my hypothesis should be limited to Asian and East Asian desserts (not golub jamun, of course). I bought some little pig-shaped cakes at an Asian supermarket recently that no one in my family could stomach. They had lotus paste in them, which I have actually liked in certainly very freshly made dim sum (lotus rolls or balls or something). And yet, so many traditional American desserts have survived for decades and sometimes centuries, with only some adjustments in the sugar and fat levels. Indian pudding, apple pie, brownies, etc. I guess that might really be part of the same phenomenon; that homey desserts speak to our ancestral memories, and that's why they don't cross the East-West divide so well.

Because I became a lifetime member of Weight Watchers this morning ( six weeks at my goal weight), I thought I'd celebrate by eating barfi and blogging about desserts. Really, what better way to celebrate? To top it all off, I baked a mango upside down cake tonight and ate two pieces. My stomach protesteth. Here's hoping there shall be no barfi tonight.

3 comments:

Rachel said...

My stomach is not doing great either. I wonder how the others from our group are doing . . .

Anjali said...

My tummy did great. I was ready to go back for dinner that night.

BOSSY said...

When Bossy was a child, the only way her parents could ply Bossy into going to the Middle East restaurant was to promise her Rose Water. It's not that Bossy was put off by the food -- Bossy has always loved all food items except chitterlings. It's just that Bossy was terrified of the belly dancers who were drawn to small children and often selected them for the ceremonial scarf wrapping. Talk about 'barfi'!