Itty Bitty Jar of Basmati Rice

Okay, I have to admit, I started laughing when I pulled this new ‘basmati rice’ jar out of the box, and realized how small it actually was.

Apparently, I hadn’t paid attention to the dimensions when ordering, and had just assumed it would be at least twice this size. As a South Asian, I would never imagine someone would make a rice jar that’s just going to hold a day or two’s worth of rice!

The jar is by potter Rae Dunn, and I actually think it’s quite lovely, and I’m going to be happy to have it sitting on my counter. It’s honestly just as well, in fact, because we’re trying to eat a little less white rice, and I’ve got a reasonable-sized glass jar of Sri Lankan red rice on the counter behind the wee basmati jar. (Red rice is much lower carb / lower glycemic index). Small jars are good for storing occasional treats!

We’ll keep the actual big bags of rice in the pantry, where they always were, and will refill the counter jars as needed, and it’ll all be fine.

But it does just make me laugh. 🙂 Itty bitty jar of basmati rice! My grandmother would be bewildered.

Food from Angie’s Pantry

Trying some local mom food delivery this week — with Jed visiting for a month, we’re eating a bit more than normal, and while I’ve cooked some, and Kevin has too, we’ve probably been relying too much on takeout. I was hoping this would be a healthier option, and I’m pretty happy with it.

This is all from Angie’s Pantry — about $140 got us enough food for two nights’ dinners for 3 adults, 2 big kids, plus some leftovers. The Thai chicken was quite tasty, the food overall was kid-friendly. It seemed quite light on oil and with a nice reliance on citrus notes for flavor interest.

Personally, I’d probably add a *little* more oil / butter / sour cream / salt, because I guess I don’t want my food too healthy. 🙂 Also more cayenne! But you can adjust that easily while reheating. We’ll be ordering from her again.

Continuing Grill Experiments

Experiments in learning how to grill continue. I picked up some beautiful farm fennel at Carnivore Oak Park, trimmed off the green fronds (nice to save for plating and/or tossing into soup), peeled off the tough outer layer, cut out the core, sliced the fennel into 1/4″ slices, tossed it in oil, salt, and pepper, and grilled for 8 minutes, turning once.

It was SO GOOD. Roshani had brought over some lentil curry for lunch with Jed, and I’d also grilled some chicken tikka (and some chicken of the woods mushrooms, report on that in a future post), and we pulled out various things from the fridge and freezer and made fresh red rice, but the best part of the meal was clearly the combination of grilled fennel and lentils and rice and chicken — those four together were beautiful.

Fennel straight up is too licorice-y for me, but once grilled, it gets soft and buttery and tastes like a more complex version of grilled onions; the licorice is still there, but as a light afternote. Yum.

More Than Halfway Sold-Through

Hm. Just got a note from Mascot asking if we want to keep storing Feast copies in their warehouse for about $400 for another year. I said yes. The note also mentioned that we’re down to 872 copies, which is nice to see — we’d originally done a 2000 copy print run, so despite the pandemic cancelling all our launch activities, we’re more than halfway sold-through, it looks like.

And the praise for the book is still pretty glowing everywhere I see it, which is lovely. 4.5 stars on Amazon still, with 36 reviews, which is great! (If you feel inclined to leave a review, please do — they boost visibility a lot, in Amazon’s weird algorithms. It needn’t be a long review!)

Of course, there may still be some returns, so you can’t take any of these numbers as gospel, but it’s nice to see the stock-on-hand trending downwards. I have a hundred or so copies in my basement, and some at Jed‘s too, if I’m remembering right, and I’ve sold a few hundred to my dad at cost for him to give away to friends and family, so it’s not as if massive profits have come in.

But still, it seems reasonable that by next year this time, we might actually have sold all the copies left, and I won’t be paying Mascot for storage anymore. That’d be nice!

Vegan Serendib we’re planning to do print-on-demand, so less profit margin / book, but no big up front costs for printing or storage. If either book experiences a big surge, we might consider doing a print run again, but it’s so expensive for a big hardcover cookbook full of color photos, that seems fairly unlikely to me. We’ll see, though! You never know. 🙂

If you’re thinking of getting it as a holiday gift for someone, and want it signed and/or with curry powder added in, do order early if you can. I’m unlikely to run out of cookbooks, but shipping has had a lot of weird delays, and I’d hate for someone to not get their gift in time.


If you’re buying through Amazon, this link will give a little percentage to the SLF as a nonprofit:…/dp/1645432750/ref=sr_1_1…

If you’re buying through me directly, I can sign the book if you’d like:

The Last of the Launch Party Photos

I think this is the very last of my launch party photos, so I will stop incessantly plugging Lori Rader-Day‘s _Death at Greenway_, but it’s really a lovely, literary book, and it would also make a perfect holiday present for many parents and parents-in-laws — if they can’t go on a vacation to England, they can at least visit Agatha Christie’s house on the page.

Read it, and then come back and tell me how much you loved it. 🙂 A mango-passionfruit mimosa makes a wonderful accompaniment, of course, but a spot of tea would be even more appropriate. Perfect for the gloomy autumn days that are now descending on Chicago… (we really got very lucky with the tea party weather!)

I’ll always encourage you to support your local bookstore, but if you’re planning to shop on Amazon already, if you buy it through this link, the SLF gets a tiny little nonprofit percentage too:…/dp/B08F7S2DCP/ref=sr_1_1…

An Excuse to Show Off

I had forgotten how much fun it is to show off the house and food and decor, until I had an excuse to do so for Lori Rader-Day‘s launch party for _Death at Greenway_. (Which I *keep* wanting to call Greenaway instead, but that is wrong.)

It was particularly nice, in a way I’d forgotten about after 18 months of pandemic, having total strangers coming through and exclaiming about how much they loved the house. I love Serendib House to bits, of course, but it’s not a standard sort of decor (my sort of medieval / industrial / South Asian / fantastical blend), and I’m always a little surprised when other people like it as much as I do.

My favorite comment was from one woman who said that everywhere she looked, there was a cool little ‘scene’ to take in. I admit, that’s something I work at!

Oddly, I think my ADD kind of helps in a way — I recently saw a reframing of ADD as not a deficit of attention, but rather an *oversupply* of attention — people with ADD, our brains notice EVERYTHING. That feels accurate to me.

On the home decor front, I really notice clutter, and find it distressing and distracting, so my first almost automatic step is to move through a room straightening it up. It’s hard to keep on top of that with family around, so it’s not usually quite as clear as I’d like on a daily basis — when I lived alone in Salt Lake City, my home was spotless, magazine-ready all the time. (Of course, it was much smaller, so easier to stay on top of, and I was also broken-hearted and miserably lonely most of that time, so I don’t actually want to go back to that…)

Once the space is clear, though, I love to compose little vignettes on mantels, counters, etc. Plants and wee creatures and stacks of attractive books and bits of unexpected art and seasonal touches, etc.

It’s a balancing act — I want just enough that it looks composed and attractive without tipping over into feeling cluttered (to me — everyone sets that at a different place, I suspect). I ALSO want our home to feel natural and liveable, so Kev and Jed and the kids can move comfortably through the space and put down books and coffee cups without worrying about messing something up.

Sometimes that’s a challenge, especially day-to-day. I spend a lot of time reminding the children to pick up blankets and put them back on the couch, and sometimes, Anand’s trail of crumbs on couch cushions is enough to make me want to scream a little. (He is learning how to use the Dustbuster. We’ll get there.) The kitchen island is a constant staging area, being covered with stuff, then emptied, then covered again…

But for a party, we clean up, dress up, and show off. 🙂

Baking on Sunday Is a Thing Now

It’s becoming a thing here, baking on Sunday so there’s some easy ‘breakfast-on-the-go’ for Kavi to grab on her way out the door for school –otherwise, she’ll just skip breakfast most days, of which her Amma (that’s me) does not approve.

Pumpkin cakelets in this case, using two different Nordic Ware pans. Interesting how one pan gives a browner result than the other (same batter, same cooking times).

The basic Betty Crocker recipe is fine, but a little boring to me. I think next time, I’m going to try to jazz it up a little, maybe desi-fy it. What would you put in your pumpkin cakelets or muffins? (Not cream cheese, because I want something that can sit out on the counter for a few days…)

A Sign of Book Life Returning

Well, this is very fun. You remember how we had to cancel all kinds of book launch stuff when COVID descended, back in March 2020? Here’s a little sign of book life returning — I’ve just dropped off both hardcover and paperback copies of Feast at our local butcher / grocery Carnivore Oak Park, along with some of my small batch hand-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder.

Locals, if you’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Feast for yourself or a friend or family member (they make GREAT holiday gifts, if I do say so myself), I’d love it if you’d support one of our local stores and stop by to get your copy from Carnivore. And if they run out, don’t worry, I can always bring them more…

I added a little care package of confections for the team too — dragonfruit chocolates, cashew milk toffee, passionfruit marshmallows, mulled apple cider marshmallows, chai spice meringue kisses. The young men there always take such good care of us; it’s nice to give them something back. (If you’d like Carnivore to carry my sweets, tea towels, and/or soaps, do swing by and let them know. 🙂 )

If you’re looking for food recommendations, it’s a great place to pick up all kinds of things, locally sourced from small family farms. You want sushi-quality fish? They can take care of you. You want a quick and delicious weekday dinner? My kids love their ribs & tibs pasta.

I know vegetarians might not expect there’d be much for them at a butcher, but Carnivore also carries milk and eggs and onions and potatoes and cheese and soups, plus a host of artisan jars and cans of deliciousness, like gourmet Rancho Gordo beans.

For the non-veg, I’ll note that their pork shoulder makes a gorgeous tamarind-pork curry (recipe in my cookbook, of course), and my kids & Kevin adore their Italian sausage and hot links. (Okay, the hot links are too spicy for Anand, but otherwise…) We had the latter for dinner tonight, and again for lunch today. Yum.