My interest in food and cooking is known to most of my friends, family, and colleagues, and even students. Towards the end of the term I bring some food, usually home-cooked, to the class on a day when informal interactions are scheduled. It is a pleasant way to conclude the semester.
Some students stay in touch after they graduate. Some come and visit and we exchange notes as colleagues. A special mention here is Ryan, who remembers to bring me foodie-things from his travels around the country; many times these are ingredients sourced from where they are grown (or brewed!). Amongst the many gifts I have received from him are coffee from a Chikmagalur plantation, his aunt’s home-brewed plum wine, his mom’s fruitcake, Shrewsbury biscuits and ginger cookies from the famous Kayani bakery in Pune, toddy from Kerala, and Mahuwa (the drink!) from Madhya Pradesh. Recently he brought me dried kokum and kokum syrup on his return from a visit to the Konkan. He seems to be partial to the western coast; perhaps because of his ethnic roots. Back from one such visit to the coast last year, he brought me a packet of Goan pork sausage. Until then I had only read about it.
Remember I asked all of you to suggest recipes? Raji had suggested I use it in a pulao, and Ryan shared a recipe for a curry cooked with the sausage and potatoes. The Goan Chouriço, also known as linguica, is an important element in the Portuguese-influenced Goan Catholic cuisine. Though often identified as a sausage, it is made with chopped pork instead of ground meat and cannot be consumed uncooked. The prepared pork is combined with spices and vinegar, stuffed into cleaned cattle gut, and usually dried in the sun. The resulting aged meat imparts a unique taste and aroma to whatever it is cooked with.