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Spoonfeedin WOrld

Lifestyle – East or west, Indian ‘dal’ is the best, says UK author

LONDON: After travelling across the globe and tickling taste-buds from all culinary corners of the world, British author Simon Majumdar has come to
the conclusion that there is no better comfort food than the simple Indian ‘dal’.

The half-Welsh, half-Bengali Majumdar calls his favourite food LSD, or Life Saving Dal. He will be demonstrating his family’s ‘dal’ recipe and regaling audiences with tales of his culinary journeys at next week’s Cowbridge Food and Drink festival.

Majumdar travelled across the globe in his quest to ‘go everywhere, eat everything’. It took him to over 30 countries, scouring hotels and eating houses for the best of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines.

Simon’s entertaining accounts of the experience have been turned into a book, ‘Eat My Globe’.

He has returned home to the conclusion that his favourite dish is ‘dal’, a recipe cooked by Gwen John, his late Welsh mother, who went to India with her Bengali doctor husband and learned the best of Bengali cuisine.

“I’ll be cooking LSD, Life Saving Dhal, at the food festival, created and passed down via India, Rotherham and the Rhondda, it’s still the ultimate comfort food for me,” Simon told the media.

Gwen John was working as a nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, Wales, in the 1950s, when she met Pratip Majumdar, a surgeon who had come to Wales to train. The pair fell in love and married, and Gwen later moved to India with Majumdar.

After spending some years in India, the couple returned to the UK and their son Simon was born in Rotherham. It was his mother’s influence that ultimately led to Majumdar’s life-changing decision to travel the world on his mission to “go everywhere and eat everything”.

Simon said: “My mum became a talented cook of Bengali food, which incorporates ingredients like river fish, but fewer spices than other regional Indian cuisine. In the end, the family all grew very close to my mother, and used to explain her Welsh background away as reincarnation”.

A publisher, Simon gave up his job and started on his quest of “go everywhere, eat everything”.

He said: “Looking back, I think I was having a bit of a mid-life crisis. I had already turned 40, and my mourning for mother made me reassess my hedonistic London lifestyle. I found a note I’d written to myself listing all the things I wanted to do before I turned 40, which included ‘go everywhere, eat everything’, so that’s what I decided to do, and I handed in my notice the next day.”


October 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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