Chandra came to the Estate several springs back with the intent of being here for a single growing season. I hired her because she had a deft hand with transplanting seedlings, something harder than it looks to do properly, and relished the long hours we work for weeks on end. Her musical abilities were an unlooked-for bonus, one we discovered after she began her tenure as an under gardener. She was the only staff member living in her particular yurt, which meant Chandra was free to play ragas on sitar, a long-necked fretted string instrument with a gourd resonator. And we often heard pop music from her Punjabi homeland that she’d brought with her, something that brought a smile to many a passerby.
I had decided within a few months to offer her a permanent position if she wanted it. She accepted with delight and noted that she was looking forward to learning to ski, not a common practice in her country.
Which leads me back to that oh-so-tasty meal. We favour Raj-inspired cuisine here, in part because we have so many vegetarians. This meal, curated by Chandra, was far beyond most in its wonderfulness. Ingrid, the Estate Buyer, tracked down rice, spices and even the clarified butter called ghee from the Punjab during a tea-buying trip and had it shipped here. (I’m sure Customs must have looked the other way on some of the items.) Bjorn even brewed a Punjabi-style Black Ale for the occasion, a feat which was well received by all.
Some of us even knew how to eat in culturally appropriate fashion using naan to scoop up tasty morsels of our meal. Ingrid and her husband, Reynard, had spent enough time in the Punjab on tea-buying trips to really appreciate the meal. It was nothing like the British interpretation of Indian food which is hot and even hotter. Here were dishes spiced with a deft hand, so that the spices complemented the other ingredients instead of overwhelming them.
We finished this repast with cardamom flavored ice cream. All in all a most excellent Eventide meal!