Friday, March 6, 2009

Atlanta, Georgia: 25.5.1994: Rice Connections, Family Connections

A good day, a pleasant one. We researched again today, all day, at the Georgia Archives, and I found a lot of treasures, family documents . . . .

After working all day, we went to an Indian restaurant on Peachtree—Raja something or other. We had a vegetable plate of appetizers, papadums, lamb, banana, and coconut curry, a biryani of chicken, rice and peanuts (! yes, not almonds), paratha, and beer. Scrumptious. The biryani makes me think of all the cuisines that flavor rice with some sauce, and serve it with bits of meat and lots of vegetables. One gets a flavorful, filling, and balanced meal that way, and it’s not expensive. E.g., arroz con pollo, which is cooked by a technique similar to that of biryani, and pilaf, which must be the Persian antecedent of biryani, and which becomes purloo in the South, where the Indian dish marries with the Spanish and becomes Spanish rice.

(Not so strange, really, if one thinks of the Arabian roots of Spanish rice cuisine.) But the tomato’s, of course, New World. And surely jambalaya is a south Louisiana version of arroz con pollo or paella (and what’s the connection between those two?)—despite all those fanciful south Louisiana legends of Indian (i.e., native American) origin. And then all the Chinese rice dishes like fried rice, congee, the hot pot, etc.

No comments: