Thursday, October 02, 2003

of indian food and canadian magazines

Busy weekend, the last one...

Spent Friday night and most of Saturday cooking up a storm. The kitchen smelled heavenly from all the spices needed for the Indian feast. It was the first test of the cookbook series I've bought on the last few trips to Borders. They passed with flying colours, judging from the reactions of friends and the yummy, if scant, leftovers. The sole flop did not come from this series, a rosewater pudding devoid of taste that met its fate in the bathroom sink Saturday afternoon.

The first dish out of the gate was a mixed success. Made some paneer, but when I tried to mix it in a mushroom curry, it fell apart (guess I needed to put a weight on it). Wasn't a loss - it added a nice flavour. The paneer itself had a taste and texture closer to ricotta than paneer I've eaten. Bet it would make a great lasagne.

Everything else was easy and tasty. Tandoori chicken, dhal, channa (though this was made with a pre-bought spice mix), raita, chutneys...all good. Was worried about the butter chicken, since I accidentally threw in an unmarked brown spice instead of garam masala, but it went over well. Put it this way - Dee asked for some of the recipes and Chris said it was better than the Indian food he had in London.

After eating, everyone buried their heads in CDs or books, ranging from 1960s X-Men to Johnny Cash. Good way to let stomachs recover from all the food they downed. Laughed or plugged ears at oddball music. Lots of laughter.

Everyone cleared out around midnight, after gathering around the computer to watch a Japanese TV pilot several folks talked about the week before, Toyko Breakfast. At times it was like one of those Saturday Night Live skits where one joke is pounded into the ground, though it took some potshots at stereotypes. The basic plot was a Japanese middle class family who try to act like homeboys, with gratuitous use of "niggah". You can check it out here.

Crawled out of bed around 1:30 on Sunday (I may have been alert earlier, talking to the family on the phone, but I had not left the comfort of bed). After downing some excellent leftovers (the tandoori chicken and dal got better with age), I managed to haul myself down to Word on the Street.

I made the Canadian magazine industry happy.

For the uninitiated, Queen St is shut down between Spadina and University one Sunday in September for publishers, writers and associations to set up booths and display their wares. The scene resembles a crowded subway car at rush hour, in a race to see how many people can be shoehorned in. One usually walks away with a stack of flyers, freebies or books they couldn't resist.

This year, it was cheap magazine subscriptions that drew me in. It started with Toronto Life, which I was going to sign up for soon. Next was Applied Arts, a few issues of which have been handy for reference at work. Along came This, which my father had bought regularly. Last money drop at the Broken Pencil table, since it's interesting to read about all the zines out there.

Let's compare my current subscription list to all the publications my father, who was notorious for picking up subscriptions, had coming into the house:

Jamie's Subscriptions
Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, New Yorker, Harpers, Toronto Life, This, Applied Arts, Broken Pencil

Jamie's Newsstand Pickups (regular and occasional)
Blender, Budget Travel

Dad's Subscription s(note: these may not have been concurrent, but it's a typical slate)
Toronto Star, New Yorker, Windsor Star, Harpers, Toronto Life, Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, Macleans, The Beaver, Rolling Stone, Ontario Historical Review, Rolling Stone, Canadian Forum, Sports Illustrated

Dad's Newsstand Pickups (regular and occasional)
Globe and Mail, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, New York Times (Sunday only), TLS, New York Review of Books

He made frequent forays into other subscriptions if they were cheap, a year of a mystery mag here, a year of This there, even a brief subscription to Playboy in the mid-80s. He picked up some of these publications for decades - I remember leafing through his files and regularly finding clippings from mid-60s New Yorkers, or from long-defunct papers like the Toronto Telegram or the New York Herald-Tribune. Those files are worth a future misty-eyed log.

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