Early morning perspective
As I’ve already documented on this blog, I take joy in finding daily routines that work for me. Day-to-day consistencies brand our lives, and small pleasures are deeply satisfying because we have no interest in how they’re perceived by others. The only audience to show off your solitary morning coffee or scenic-walk home is yourself. I’m enjoying watching those around me engage in their ritualistic customs: chanting Hindu prayers under their breath before beginning the day’s work, performing early morning yoga and meditation on the beach (a practice done not by the yuppy, but often by the poor or middle class), or buying the day’s vegetables and fruit at the tiny stands that pepper the roads everywhere you turn.
While the food here has been outstanding (I promise to include some recipes here soon) some of my favorite aspects of my culinary life in India border on the unremarkable. Its not so much the food that I find inspiring, but the way food is regarded here. Even though I’m probably eating more here than I do at home (so much is a novelty and Indians force food upon you everywhere you turn) I realized the other that I’ve actually lost a little weight. My roommate noticed she had as well. I think we both realized this while eating dessert.
A lot of this has to do with the zero amount of preservatives we’re consuming, and how well-balanced all the meals are here. But I’d like to think this is partly because of my favorite part of the day: breakfast. In New York, I usually make a point to eat something in the morning, but it’s usually mindlessly consumed while getting ready for the day – a bowl of oatmeal placed next to my laptop, usually becoming cold as I run around finding my hairdryer, printing out last minute items, google-mapping meetings. But here, the first meal of the day, even on shoot days where we’re up by dawn, breakfast is a proper sit-down meal at the dining table. The day always starts with a stunning array of cut up fruit: sweet papaya and pineapple, a bowl of fresh pomegranate seeds, and something citrus, such as sweet limes or grapefruit. Since I’ve been here, I’ve eaten all these fruits each and every morning. With the fruit, there’s always coffee or chai, and something that Jaya, our cook makes: a salty cream of wheat type dish called utma, or perhaps small, round idlis, or sometimes poha, a flat rice dish with mustard seeds and curry leaves, with fresh lime squeezed over it. Breakfast is never rushed; people get up early here and take their time to eat their fill, to refill their coffee cup, to get through all three papers that are delivered at the door. All of a sudden, sleeping in late seems like a terrible waste.
While New York may not have papaya year-round, I’m going to scrutinize my mornings a bit when I return, and make some adjustments. That bowl of oatmeal could be a lot more satisfying if just framed in a different way, eaten while actually sitting down. Smuggling back some chai masala might also do the trick.
Do you have a favorite breakfast routine? I’d love to hear.