I have a habit of writing in cookbooks. My mom has a friend who will straight up cross out a recipe if she thinks it’s no good. I don’t go quite that far, but I will put a discreet “x” near the title. I write myself all kinds of notes on what was good and what wasn’t. I don’t think I’ve done this for any of the recipes I’ve made for this blog. I guess the blog is one giant collection of my notes on recipes. Anyway, I almost always include a date on the note. Not sure why. Will I look back and say “Oh, I thought it needed more salt? Well, that was in 2009. Everyone was salt-crazy in 2009!” Not likely. I suspect I do this because it’s fun to look back on what I was cooking and think about what things were like and how they have changed.
This recipe has one of those notes. It’s dated 1/7/13. First of all, I made this recipe again on 1/7/14. That alone is pretty eerie. I wrote “can sub 1T cumin &1T chili powder for the spices. Serve w/ sour cream or yogurt.” I like what I did there. I took an Indian dish and made it kind of vaguely Tex Mexy. I remember it being really good. What really makes me smile is knowing the context of that quote. I had a barely two month old son in the house. I was lucky to be cooking at all. I’m sure I went to make this, couldn’t find curry powder, and decided in my sleep deprived state to just add spices that tasted yummy. The woman who wrote that note probably wasn’t showered. She was facing the rapidly approaching end of her maternity leave. She just lost a friend to cancer days before. Her hair was falling out. Yet, with all that, she cooked for her family. She didn’t just cook, she cooked creatively. She made it work even without the obviously key ingredient (It’s called “chickpea CURRY”). I’m proud of that woman.
I’m also proud that I’ve learned some personal strategies to keep getting dinner on the table. Often with the correct ingredients! This recipe does hold up with the correct ingredients. I’ve got a chana masala recipe from veg web that I like better than this recipe. I think it’s richer in tomato flavor. But this one is nice, especially with that cinnamon stick. The recipe is really a blank slate. It’s chickpeas and aromatics. Why not a Greek version with oregano?
On behalf of G circa 1/7/13 and G circa 1/7/14, I hope you have fun making this recipe your own.