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Indian Food Blogger Profile
Anjuli Ayer
By. B. Shrestha [October 2009]

Anjuli Ayer is freelance writer currently based in New York and blogs at “A Smart Mouth”. Her father is an Indian and her mother comes from a mixed Northern European background. Both of them are excellent cooks. Growing up, her home was always filled with different smells, and they relished the opportunity to mix different cuisines into a single meal. She is working on a cookbook in collaboration with her mother that will focus on a blend of their roots and travels - South Indian cuisine, American, Italian, South American, Mediterranean, and some Japanese dishes. Book’s focus is to help introduce cooks to basic preparations of foods, how to stock a pantry, seek out local ingredients, and develop deeply nourishing home cooked meals. They use the wealth of traditional cooking techniques from different cultures to add variety and spice to a healthful everyday diet. 

Anjuli also practices yoga, believes that she reads more than she should. She also loves exploring near and far, and enjoys languages and new cultures. She love the outdoors and has recently become deeply interested about learning old cooking practices dating back to the Native Americans. Soon she will be venturing out into the woods to collect some acorns from a White Oak.


A Smart Mouth
Question & Answers

[Food-india] What's your cooking philosophy?
[Anjuli]  try always to pay attention to the world around me and cook food that is good for myself, the planet, and the community. I don't ascribe to any known food philosophy, but instead have developed a blend of my own, as is true of my cooking style. I eat what suits the local environment - both what's locally available and what kind of diet makes sense for a particular climate. I seek out people who grow and raise food with the best intentions and from healthy soil. But mostly I want to cook, and I try to keep things to a practical and reasonable level to allow me to do so.

I love sharing food, ideas, and my kitchen. I don't follow recipes, but do an extensive amount of research when learning new techniques, which is always. I try to bring a no fear attitude and lots of creativity to my cooking. I use quality ingredients unabashedly. You won't find any low-fat or low-carb recipes in my kitchen, but what you will find are recipes that use traditional techniques that have been perfected through centuries and modernized for our daily use today. I have studied nutrition and medicine, from Ayurvedic principles to Chinese Medicine to contemporary Western practices.


What I have found is that satisfaction from a meal comes from a balanced diet and a full engagement of our senses.  

[Food-india] How did you get started blogging about Indian food? 
[Anjuli] Indian food and culture are unlike any color in the world - so full of life, flavor, and fun, but also with a sense of purpose and goodness. I think Ghee (recipe here) is an incredible food and I saw that there were few recipes online describing the process in detail. Home cooking traditions are tricky because many times they need to be taught, and have been taught orally. So how do you translate that to a page or blog? The response on my recipe from ghee was overwhelming, so I just kept going.

[Food-india] What do you hope people get out of your blog posts? 
[Anjuli] Detailed and practical descriptions of incredibly flavorful and nourishing food. From my recipes I hope for people to find a little history, maybe learn a new techniques, and the opportunity to cook good, every day food to share with others. For those who want to branch from Indian cooking, you can find a kindred spirit in using a lot of flavor translated to other cuisines.

[Food-india] How did you learn to cook Indian?
[Anjuli] I cherish the Indian recipes that have been passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. I cherish the opportunities to cook with my Indian relatives and to keep family cooking traditions alive. Indian cookbooks are not hard to find but good, home cooked South Indian meals are a rarity. I kept asking questions and searching for family recipes and trading secrets and everything just blossomed from there.

[Food-india] Who are some of your favorite food blogs and websites?
[Anjuli] To be honest, I don't play favorites. I appreciate a good blog with some history, honest, good recipes, and detailed descriptions. 

[Food-india] What is your favorite Indian meal?
[Anjuli] I love cooking chole the way my dad used to make it. It's simple, incredibly satisfying with some acid, a little sweetness, and a little spice. Kichidi (link), while not from my dad's home, is something he learned to survive on while in college, and I still make it today. It's an amazing recipe both for being a complete vegetarian meal but also because you can take advantage of seasonal vegetables to make the flavor new every time! Friends generally enjoy the South Indian fish curry (link)

[Food-india] What are other types foods you like?
[Anjuli] I have not come across a cuisine I didn't like and if I did, I tried to find someone who could cook it better. I have enjoyed home cooking from all over the world. When I go out to eat, I especially enjoy Japanese, real Mexican cuisine, Ethiopian, Greek, Italian, and Chinese. I hope to master these cuisines one day, with good tutelage.

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