Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dinner 4: India

Dinner 4:  India

Thursday, May 17, 2012

India Facts (

v     India is about 1/3 the size of the United States, yet it is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of 1,166,079,217. India is the seventh largest country in the world, at 1.27 million square miles.
v     India is the largest democracy in the world.
v     Many Indians find toilet paper repellent and consider it cleaner to splash water with the left hand in the appropriate direction. Consequently, the left hand is considered unclean and is never used for eating.
v     India leads the world with the most murders (32,719), with Russia taking second at 28,904 murders per year.  India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion.
v     More than a million Indians are millionaires, yet most Indians live on less than two dollars a day. An estimated 35% of India’s population lives below the poverty line.
v     India is the birthplace of chess. The original word for “chess” is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning “four members of an army”—which were mostly likely elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers.
v     The Indian flag has three horizontal bands of color: saffron for courage and sacrifice, white for truth and peace, and green for faith, fertility, and chivalry. An emblem of a wheel spinning used to be in the center of the white band, but when India gained independence, a Buddhist dharma chakra, or wheel of life, replaced the spinning wheel.
v     The Bengal tiger is India’s national animal. It was once ubiquitous throughout the country, but now there are fewer than 4,000 wild tigers left.
v     Every major world religion is represented in India. Additionally, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India.  About 80% of Indians are Hindu. Muslims are the largest minority in India and form approximately 13% of the country’s population. In fact, India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, after Indonesia and Pakistan.
v     The national fruit of India is the mango. The national bird is the peacock, which was initially bred for food.
v     The Taj Mahal (“crown palace”) was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). This architectural beauty has been called “marbled embroidery” for its intricate workmanship. It took 22,000 workmen 22 years to complete it.

As the next week had progressed and suddenly it was Thursday once more, I was aware that it was again time to inspire and to be inspired.  Truth be told, I was not feeling inspired…I was feeling sick and exhausted.  It had been an insane 3 days prior…Zander started teething, Kevin’s birthday, all 3 girls came home with lice which brought LOTS of extra work and laundry, it was the last week of school, plus Kirenda’s award ceremony. 

I thought to myself all through the day, “I do not want to cook a special dinner tonight.  I am so tired.  It is too much of a sacrifice to go through all this work after the week we’ve all had.”  After much grumbling in my mind the thought came to me:  “To obey is better than sacrifice…” (2 Samuel 15:22a)  So I pulled myself together as much as possible and got ready to obey what I know that God had spoken to me concerning our special family nights. 

In browsing the internet for India facts for Kevin to read I found a new source…National Geographic Kids  In addition to the kid friendly facts concerning different countries, it also has index size pictures and fact sheets to print off that we can use as part of our dinner conversations and decorations.  This is great because I do not have table settings and/or decorations for every country in the world - not yet at least!

Kirenda and Shiann being home unexpectedly on Tuesday and Wednesday threw my normal planning days for a loop; so on Thursday afternoon I took all 4 kids with me to our local Indian grocery store.  I can tell you that the Indian owner did not look excited when I walked in with 3 kids and a baby carrier.  It was a small store, and we were the only customers inside.  I go down an aisle to pick up some Naan, and by the time I had taken those 15 steps there and back, Shiann and Esabella had managed to get into mischief. They decided it would be a good idea to try to climb on top of the pallets of rice bags that were stacked at the front of the store.  Of course all they accomplished was to bring the rice bags crumpling to the ground.  The owner was not happy with them!  He told them, “Stand!” and then proceeded to give me the evil eye.  It’s funny now but not so much then…the things you go through for Naan and some mango puree!

We get home and I had my Indian recipes, menu and ingredients ready.  I was all set to prepare:
  • Coconut Chicken Curry
  • Lentils with Garlic and Onion (Masoor Dal)
  • Organic Brown Basmati Rice
  • Mango Lassi (recipe below)
  • Spiced Tea (Masala Chai)
Well…you know how the best intentions seem to go on our Thursday nights.  They go awry is how they go.  Kevin was late again due to traffic…why is this only happening on Thursday nights? Zander was hungry and ready to go down for a nap when I was in the middle of cooking. I burnt the basmati rice to a “nice” (as in inedible) crunchy texture. The Coconut Curry was too spicy for the girls to eat although I had put nothing spicy in it. The lentils didn’t end up looking anything like they do at the Indian restaurants I eat at, but – thankfully! - were still good.  AAARRGGGHHH!!! 

By the end of dinner my throat was really hurting, the kitchen was a disaster from cooking so many dishes, and Zander was fussy…I was not feeling Jesus at that time.  We convened in the family room to hear India Facts from Kevin and to watch the Discovery Atlas: India documentary. It was another beautiful documentary, and we learned a lot about the culture of India and about their dominant religion, Hinduism.

With everything being behind schedule we were late starting the DVD so I missed the last half of it putting Zander to bed.  Of course it took 30 minutes to get him to sleep…because everything goes awry on Thursday nights!  It is starting to be comical.  Finally I came back downstairs and Esabella was asleep on the chair.  I gave up for the night, carried Esabella up to bed, and went to sleep myself! Kevin finished watching the documentary with Kirenda and Shiann.  Afterwards they talked about all that they had seen in the movie and then prayed for India. 

The next morning when I woke up I felt like our “India Night” was a complete disaster and failure and in serious need of a “re-do.”  I definitely had no plans to blog about it.  There was nothing exciting to report; nothing exceptional that was learned; no new inspiration had come to us. Then I remembered…Just because you are following after God in obedience doesn’t mean that things are going to go smoothly. In fact, many times just the opposite is going to take place.  Look for the lesson.   

As we have talked the past few days I realized that our India night was not a “disaster or a failure.”  We are still praying for India every night…praying for spiritual breakthrough, for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for laborers to be sent into its fields, praying for its economy, its youth, praying that the strongholds of that country would be destroyed. Our 10, 8, and 5 year old are agreeing with us in prayer for the land of India – this is a success!!!

We are just a normal family, living real life, and trying to follow God.  It can be quite an adventure along the way, but we are excited about the journey.

Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. - Psalm 18:49 (NIV)

Mango Lassi

1.5 cups plain yogurt
1 large can of mango puree
1.5 cups ice-cold water
2 TBSP sugar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy.  If you don’t have a blender, place all ingredients in a tightly covered jar and shake to mix.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
(Cooking the Indian Way, by: Vijay Madavan, Page 36)

Copyright 2012 Jennifer R. Brown.  All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Love the Blog! I'm going to put a link on my Blogs (: