Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Cookie Connection
In my Miami food writings I have met hundreds of people from owners of small cafes with Indonesian and Indian food good enough to make you want to move to Bali or Bombay to homecooks with brillant dishes from Bolivian soup-filled empanadas to Venezuelan corn pancakes folded around cheese, all with various stratifications of stories to accompany the dishes. Last week Gil Katzman, the Israeli-born proprietor of a dessert company he runs with his wife Smadar called Cookie Pursonality (the collection of cookies are packed in Deco-style cardboard "purses") got in touch with me and told me about a book called The Hundred-Foot Journey, written by Richard C. Morais, a classmate of Gil at Zurich high school in Switzerland. I got the book yesterday and finished it tonight. It's about being displaced and having to answer the question, where are you from? In the novel a young Indian boy moves to England, then France discovering his gift for cooking, and after winning his 3rd star for his haute French cuisine, he realizes it is a thousand year journey back to his roots in India when on winning his prestigious star he peers in on a hole-in-the-wall Indian place that has closed but he smells the familiar curry and yearns for home--and a home he is not sure he has after so many years abroad. The lives of the people I write about reflect my own life of living in many countries. My life, Gil and Smadar's, my friend Yonder, my friend Shar, my friend Barry, my friend Shiny--almost everyone I know has had their life intersected by life circumstances for good and bad.To answer where are we from? The World.