Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bhakta's first khichari

For my new program with my dearest friend Shawn, live up on Roberts' Ridge in Moundsville, WV, I decided to take a great plunge this past Wednesday night and make my first attempt at cooking khichari.

Being a cook is like being a good ol-fashioned, wizard-type magician. You combine certain material elements into a pot, and you use your skill, intelligence, heart, and chutzpah to create a result that spiritually alters the consciousness of those who taste the result.

I knew I was on the right track when the combination of vegetable oil, spices, and chilles frying up (or the chaunce as we call it in Hare Krsna World) emitted the same kind of lung-clearing fumes that I always relish in our temple kitchen.

The main battle came in boiling up the whole shebang. The pot was too big. The burner too small. The burner wasn't even on for ten minutes before I noticed. But....boiling did happen.

The final result was exotically spiced with a nice intensity, but slightly undercooked. Still, it was tasty and edible and not grounds for food poisoning, and from the raging kirtans and spiritual discussions that followed the "poor man's feast fit for a king", it appears Krsna accepted this offering of love and devotion, and indeed, it became prasadam.

Best of all (or worst), our dear Russian cook Gaura Karuna decided to heat up the leftovers today for the devotees here in New Vrindaban as part of the lunch feast. I didn't tell anyone I had cooked the funky mixture, but so far no complaints and no trips to the hospital. Til next time...beware! I will cook again!

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