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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Bhutta - The Story Of Corn

Oh, ‘bhutta’, so favorite of the family there is no way we  are ever out of stock of this most gracious gift of nature, as long as the season lasts, that is till these are prominently displayed in produce section of the supermarkets with placards showing drastically discounted prices. Here in USA the season started from 4th of July, the Independence Day, when it is an essential item of all barbeques, which are customary to have in homes to celebrate the Day. It was a hit at our home. A tip from my wife to a guest admiring the corn on cob grilled by her: “Grill the corn with the husks still on for 20 mins., turning every 5 mins. The husks will keep the roasted and smoky flavor inside. Once the corn is done, pull back the husks and spread on your topping, lemon, red chillies and salt and whatever else.”  

In the context,  the story of corn and the early Americans is well-known. Over 500 years ago, Columbus recorded in his journal that  two of his men reported back from a journey to explore the interior of the continent he had discovered that the men had found the land planted with “a sort of grain they call Maize, which is very well tasted when boiled, roasted, or made into porridge. The corn the colonists stole from Indian caches helped them to stave off hunger and corn became the next best thing they discovered after America. The later history of corn has established beyond doubt that there is no food in America that has a bigger effect on their lives. Some even call it New World’s gold because of the wealth it generates through exports. It is the country’s biggest crop.  The nation produces a record corn crop of of around 14 billion bushels. Only China comes close to the U.S. production of corn, but its production has not kept up with its growing population, and it has been importing US corn. Apart from being the most favorite part of their  normal meal, corn is a major component in many food items like cereals, peanut butter, snack foods and soft drinks and, of course, the ever popular popcorn. They have to get  popcorn every time they go to a movie or to watch a game.  And  also have to bring a bucket back for those left behind at home. It's always good, and so addicting. They  LOVE this popcorn!

But nothing to beat the back home ‘bhutta’, the most favorite street food in rainy season, enjoyed since childhood days till today. Remember the ‘paheli’, so popular amongst children: “Hari thi man bhari thi, lakh moti jadi thi, raja ji ke bagh mein, dushala odhe khari thi - bolo kya?”....... “BHUTTA”!


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