This whole nonsmoking thing is doing wonders for my sense of smell. Food tastes richer, I can isolate spices, and it even seems as though I can navigate by my nose.
You should know that I have been obsessively experimenting with spices, and craving chutneys and Indian pickles, and warm curries. This may have something to do with completing, finally, Midnight's Children, in which the hero, Saleem, has magical olfactory powers.
Saturday, Chris and I went to Little India on Gerrard street and loaded down with spices. Green chilies, fresh curry leaves, limes, mango pickle, mint/corriander chutney. So much green. We needed it to ward of winter. It was damned cold. The sub-arctic unfairness of it all resonated particularly outside paan shops, where red betel juice was splattered in instantly-frozen puddles on the sidewalk. So wrong!
We also picked up, cashews for making burfi, a flat, milky, nutty paste that, when spread on a pan becomes dense, sweet, dessert. Chris is a bit fixated on that treat, and created it with aplomb last night.
I made my first-ever mango chutney, using green mangoes. They are very tart, and hit the back of the mouth and the nose with musky-sour kick. There is this one spice that comes from green mango called Amchoor, a powder prevalent in chaat, a north Indian snack food. My chutney had a kick reminisent of chaat massala.
Today there is a massive snowstorm. I ran to catch the streetcar and tears and snot poured down my face in the wind. I found a pole to grab with I wiped my nose with a napkin (not my mitten, thank you) and everywhere was the sad smell of winter: damp wool, salt-stained leather, cough candies, and wet pennies.