Tuesday, June 2, 2009
We Finally Have Another Post (and Pizza)!
Time has certainly slipped by since the last Diplolife post. Travel, visitors, and then waiting for that great topic to come up, all prolonged us from writing. Well, today's event definitely warranted one.
I held a pizza workshop for seven Indian cooks employed at the Consulate. Some had made pizzas before, for some it was the first time. These cooks are fantastic at what they do - fish and chips, Shepperd's pie, coq au vin and superb Indian dishes cooked with both hands tied behind their backs. It was the yeast and the pizza dough that made them want to learn more.
We focused on yeast, the right temperatures, forming the pizza dough and the variety of American pizza styles. We did hand-tossed, deep-dish and a fruit pizza. It was interesting watching these cooks who can make chapati in their sleep, switching their technique to be more gentler with the pizza dough.
We discussed typical American ingredients and I learned that fresh basil is available at a particular store in the market. Many of the ingredients for American style pizzas are available, but some are not available in Kolkata (need to get in Delhi, Mumbai, etc) including: anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, instant yeast, squid and pine nuts. Pack them in your consumables, if you want them and get a consumables shipment.
In discussions with others also at posts that qualify for a consumables shipment, the common denominator that is missing from the local economies tend to be certain cured meats, cheeses and Mexican food. There are two companies that people here have ordered hard cheeses through the pouch with success, including The Wisconsin Cheeseman and Hawkeye Dairy, but the recent arrival of Auroville cheeses in Kolkata is my favorite choice (only to other cities in India).
At posts where there is a low to none availability of Western breads, cheeses and specific types of foods, one choice is to start making things from scratch, a topic for a future post. In the meantime, its time to start planning our next workshop, Mexican food!