Four Pounds Flour Snapshots

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Better than Blue Apron: Punjabi Mamma Home Delivery


I answered the phone. He was not speaking English.

"Wait! Are you here for the delivery?”


“Are you out front?”


“Great. I’ll be out in a moment.”

I stepped outside and walked up to the window of an idling SUV.

“Are you here for the delivery?” I asked the driver, 20 dollars bills clutched in my hand. He looked at me like I was out of my mind.  

Only then did I realize how shady this all was.

Turns out my driver was lost, but a few minutes later a minivan rolled up and a Sikh man stepped out. I handed him my cash, he handed me a weighty, brown paper  bag.

I was experimenting with underground Indian food.  For $115 (although I gave them $120) I got 6 vegetarian Punjabi entrees and 20 rotis, a whole-wheat flatbread. The delivery was curtesy Mrs. Sohal’s Superfine Catering and Tiffin Services; Harpreet, the Mr. Sohal, delivered my food.

The menu changes week to week and is provided by email. Here’s what I got:

Aloo gobi. An Indian-take out staple of potatoes and cauliflower.

Gheea masala. I actually do not know what this is, even after eating it. It’s spicy and there are big chunks of some kind of vegetable.

Gazer mater. Or Gajar matar, sauteed carrots and peas.

Moong tadka dal. Lentils in a yellow sauce.

Palak paneer. Another common take-out dish, but known better as Saag paneer. Spinach and cheese.

Rajma masala. Kidney beans in a red sauce.

20 roties, a little cup of chutney, and a cup of candied fennel.


I was promised 16oz of each entree. What I got was 1.5-2lbs of each entree, the plastic take-out containers stuffed so full the lids would barely close. I sampled three dishes right away: the dal—a great staple, redolent of cilantro; the Gheea masala, spicy-hot enough to send me running for a glass of milk (but I liked it); and my favorite, the palak paneer, spinach densely packed around huge chunks of paneer cheese, with a nice firm texture like I’ve never had at an Indian restaurant.

Deliveries are between 6-6:30am Monday morning, and it’s enough food to keep me going for a week, if I supplement it with some home made rice (and don’t share with my husband). I found out about the service through a New York Times article that you can read here. $20 a day is expensive eating for me—I usually spend $5-$10 a day on groceries—but this is the kind of week when it’s a relief to pay someone else to cook.


Definitely better than take-out, and for the same price of Blue Apron, I’ve got a fridge full of home-cooked meals.

How to Legally Immigrate to the United States (But it May Take You 20 Years)

This is the monthly Visa Bulletin, released by the Department of State. This chart details people who have applied for an American visa because they have a family member already a permanent resident or citizen of the States. In these four countries, the number of applicants exceeds the number of available visas. So each year, the old applications carry over.

So we’re a little behind. The dates listed in each column show the year that visas were submitted that we’re currently processing. If you are a family member from Mexico, we are currently processing visas from the 1990s.

Click here to read the full bulletin, as well as an explanation of all the “Family Sponsored” categories.

Masters of Social Gastronomy: The Mysteries of ICE CREAM

Masters of Social Gastronomy: The Mysteries of ICE CREAM

We couldn’t wait for summer, so we’re bringing summer to us!

Tuesday, April 29
Doors at 7:30pm, talks start at 8pm
Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street in Gowanus

Every month, our MSG lectures take on the history and science behind some of your favorite foods. Up this month: ICE CREAM.

Hear the tale of vanilla ice cream, a commonplace flavor with a rare and exotic past. We’ll…

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At long last, my labor of love is finished!

California Oranges, New York Apples


I bought this box of oranges last October, when I was driving around farm country just north of Los Angeles. I made a crazy u-turn to pull into a roadside farm stand on a whim; it was selling oranges right in front on the field where they were grown.

Tables were stacked with cardboard boxes, filled with oranges sorted by size and quality, with a price corresponding to each. I stopped a clerk, and pointed to one of the boxes, asked if oranges could be priced by the pound. I was only in California for the week, and I was flying home, so a crate of oranges wasn’t practical for me.

The clerk looked at me and blinked. “The box is $3.” she said bluntly.

“Alright then!” I replied. “I guess I’ll be taking a box!”

The crate of oranges lived in the trunk of my rental car for the rest of my trip; armfuls of oranges were distributed to friends I met up with on my travels. These perfect oranges were a novelty to me, electrifying my taste buds as I slurped them down, covering myself in their sweet sticky juices. I proudly presented them to my California friends as though they were some rare treasure; they blinked and took them with a shrug.

I felt justified in a San Francisco green market, when a chatty farmer commented that her father would take business trips to New York every fall. He’d stuff his suitcase full of apples to haul home and share with his family.

So there!

The History Dish: Maple Syrup Brittle

The History Dish: Maple Syrup Brittle

A glass-like maple brittle.

The warming weather means the end of maple sugaring season. It’s not a sad thing, it just means it’s time to enjoy the spoils!

I’m experimenting with a recipe for Maple Sugar Brittle for an upcoming family event at the New-York Historical Society. Now through August 2014 they have an exhibit up called Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War. The…

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Ice cream sandwiches being born.

Ice cream sandwiches being born.


A.N. Devers's entertaining account of bidding on one of Edward Gorey’s famous fur coats, which make stealth cameos in many of Gorey’s children’s books.


A.N. Devers's entertaining account of bidding on one of Edward Gorey’s famous fur coats, which make stealth cameos in many of Gorey’s children’s books.

Irwindale Council declares Sriracha smell a public nuisance

I want to take a moment and point out the Irwindale City Council’s history of corruption:

And many more here.

Updated: A few more for your reading pleasure.

LA Times article that interviews former council members at the old factory site in Rosemead, where it operated without a problem for twenty years. 

A letter from CEO David Tran.

1 week ago - 7
"Formidable Mother Crushes Daughter’s Doubts Underfoot"
My mom sent this drawing to me today when I was have a fit of self- doubt. Who knew she was such a great artist?

"Formidable Mother Crushes Daughter’s Doubts Underfoot"

My mom sent this drawing to me today when I was have a fit of self- doubt. Who knew she was such a great artist?