Can you believe it’s December already?
Time seems to be flying faster than ever before. People are busier than even last year and many are working longer hours. There is less time to relax and get together with loved ones. I worry about the impacts of our busy lifestyles on our health and relationships.
In my past life in the corporate world, getting people together over food was always a salve for a busy work week. When I worked 15-16 hour days, taking a lunch break to get fresh lemonade and pretzel at the local Amish market was a much needed mental break. I made lifelong friendships over impromptu invitations to simple pasta dinners. Now, as the founder of Veena’s Market, food plays a more central and conscious role in my life. I take pleasure in cooking for others. Nothing makes me happier than having a dinner party where guests arrive early and help me finish cooking. But in our ‘on the go’ society, how many people have the time to regularly cook from scratch? For those that are interested in cooking and learning something new, I sincerely hope I’m making your task a little bit easier with our recipe kits.
Author and social activist Bell Hooks wrote, “In evoking that sense of breaking bread, we call upon the various traditions of sharing that take place in domestic, secular, and sacred life where we come together to give of ourselves to one another fully, to nurture life, to renew our spirits, sustain our hope”. My wish for you this holiday season and in the New Year is to be able to take back some time and get together with loved ones more often. Perhaps over a dinner that you prepare together, drinking a glass of wine while chopping vegetables and catching up on news. Or perhaps over a long and relaxed meal at a restaurant.
Either way, let’s break more bread with our loved ones and renew ourselves in the process. And when you do, bon appétit!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and safe travels!
Category Archives: Newsletter
This post just went out as part of my April Newsletter and I thought I’d share it here as well.
It has been about six weeks since I launched (Veena’s Market) in mid-February. And what an interesting six weeks it has been. Everyone I talk to loves the concept behind Veena’s Market – recipe kits that make it really easy to cook something from another cuisine and get good results. And many are curious about how I came up with the idea.
It was July 2009. With Yadira in the lead, we stopped by the local market to pick up herbs and vegetables and then caughta packed mini bus and held on for dear life till we reached her village a short distance from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city. Once there, we stopped by the butcher’s to pick up fresh chicken before walking up the steep cobblestone pathway to her home – a farmhouse built into the hillside with spectacular views of the village below and volcanoes in the distance. Rows of planted corn, barking dogs and clucking hens completed the pretty picture. Yadira had ambitious plans for us. We learned that the secret to home-made tortillas lay not just in getting the right ratio of masa flour to water but especially in forming the tortilla. You hold the little ball of dough and slap it back and forth from hand to hand to create an even and round tortilla, something that is easier said than done! We learned how to thicken the sauce for Pepian (an orange-red sauce that is usually made with chicken) with rolls of white bread and how to make tamalitos (little tamales) to go with the curry. Finally for dessert, we learned how delicious plantains stuffed with sweet black bean paste can be and how easy it is to make them. Well, it is easy enough when you know to buy plantains that are just the right shade of green – ripe but not too mature.
My husband and I were lucky to arrange this culinary adventure with Yadira, a friend of our Spanish teacher. I loved every minute of this wonderful afternoon and was so grateful for the insights not only into Guatemalan cuisine but also into Guatemalan culture. A couple of months earlier, I was trying to decide between going back into the corporate world or pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor related to food, something I’ve always been passionate about. It was an easy decision to make. I wanted to create Veena’s Market and give people similar insights into other cultures and cuisine as what I received in Guatemala. Helping people connect to other cultures through food; I couldn’t think of a better job description!
I’ve loved reading your emails and comments sent through the website. As we continue on our journey to improve and grow, I hope you will stay in touch and share your thoughts on recipes, cuisines or anything Veena’s Market can improve on.