I have another confession. I am not a fan of curry.
Let me try to paint the picture for you.
Spring 1998. A few of us were about to graduate from college/grad school and we spent most of our 4-5 years eating at the cafeteria, the Taco Bell in the student center or the local Mexican place where you could get a combo plate of all kinds of things for $4.75. If we just got paid, we might swing an extra buck for a soda or tea. Well, the one fine weekend, about 20 of us loaded up in cars and drove over an hour to Memphis to try the new Indian Cuisine restaurant. Our fearless leader, Tom was the source of this great idea and nobody questioned his decision. After all, he was the one who found Los Portalas in Jackson, TN and that will always be the best place for Mexican food. So, we all thought Indian was a good idea because Tom said so.
I should have known better when our server asked if we wanted our dishes “sniffling or sniveling” hot. I politely asked for Milder McMilderton and not one flake of heat higher than that. Most people went for the lesser heat “sniffling” and Tom tried the hottest layer. He did manage to graduate a few weeks later and I think his stomach lining was partially intact by then.
As for the rest of us, I promise we sweated curry for next week. I could not get the smell of curry out of my clothes. Or my car (those pine tree things are not worthy). I think I even bought new shampoo to try to get it out of my hair. And unfortunately, whenever I hear curry, THAT is the image that bombards me. That and the long drive back to Memphis with people who got a hold of some bad Indian food. Some were sick. Some were not…yet. I haven’t had a bite of curry since.
But if anybody could get me to try it, several years later, it is Danielle Walker.
I received her cookbook, Against All Grain, from her a few months ago actually. It has taken me some time to tackle the curry recipe. Every time I looked at it, I had mixed feelings. “It looks so good….but its CURRY”.
Finally, it was time to get over myself and try the darn curry.
I was wise enough to NOT tell Stephen about this dish. He was one of the 20 and he has very similar visceral reactions to the thought of that red stuff. I decided this was a good time to show and not tell.
The verdict: It was so good, I bought a bottle of curry from Penzeys. THAT is how sure I am that it will show up in other recipes and especially this one since Stephen ate it up like a starving man with no wishes left. It was flavorful, but not overwhelming. It cooked while I was at school and when I opened the door, the flavor of cooked meat had me drooling.
I should have never hesitated. Ms. Walker has never steered me wrong and I look forward to adding more of her recipes to my regular rotation.