Monthly Archives: June 2008

Can You Say "Diversity?"

A really nice perk about my spiritual community is we never have to think twice about the “D-word” when raising our kids. Diversity is a given as Hare Krishnas can be found all over the world doing all sorts of things (hopefully good things!). Recently we attended a festival at the Hare Krishna farm a mile from our house. In attendence were people from Ghana, Nigeria, India, Belize, Guyana, South Africa, Croatia, Australia, China and such exotic locales as West Virginia, Massachusetts, DC and New Jersey. Oh! And don’t forget Canada.

Another nice perk about my spiritual community is that Hare Krishnas like to eat! Upon taking spiritual initiation from a guru, the disciple vows to live a godly life by refraining from meat eating, sex outside of marriage and intoxicants such as drugs and alcohol. I know that is hard for some people to believe since they may think of Hare Krishnas as a bunch of pychadelic freaks, but really,we don’t do that stuff. The freakiest thing may be that the super strict Hare Krishnas even vow to not eat chocolate because of its intoxicating effect. Maybe they should only vow to abstain from really good, expensive chocolate. The vow I took was to not buy crappy Hershey’s. If it doesn’t cost at least 2 bucks a bar, I’ll pass.

Anyway, cooking and eating are a big part of Hare Krishna culture. We cook for God first, ourselves second. (Don’t ask me who that bar of Green & Black’s for.) There is a lot of meditation and ritualistic stuff which goes into cooking pure vegetarian food. But also, as you may have noticed from the list of “do nots” associated with getting initiated into the cult (and I use that word in a purely tongue in cheeky isn’t it fun to be part of a religious movement that’s suffered a bad reputation kind of way), there aren’t a lot of sensual things we Hare Krishnas allow ourselves to take pleasure in. Eating palatable things often takes the place of enjoying in other arenas of life’s pleasure palaces.

What would a festival be without a feast? While most Hare Krishna feasts are Indian smorgasboards of rice, dal, puris, sabji and kheer, this feast was an unusual homage to the tastes of the Western bred tongue. Greens with tofu, pizza, french fries, gluten kabobs and cheesecake were among the temptations too divine to resist. Thankfully for my spiritual life, eating can be considered a form of yoga (things you never knew!) when the proper consciousness is present in the cooking and eating processes. Unfortunately for my tummy, I am not used to eating such an assortment of rich things in one sitting. Alright, I pigged out…but so did everyone else! Anyway, I ended up with a big tummy ache (that sounds better than what I really got).

As you can see from these festival pictures, it definitely had a distinctive flavor not found at most Hare Krishna events. Djembe drums and African dance may seem out of place in central Pennsylvania, but anyone familiar with Gita Nagari Farm or Bhakti Tirtha Swami, whom the festival was held in memory of, would know that you can’t have Yasoda Mayi’s all you can eat curried kabobs without first working up an appetite chanting and dancing.

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Can You Say "Diversity?"

A really nice perk about my spiritual community is we never have to think twice about the “D-word” when raising our kids. Diversity is a given as Hare Krishnas can be found all over the world doing all sorts of things (hopefully good things!). Recently we attended a festival at the Hare Krishna farm a mile from our house. In attendence were people from Ghana, Nigeria, India, Belize, Guyana, South Africa, Croatia, Australia, China and such exotic locales as West Virginia, Massachusetts, DC and New Jersey. Oh! And don’t forget Canada.

Another nice perk about my spiritual community is that Hare Krishnas like to eat! Upon taking spiritual initiation from a guru, the disciple vows to live a godly life by refraining from meat eating, sex outside of marriage and intoxicants such as drugs and alcohol. I know that is hard for some people to believe since they may think of Hare Krishnas as a bunch of pychadelic freaks, but really,we don’t do that stuff. The freakiest thing may be that the super strict Hare Krishnas even vow to not eat chocolate because of its intoxicating effect. Maybe they should only vow to abstain from really good, expensive chocolate. The vow I took was to not buy crappy Hershey’s. If it doesn’t cost at least 2 bucks a bar, I’ll pass.

Anyway, cooking and eating are a big part of Hare Krishna culture. We cook for God first, ourselves second. (Don’t ask me who that bar of Green & Black’s for.) There is a lot of meditation and ritualistic stuff which goes into cooking pure vegetarian food. But also, as you may have noticed from the list of “do nots” associated with getting initiated into the cult (and I use that word in a purely tongue in cheeky isn’t it fun to be part of a religious movement that’s suffered a bad reputation kind of way), there aren’t a lot of sensual things we Hare Krishnas allow ourselves to take pleasure in. Eating palatable things often takes the place of enjoying in other arenas of life’s pleasure palaces.

What would a festival be without a feast? While most Hare Krishna feasts are Indian smorgasboards of rice, dal, puris, sabji and kheer, this feast was an unusual homage to the tastes of the Western bred tongue. Greens with tofu, pizza, french fries, gluten kabobs and cheesecake were among the temptations too divine to resist. Thankfully for my spiritual life, eating can be considered a form of yoga (things you never knew!) when the proper consciousness is present in the cooking and eating processes. Unfortunately for my tummy, I am not used to eating such an assortment of rich things in one sitting. Alright, I pigged out…but so did everyone else! Anyway, I ended up with a big tummy ache (that sounds better than what I really got).

As you can see from these festival pictures, it definitely had a distinctive flavor not found at most Hare Krishna events. Djembe drums and African dance may seem out of place in central Pennsylvania, but anyone familiar with Gita Nagari Farm or Bhakti Tirtha Swami, whom the festival was held in memory of, would know that you can’t have Yasoda Mayi’s all you can eat curried kabobs without first working up an appetite chanting and dancing.

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Slammin’ Kudos


My very discerning friend, Lynn Eva Barber (Lavanga), recently ordered a jar of Strawberry Conserve. As with each order I ship out, I hold my breath and cross my fingers, hoping that the customer will not only appreciate the taste of my products but also appreciate the overall concept of human made food: the time, the effort and the ingredients which go into every jar.

So when Lynn sent me the following email, I finally was able to exhale knowing that my jam passed the test of her tastebuds. Here is a copy of her words of praise, along with her delicious looking crepes displayed on melamine servingware. See? Sabjimata jam fits in with the modern lifestyle aesthetic.

I am also relieved that my packaging can withstand the abuse of the US Postal Service, who obviously doesn’t give a damn about broken glass and jam not mixing well together.

Your jam arrived safely on Saturday despite the fact that the mail carrier threw (yes, threw it–KP saw her) onto the porch! Hello!?! It was marked fragile!

Anywho! The conserve is slammin’. It’s sweet, but has a nice tart finishing note. It would be perfect on cheesecake. Too lazy to make cheesecake though, I did fill some crepes with it on Sunday and it was excellent. Tasted like I had just made it for the crepes. Very fresh. Kudos! Nitai Gauramani enjoyed themselves. I took a pic of the offering for you. 🙂

xo,
Lynn

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Slammin’ Kudos


My very discerning friend, Lynn Eva Barber (Lavanga), recently ordered a jar of Strawberry Conserve. As with each order I ship out, I hold my breath and cross my fingers, hoping that the customer will not only appreciate the taste of my products but also appreciate the overall concept of human made food: the time, the effort and the ingredients which go into every jar.

So when Lynn sent me the following email, I finally was able to exhale knowing that my jam passed the test of her tastebuds. Here is a copy of her words of praise, along with her delicious looking crepes displayed on melamine servingware. See? Sabjimata jam fits in with the modern lifestyle aesthetic.

I am also relieved that my packaging can withstand the abuse of the US Postal Service, who obviously doesn’t give a damn about broken glass and jam not mixing well together.

Your jam arrived safely on Saturday despite the fact that the mail carrier threw (yes, threw it–KP saw her) onto the porch! Hello!?! It was marked fragile!

Anywho! The conserve is slammin’. It’s sweet, but has a nice tart finishing note. It would be perfect on cheesecake. Too lazy to make cheesecake though, I did fill some crepes with it on Sunday and it was excellent. Tasted like I had just made it for the crepes. Very fresh. Kudos! Nitai Gauramani enjoyed themselves. I took a pic of the offering for you. 🙂

xo,
Lynn

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Because I Love My Friends…And Apparently I Do Take Requests…

If you’ve seen one jar of red colored jam you’ve seen them all. Or so you thought.  *Sabjimata Strawberry Jam*

Strawberry Conserve has been well received by the jam eating public, however, my friend Kishori wanted to know if I was going to be doing a regular, good old strawberry jam. You know, the kind with lots of sugar.

Well, I wasn’t planning on it. But after stumbling upon the absolute very last of the local strawberries, I decided to give it a go. After all, I don’t mind playing to a crowd and between Kishori, her husband, five year old son and triplets, I’ve got a ready made clientele.

Countryside Market, in Mifflintown, is an excellent source of local, seasonal produce. I went there today to pick up some cherries but when I heard they still had strawberries, I bought them out. It being the very end of strawberry season, buying them out meant getting the last 3 gallons. Not much but not a problem. That is enough fruit to make about 3 cases of jam.

The differences between the Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Conserve are twofold. First off, the sugar content of the jam is higher than the conserve, although fruit still tops the list of ingredients (thus disqualifying it from being a true jam). The second difference is that the strawberries are blended in the conserve and sliced in the jam.

 “The Birth of Venus” as jam.

Just see how much fruit goes into one single jar!

Both taste, of course, really good! Okay, Kishori, I’m waiting for your order…

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Because I Love My Friends…And Apparently I Do Take Requests…

If you’ve seen one jar of red colored jam you’ve seen them all. Or so you thought.  *Sabjimata Strawberry Jam*

Strawberry Conserve has been well received by the jam eating public, however, my friend Kishori wanted to know if I was going to be doing a regular, good old strawberry jam. You know, the kind with lots of sugar.

Well, I wasn’t planning on it. But after stumbling upon the absolute very last of the local strawberries, I decided to give it a go. After all, I don’t mind playing to a crowd and between Kishori, her husband, five year old son and triplets, I’ve got a ready made clientele.

Countryside Market, in Mifflintown, is an excellent source of local, seasonal produce. I went there today to pick up some cherries but when I heard they still had strawberries, I bought them out. It being the very end of strawberry season, buying them out meant getting the last 3 gallons. Not much but not a problem. That is enough fruit to make about 3 cases of jam.

The differences between the Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Conserve are twofold. First off, the sugar content of the jam is higher than the conserve, although fruit still tops the list of ingredients (thus disqualifying it from being a true jam). The second difference is that the strawberries are blended in the conserve and sliced in the jam.

 “The Birth of Venus” as jam.

Just see how much fruit goes into one single jar!

Both taste, of course, really good! Okay, Kishori, I’m waiting for your order…

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Buckwheat Muffins


Here is a recipe for buckwheat muffins. Since I had no bananas in the house, I used a jar of Sabjimata Strawberry Conserve. Also, I had to make the recipe in a cake pan because I packed all my muffin tins weeks ago. The recipe is very flexible and doesn’t seem to mind substitutions. Not enough yogurt? Just use milk or even water. Out of butter? Go for the oil. Fruit butters and apple sauce make a great substitution for the bananas. And it never hurts to fortify your muffins by adding a touch of molasses.

So here’s the basic recipe. Go crazy with it.

2 cups buckwheat flour
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups yogurt or buttermilk
cinnamon

Mix it all up (food processor works well) and put in muffin tins. You could sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of the muffins before putting in the oven, if you so desire. I don’t do this because then my kids only eat the muffin tops and I am stuck with a pile of topless muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Voila! Gluten free, grain free muffins. Yum yum!

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