Sabjimata Fan Bag: Up-Close and Personal with… ME!


It’s not often that I get fan mail. Sure, I know I’m lovable enough, but most people don’t take time out their busy day to write and tell me that. But the other day I got a very sweet letter from a nice lady in Australia gushing about just how fabulous I am. After I called my mother to make sure she wasn’t sending me emails from a fake account under an assumed name, I reread the letter and wondered to myself how I was able to trick this woman into thinking I am “lovely.” I have to admit, I always wanted to be lovely.  After too much thought about whether or not I actually am lovely, I decided to just go with it. After all, if she thought I was lovely, than maybe, just maybe, I really am lovely. At least slightly lovely.

I realize the appeal of this blog is not just the fact that people are desperately trying to find out all they can about jam, natural sweeteners and homemade croissant making techniques. For many readers (not that there are many readers), this blog has a certain draw based on the “me factor.” I’m in no way saying that there is anything so intrinsically special or interesting about me, but the fact that there is a willingness by me to share a little more of myself than just jam facts and sugar no-no’s makes things a little more interesting for some. Like a calorie dense, guilt free version of a cover of People Magazine.  Minus the famous people and big boobs.

Hidden beneath the photos of my spoonfuls of jam and baking sheets full of cookies is the chance that I just might slip on a banana peel, drop the whole tray and then write all about it–sharing with you my great imperfections and maybe even a photo to go with it. And while this is a “business blog” and decidedly less revealing about myself than my previous blogs had been, which may as well have just been linked via a USB cable to my brain, I decided to go whole heartedly for an all about me interview, conducted by me, with me, using the Aussie woman’s questions. By doing this, we will all get to know me a little better. Myself included.

I have so much interest in how you chose such a pure hard working life, how you can cook so much, give so much of yourself.

Honestly, I am not a very generous person. I give in the ways I feel comfortable giving–and then I try to draw the line.  I need to work on being more generous and also not feeling resentment when I give past my comfort level.

I can see that you love making money, but you didnt marry for money or choose the easiest way to make money etc.

I love to cook. I like making money. If it were the other way around, I would be filling out an application to law school.
How can you live without garlic and onion? Are they that unhealthy?  They would give your meals so much extra kick!!!! 
I really think garlic and onion is gross. I think that food cooked with them smells like one of two things: a stinky armpit or a sweaty sock.  I used to like garlic and onion and am aware that practically every vegetarian cookbook in creation is loaded with recipes packed with garlic and onion, but still, I am happy I got out of the stink race.  I wouldn’t necessarily say that garlic and onion are unhealthy. As I understand it, they both possess medicinal qualities. Yet, they are known to increase passion and ignorance, two things I have more than enough of in my life. 
When I look at recipes in cookbooks that rely so heavily on garlic and onion for their flavor, I feel very satisfied knowing that I can cook delicious, flavorful preparations without the stuff. There are so many wonderful flavors to explore in vegetarian cooking, and in my opinion, the recipes offered in most are overburdened with the stinky stuff.   I do feel that fresh ingredients–including ginger root and just picked curry leaves–add a lot to a dish.  To be honest, I rarely even use green chili since I prepare my food as an offering to Lord Krishna.  Just as Krishna doesn’t care for garlic and onion, as a small boy he also does not care for too hot green chilis!  
How did you become so `mother earth` you seem so young to be so dedicated to cooking so much. 
I was always interested in cooking, although there wasn’t a lot of real cooking going on in my house growing up.  Before joining the Hare Krishnas, I wasn’t very domestic. But when I moved into the Krishna temple, I was given the service of washing pots, chopping vegetables and mopping the kitchen floor.  Moving into cooking was just a natural progression.
But in the temple, at least at the temples I lived at, the worst ingredients were used. Basically, whatever was cheapest was what we cooked with. It was an unfortunate situation:  the temple did not have much money but still, our cooking was an extension of our spiritual yoga practice since we were cooking for the Deities.  We did the best we could with what we had.  
But by the time I moved out of the temple, my health was pretty lousy. My digestion was awful and I just felt like a sick person all of the time.  I started looking into ways to feel better and put my faith in the power of prasadam (food offered to the Deities). However, I started to really meditate on what a fit offering would be.  I began educating myself about the food supply and realized that much of what I was cooking with previously was not really suitable for human consumption.  By choosing better ingredients I feel I made a choice that not only directly effected my physical health, but my spiritual health as well by making the Deity offerings more pleasing.
Do you have other interests and things you love. eg Do you like jewelery or are you totally fulfilled with your hindu life? 
I love my family.  I used to have a great love for saris but I have kind of lost interest.  I like jewelry, specifically Indian gold, but I am not a real fussy person and can’t be bothered changing earrings every day and slipping bangles on and off.  I keep ruining watches because I always need to know what time it is and refuse to ever take it off–despite constant pot washing.  If I was totally fulfilled with my Hindu life I probably wouldn’t be staying up late cooking when I could go to bed early and attend a beautiful daily worship ceremony at 4:30 am at the local temple.  But I am praying one day I will be.

I hope the people that you cater for pay you properly for your time and labour as you are an amazing cook!!!!!
Well, the truth of the matter is–if you haven’t actually tasted my cooking, it is difficult to say whether or not I am, indeed, an amazing cook.  I have cooked a lot of things that tasted terrific but did not photograph well.  And there is a small chance that I have posted some pictures of things that did not taste as well they photographed.  The last batch of croissants, for example, looked ten times better than they tasted.  

I worry about you being so skinny and working too much, not enough sleep etc. Btw, how do you cook so much and not have a weight problem?

Like most media afflicted women, I wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds.  But I realize there are people in this world who would think I am nuts so I try to keep things like that to myself.  I try to go running a few times a week to keep my metabolism up (at 30 it basically stopped) and I try not to eat like a total pig all of the time. I eat my cooking on a regular basis so the flavors are nothing special to me.  Really, I try to save myself for other people’s cooking because that is the most exciting and tasty to me.  I think if I slept more my metabolism would be better.
So there it is. Everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about me.  
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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Sabjimata Fan Bag: Up-Close and Personal with… ME!

  1. Gopal Nandini aka ginger

    I come here exactly for the “me” factor. Because I love Devadeva. The jam is great, but I loved you pre-jam. And you are unique and special and that’s why we all love you so!! And I HAVE eaten your cooking and I CAN say, you are a wonderful cook and for those who don’t know you personally, I think I must tell them that I have eaten feasts at your house cooked for over 50 people at least and these were cooked with a smile, while holding one child on your hip and another in a back-pack on your back and you even looked happy and nice at the end and your kitchen wasn’t a disater!! She’s a pretty amazing woman, folks, don’t let her kid you. I hope I can be like her when I grow up (except, I’m still gonna sleep enough. . . )

  2. Devadeva Mirel

    gopal nandini aka ginger…you love me! you really love me! cooking is so sweet because there is immediate reciprocation from the people you cook for. i think you are being so kind because i saved you from cooking dinner a few nites back in our hillsborough days. that time with the kid on my hip and the kid on my back was a real back breaker. that was the ids program and i actually cooked for more than a 100 people. somehow the kitchen looked good at the end of the nite…no idea how…probably you and some others got in there and scrubbed my pots!!!i miss you so much. i want to eat your ice cream and drink pingala (the cow’s) milk!!!i swear, you are a real self esteem booster. can you print me up some bumper stickers or little note cards with affirmations?

  3. Anonymous

    Nice interview and blog, Devadeva. Very revealing about your personality (in a nice way, of course!). BTW, I was amazed and happy to see the endorsement from the famous Kurma das the other day, re your jams!Ys,Yasoda-dulal das

  4. kmala

    ummm, you’ve lost interest in saris? are you ok? do you have a fever? and you can pass some my way. I haven’t lost interest at all!

  5. Madhava Pandit das

    Ahem, we might mention that your dear husband does a bit of cleaning for you as well.

  6. Devadeva Mirel

    #!) yasoda-dulal…is that yogesh?#2) saris…i still love them…i just don’t stay up all night researching them…thinking about them…starching them…etc.#3) ahem, you have not been forgotten dear husband!

  7. Anonymous

    Yasoda-dulal das = Yogesh, yes!

  8. Devadeva Mirel

    i knew it!!!

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