Tag Archives: Smithsonian

Fried Green Tomatoes – A dish of disputed origin that leaves you licking your fingers

By Lakshmi:

Fried Green Tomatoes – What images do those words conjure up? The namesake 1991 film set in Alabama?  The southern dish by the same name that leaves you drooling?  To me, it brings up memories of an amazing lunch at Friedmans in Chelsea Market in New York City.  Aaah – the perfect firm tomatoes, covered with seasoned panko, deep-fried and served with the perfect buttermilk sauce.  Each of us at that meal sat transfixed, a tad bit disappointed that we inhaled the plate so quickly!

And today after many months, I recreated this dish in my kitchen.  Take a look at the picture and let me know what you think. From a taste standpoint, the multiple testers in my household gave it a giant thumbs up!

While I had many recipes clipped out since that meal in New York City, I decided to wing this creation.  Here’s my easy how-to!

  • Sliced up some beautiful green tomatoes from the farmer’s market into thick slices and sprinkled them liberally with salt and pepper
  • Dredged the tomatoes in some flour seasoned with chilli pepper,
  • Dipped the flour covered tomatoes in two eggs whisked with a tablespoon of milk
  • Tossed the egg coated tomatoes into panko crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Deep fried the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes and drained them on paper towels.

Now, this beautiful creation needed an accompanying sauce.  And here’s what I did.

  • Mixed two tbsps non fat sour cream with a half a cup of buttermilk
  • Squirted in some Sriracha sauce into this mix along with some salt and pepper
  • Blended the mix well and served it!

And finally for a piece of trivia.  Most people believe that Fried Green Tomatoes are the quintessential southern dish.  But according to the Smithsonian magazine, the origins of this yummy dish can be traced back to Jewish and Midwestern cookbooks!!

If you have a love affair or a story with Fried Green Tomatoes, please do share!

The Mall In Washington DC – Beautiful Even On A Cold Wintry Day

These pictures were taken earlier this week on a cold, wintry day on the Mall.  As former residents of the area, we continue to fall in love every time we visit.  Can you see why?

The majestic Washington Monument
The majestic Washington Monument

The Washington Monument against darkening clouds
The Washington Monument against darkening clouds

The Capitol
The Capitol

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The beautiful Smithsonian building

Another Gallery on the Mall
S. Dillon Ripley Center

The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Building
The Smithsonian Building – Up Close

A few exhibits from the Air and Space Museum
A few exhibits from the Air and Space Museum

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Another impressive display

The impressive elephant in the Rotunda of the Natural History Museum
The impressive elephant in the Rotunda of the Natural History Museum

The Great Pyramids of Giza – Simply Memorable

The Sphinx sitting against the backdrop of a pyramid.

By Lakshmi:

Here are the top 3 reasons why we had to see the Great Pyramids of Giza.

– It is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

– We had to make our academic learnings on one of the world’s oldest civilizations come to life.

– (Ok….don’t laugh on this one) A recent Hindi movie had an incredibly romantic song filmed against the backdrop of the pyramids

So, how did we do this?  We dedicated a day to covering the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Since we wanted to take our time and also delve into  the history deeper, we arranged with our hotel for a car with a driver and an Egyptologist to take us there.  The one big benefit of this arrangement was the ability to bypass the long lines and ensure that we got tickets to go inside the pyramids as well.

Set against the backdrop of a desert 30 minutes from Cairo, the pyramids feel almost unreal and mythical.  As you set eyes on them for the first time, you go through a mixture of emotions.  You are awestruck, humbled, amazed and simply feel blessed for the privilege of standing in front of them.  And as you turn and watch Cairo city encroaching closer to the pyramids, you think back in time when Giza was simply a world away from civilization.  A place where the great rulers decided to build their final resting spots.

2.3 million limestone blocks were cut and assembled to build the Great Pyramid which is the resting place for  the fourth dynasty pharaoh Khufu.  We were fortunate to be able to enter the pyramid.  As expected, the pyramids are dark and it feels surreal as you walk in the dimly lit, sharply ascending space, making your way to the top.  We walked around the narrow spaces and landed where the sarcophagus was.  Even though all of the treasures are long gone thanks to looting, you can visualize the sanctity and importance of this place.

Once we had seen all three pyramids up close, we drove a distance to look at them from a different vantage point.  We clicked a popular picture of each of us appearing to touch the tip of the pyramids and  then took a camel ride.  Sitting on a camel for the first time was a bit nerve-wracking and weird. And when the camel shook, I held on to it for dear life and marvelled at the advances in science that appeared to exist close to 5000 years ago.

After the camel ride, we went to see the Sphinx, one of the largest monolith statues in the world.  It was majestic.

So, how would I best summarize our feelings about this visit?  I am simply going to steal the words of Carl Hoffman who wrote eloquently in National Geographic , “To visit the Pyramids is to be struck dumb by their monumentality.”

If you would like to take a virtual tour of the pyramids, please take a look at this NOVA/PBS site:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/explore/

This article on the Sphinx built our anticipation and excitement for our visit:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Uncovering-Secrets-of-the-Sphinx.html