Cultural Celebration

A few weeks ago Jason told me we had been invited to a milestone celebration for our neighbors seven month old daughter. Obviously, the fact that I  grew up in a completely culture free environment, I had never heard of Annaprashan. I had much to investigate! What is this celebration? What am I supposed to wear? What type gift do I bring?

In a nutshell, Annaprashan is a Hindu rite of passage (Anna means “grain” and Prashan means “to feed” ~ so the celebration is the beginning step to the weaning process from milk to solid foods. OK..I’ll buy that..plus..who can pass up a legit reason to bring family and friends to together to admire the baby (insert annoying lady from Seinfeld “Ya gotta see the babayyyy”) have great food and enjoy company??

Gift ideas can be anywhere from gold/silver bowls (most likely left to the family members to present) spoons and plates to outfits an baby memorabilia.. I decided to leave the fancy gift ideas to their family..I wouldn’t want to one up the grandparents :D…and settled on a simple cute outfit, a couple of bibs and a stainless steel sippy cup.

As much as I wanted to dress up in Salwar Kameez,  I supposed that would be inappropriate soooo… I opted for simple black dress pants, a gray 3/4 sleeve top and simple Steve Madden pointy toe pumps. 🙂

Received with great smiles from the hosts and family – we said our congratulations and ogled the beautifully dress guest of honor, set our gift bag down and were both happy to see that our old neighbors were there with their three little ones. We sat at a table with them and caught up while we gorged on appetizers.

Side note:  I really wanted to bring my camera but Jason said, “NO” ~ I didn’t even feel comfortable taking cell phone pictures so I hate to say this but…I snagged these pictures from google images 😦

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I don’t remember the name of these but they were so good dipped in this beautiful green sauce:

images-1 I tasted cucumber and cilantro and now I must find a recipe to copy!

I’ll leave that for another day..for now I have learned this dipping sauce is green chutney and does not have any cucumber in it whatsoever. They had Tamarind Chutney also but the dates tasted too much like prunes and I did not like the sweetness – on the other hand…Jason loved it..

The chicken tikka masala was AH..MAY..ZINGG..

Recipe Inspirations Chicken Tikka Masala

There were a lot of children there – maybe twelve? Our hosts had prepared for this so they brilliantly hired a magician to entertain the hyperactive little people and it worked like a charm! He had me on the edge of my seat laughing the entire time.  I told Jason on the way home this magician made me want to adopt a five year old so I could have a party that included a magician…He laughs now but we’ll see.. muahh ah ah ah..

Close to the end of the performance, the main course was set out for us to fill our plates.

Jason pointed out ..all of the men were handling this task as the women all sat at their own tables. I told him this was because the women do all the work in labor and after the baby is out! 🙂 I don’t know if this is true or not but seems perfectly logical to me.

There were so many dishes to try! I did try small samples of each of them and my favorites were:

The rice pilaf with peas:

Bobby_Flay_Fit_Basmati_Rice_Pilaf_With_Peas

and…the goat mutton

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I have never eaten goat before..It reminded a bit of as if a lamb and just the part of a cow that makes roast were to have a baby. So good.

After dinner there was CAKE! I was so full from dinner that I only managed two bites but the whip cream frosting was the best. All in all I’d say their Annaprashan was a great success and I was so flattered to have been invited to take part! I love learning about the rituals of other cultures.

The Plan

A couple of months ago the plan was to bring in the new year with our closest friends and family in the desert..camping. It all sounded great until a few days ago when the plan started to sound…let’s say…mentally challenged.

Winter decided to make an appearance in Arizona!   We haven’t seen any snow in the suburbs outside of Phoenix but it rained all day yesterday and it was less than 30 Fahrenheit for the low. We would have died in our sleep. No doubt about it.

Jason and I thought it would be a better idea to have the celebration at our place. Have a nice cozy fire in the backyard (yep, on a NO BURN DAY, we would’ve totally done it) with our friends and our dogs and our drinks. That plan was perfect and the best thing about it? We wouldn’t have to drive anywhere…

For the most part, everyone was all in but…there’s always a but…they all have children under twelve. Of course the children would have been welcome BUT.. we have nothing entertaining at all for children to do in our house. They would have been bored to crazy.

Plan C…get our daughter to drive us to our friends house and then we could take a taxi home! Brilliant! 🙂 But…she left and went up north with her friends AND..that would mean we would be leaving our fur babies at home..alone…scared..to deal with the loud firecracker noises.

In the end, we decided to stay home with our fur babies and power through episode after episode of Orange is the New Black season two. In between we ate a delicious Jager Schnitzel with hunter sauce, beets and mashed potatoes courtesy of chef Jason. There was also whiskey and wine..of course.

Happy New Year people! In my heart of hearts I wish nothing but peace, love and prosperity to er’yone! 🙂