Sunday, September 26, 2021

My interview on a podcast, and 10th birthday fun

I have been blogging in this space for over 16 years, and have lost track of everything that the blog has given me- friends in different places, loads of goodwill, and opportunities to meet cool people and experience new things. The blog brought me another "first" a few months ago when a reader named Aditi emailed me and asked me to be a guest on the podcast she co-hosts with Natasha. 

It turns out that Aditi and Natasha were childhood friends in India. They both now live in the US and have stayed friends over the decades. Their conversations about life in the US turned into a podcast called Chai and Chat, in which they chat with their guests about bicultural and bilingual identities in America and swap cultural stories in a relaxed and informal way, just the way you would have a thoughtful discussion with a good friend over a cup of chai. 

I had never been a guest on a podcast and am pretty self-conscious about being interviewed, but after I listened to a few episodes of Chai and Chat, I wrote back and said I would be thrilled to meet with them. And so we had a zoom call (on a rainy Saturday, with me locked in the bedroom, hiding from the kids and hoping for some peace and quiet), and it was simply delightful. Aditi and Natasha are so warm and sweet, and they put me at ease right away. They are expert conversationalists, which is an art in itself. They know how to ask interesting questions, coax out stories and anecdotes from their guests, and steer a conversation into thoughtful territory. 

If you have 32 minutes and 10 seconds to spare, listen to the episode here. Our conversation was completely unscripted, impromptu and flowed in many directions. I'm a self-conscious speaker, often tongue-tied and riddled with verbal tics. I say "you know" 3 times in every sentence! You have been warned. If you're up for it, and want to hear the person behind this blog, go listen to the "Home on the range" (LOL) episode of Chai and Chat. And my huge thanks to Aditi and Natasha for inviting me on their podcast, and most of all, for their overall efforts in bringing new voices and stories into the world. 

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Double digit excitement! The other big event in our life recently was that my daughter (whose birth I announced here) turned 10 years old. From being too small even for newborn sized onesies, she now wears the same shoe size as me. As they say, the days are long but the years are short. We celebrated her birthday in a small way, while giving her everything she requested- pizza and salad for dinner, an ice cream cake, and a sleepover with two close friends with pancakes the morning after. 

Even before the official party started, the birthday celebrations kicked off with a breakfast of pastries from a local bakery.

The pizza recipe was the crispy pan pizza from King Arthur flour. It is an excellent recipe with low effort and great results, and the recipe can be doubled or tripled as needed. I started the dough the day before the party, and made personal pan pizzas by rounding up a bunch of cake pans. Everyone got to choose their own toppings- olives, red peppers, onions and so on. I helped myself out by buying jarred pizza sauce and shredded cheese.

The pizza dough can be frozen, and prepared pizza itself can be refrigerated and reheated on a griddle. All this to say that this is a keeper recipe if you're looking to make pizza at home. 

Next up, the cake, or rather ice cream "cake". The birthday girl much prefers ice cream over cake and we looked at ice cream concoctions online as we planned her party. Ina Garten's ice cream bombe caught her eye immediately. Luckily, I own a set of nested glass Pyrex bowls which were perfect for assembling this. 

I made the bombe the weekend before the party- a big advantage of ice cream cakes is the make-ahead feature- and again, simplified things for myself by buying these three ice cream tubs. All that was needed was softening and assembly. I lined the big bowl with plastic wrap and when it came time to unmold the thing, I was glad I did that. 

I didn't get any great pictures (just that messy one below), but the ice cream bombe was a pretty grand dessert. Each wedge has mango sorbet, raspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream, a refreshing combination of flavors and also pleasing to the eye.  This thing was about 16 servings. (We still have some in the freezer!) 

I will definitely make this again. In fact, we were brainstorming other flavor combos that would work. Raspberry sorbet, dark chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream would be nice. I would always keep the outermost shell a sorbet, because they freeze more solid than ice creams do, and make for better cutting of the bombe. 


After the sleepover, the kids were treated to chocolate chip pancakes with fresh berries. I used this recipe and the result was fabulous. 

With only 2 little guests and a birthday girl and a milestone birthday, I decide to put some effort into a party favor and made matching book pillows for the three girls. These are 18 x 18 inch throw pillows with a pocket in front, big enough to tuck some books and a flashlight, or maybe a diary and a pen, or a coloring book and a few markers, or some card games. They have a handle so you can take them on car trips or just from room to room. I used this pattern to make the pillows and was very pleased with how they turned out.



Tell me what podcasts you listen to, and what you have been making and cooking and eating! 

22 comments:

  1. A very happy 10th birthday to Lila!!
    You are one of my favorite bloggers, Nupur and I have learned so many things here. The bombe looks awesome and the book pillows are so cute! I have a British Bake off nerd at home, she has seen bombe on the show, maybe I can make it for her birthday! 😁

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    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes and for your kind words! Oh, you should definitely try making the bombe. It is a really fun dessert. I am waiting for another opportunity to make this!!

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  2. Oh Nupur, what an extra delightful post!! Happy birthday to dear Lila. And heavens, where have the years gone? I do believe I've been following One Hot Stove for most of your 16 years right from the time of Dale. I am so looking forward to listening to the podcast. Congratulations for everything!

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    1. Thank you, dearest Kamini, for always being there with a kind word! Your presence around this blog means the world to me.

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    2. I just listened to your podcast, Nupur, and as always you have been entirely too modest in what you wrote about it! It was such a delight to listen to, and you are so warm, articulate, intelligent and a complete natural. Just like how you come across in One Hot Stove!

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    3. Thank you for listening, Kamini! It was such a fun experience!

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  3. Hey nupur, it was a very enjoyable podcast episode and lovely to hear your voice after years of reading you :) I love what you said about your blog being an ideas blog more than a recipe blog and those are the posts I've enjoyed most and remember over the years- the after school snacks one, the one on food presents, the dinner in 20 minutes one etc etc.

    A very happy birthday to Lila and I have a sept born too :) thanks to the low-ish cases we could invite some of his friends for a home party.

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    1. Thank you so much :) I must say that it is strange hearing my own voice on a podcast. Do I sound like that?! My sister assured me I do :D

      I too enjoy writing the idea posts the most. All of the ones you mentioned are in need of being revisited and updated for sure.

      Happy birthday to your Sept child. I'm glad you were able to have a small home party- those are the best!!

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  4. Wishing Lila a very happy birthday.The pillows are such a thoughtful gift . I heard the podcast interview and I feel as if I know you a little better even though we have never met. You are one of my favorite bloggers and I have been following your blog since you were a grad student.Please do blog more often if possible, even your regular recipies turn out so good. If you ever chose to do zoom cooking classes , I will surely sign up my daughter.

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    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes!! And many thanks for your kind and supportive words and for sticking with me all these years!

      I will absolutely try to blog more often. It just feels like there are not enough hours in the day, and especially hours of pecking away at a laptop.

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  5. Happy Birthday to Lila and yay on the podcast! May your daughter and your blog both enjoy many happy years ahead :)

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    1. Thank you, dear Bek! I have not seen you in years. Hope you are planning a trip to GA in the near future.

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  6. Wonderful podcast Nupur. Have been reading your blog for a long time, so it was nice to "hear you in person" :). You were very articulate and what you shared was very thought provoking, just like your blog posts. I do hope you realize your dream of trying out all of your ideas in the future. Happy birthday to Lila! What a blessing she is for bringing a cup of tea and snacks for Mommy. As your kids grow older and get to know more about your blog, I am sure they will be in awe of this legacy that you create with each post.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, and for reading my blog over a long time!! I too hope that I will be able to take on more fun projects in the future, things that I only daydream of at the moment.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! Yes, she is a kind and thoughtful kid and we are so grateful for that.

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  7. So lovely to hear you on the podcast - by the end I wished I could sit down and have a cuppa with you. It was interesting to hear you reflect on blogging and made me nod in agreement and think how much I like that you are still keeping your corner of the internet with an old school blog and so happy to hear your will to continue it.

    Can't believe that your daughter is 10. Sounds like a really lovely celebration with lots of yummy food. I love the sound of the raspberry chocolate ice cream cake (as I am not a mango person). I've never heard of book pillows before but it is a great party favour and a wonderful craft project.

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    1. Thank you for listening, dear Johanna! Maybe one day I will make it to Australia and we can have a cuppa together :) We have been blogging for a long, long time, haven't we?

      Believe it or not, the mango sorbet in this dessert comes all the way from Australia- from the gold coast. I will definitely have to try these bombes with different flavors. Now that I've made one I think my next one will look better because I know what to expect.

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  8. So I don't know what I thought you would sound like - but you sound so different. What a delight to hear you speak. Have read your blog for all the 16 years!

    There is a lot of similarity in our histories especially in the mothers who baked back in the day. I have really really enjoyed your blog and admire your various projects including the latest United States project

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    1. Vishakha- believe it or not, I too am surprised at the way I sound LOL! It is weird hearing myself recorded like that. Thank you for sticking with me all these years, I truly appreciate it. And thank you for the kind words. It is a privilege to be able to share my stories, mundane as they are.

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  9. You almost sounded like I've known you forever Nupur. I've been a follower of this blog since your NJ times and have enjoyed your writing, creativity and recipes. Loved your podcast interview; you reminded me of my son who just left to college two weeks ago to major in creative writing and Media. You talk about how writing is therapeutic, powerful and at the same time vulnerable. True that statement. And the food/cooking classes is so fun. Just so you know, my son loves to cook and had few live Instagram classes midnight for his friends during pandemic when kids were stuck home. One of his subjects now in college is Food and Community :)

    May all your dreams come true. Have a blessed Navratri :)
    Meena.

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    1. Hi Meena, thank you for sticking with me for all these years..nay, decades! I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      I must say your son is studying some very interesting subjects!! Ah, I would so love to sit on some creative writing classes, and "food and community" sounds awesome. I wish him an engaging, fun and wonderful college experience. Love that people young and old are discovering (and rediscovering) the joys of home cooking. Thank you for the wishes and blessings!!

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  10. Loved hearing your real voice, after being used to your "written voice". I know how it feels weird to listen to your own recorded voice. I liked the interview though, and have been a fan of your blog for many years now. I like that its an ideas blog...more of an inspiration blog for me. Keep writing.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words and for reading my blog for years!! :)

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