Supplies were running out when we got back from India the other night – my first winter squash of the year still on the counter, brown rice in the freezer, a little sad looking ginger on the windowsill, random nuts and seeds in the cupboard, herbs are still strong the planters in the back and a three week old piece of butter. That was pretty much it. But I felt exhausted after getting off the plane, and after forty hours of door-to-door driving, I was determined to cook at home. This simple soup was the first thing I made. It was silky textured, vivid in color and after a quick trip to the store in the morning for a bit of yogurt and a lemon, the leftover food was even better at lunchtime. Especially because of the finishing touches to a rosemary Herby butter drizzle and lemon ginger pulp. I hope you find it as relaxing as I do. Also! I wanted to include a few photos of one of my favorite experiences from India in this post – the day Wayne and I had our photos taken on the street in Jaipur.
I had read about this man, Tikam Chand. For decades he has been taking photos in the old town of Jaipur with his grandfather's camera. And when we got to Jaipur, we went looking for him. No luck at first. But a few days went by and finally, in a moment when we weren't looking, Wayne spotted a man with an old camera on the sidewalk. We stopped, got out and it was less than ten seconds before we were in front of the camera. Sixty seconds and five pictures had been taken. Sit here, look here, you two together and so on. I thought it was very similar to a dental x-ray. Much more fun, but still – all business. And it wasn't Tikam with the camera, it was Surrender. It's still not entirely clear to me whether the two photographers share the camera or whether they are related.
So you took your picture and then things get amazing. The processing takes place directly on the street and is completed in a few minutes. A box on the back of the camera functions as a darkroom. Negatives made from small sheets of hand-torn photo paper are knocked onto a piece of wood and picked up again to obtain the positives. There is a bucket for rinsing. Your finished pictures (and negatives, if you are interested) are quickly wrapped in a zig-zag-folded sheet of the daily newspaper. It all goes down quickly and a little weird. For those of you interested in the details of how it works, I found this (Jonas has some amazing Jaipur photos too).
The head-to-toe shot of us above could be my favorite shot of the two of us.
A blurred front view of the camera. All eyes on Krishna. There is no lock. To expose the frame, the red foil lens cap is moved to the side for about a second. Part of what I loved about the whole experience was how straight forward and not technical it was. This guy had a good lens on a box on a tripod that looked like a couple of driftwood poles tied together. And his photos are more beautiful than you can get with a new camera. Completely inspiring.
Whatever! I have a lot more to share with you, in the meantime enjoy the soup. Trick it out with the good toppings, and I'm almost certain it will be a staple for you this fall / winter – or at least I hope so. xo -h