photo courtesy of
I just finished listening to the novel, The White Tiger but before I get into my review of this book, I want to tell you about an incident that happened before my husband retired from practicing medicine.
He was on call for the weekend & was awakened around 3 am by the Medical-Dental Bureau that handled after hours emergency calls. They told him there was a man calling long distance & insisting on speaking to him, despite the time.
When my husband took the call, the guy blurts out, excitedly
"Doc, I have TWO WHITE BENGAL TIGERS!"
"What did you say?" my husband replies, as he sits up & rubs sleep out of his eyes.
"Doc, I said I got TWO WHITE BENGAL TIGERS!" he shouts, even louder.
"Yeah, well what do you want ME to do about it? " says DH, a family practice physician.
There is this short, silent pause on the phone...
"Is this Dr. ______________?"
"Yes, it is."
"Dr. ______________, of the Ohio Zoo?"
LOL!! We then discovered that he wanted to speak with the veterinarian at the zoo, who just happens to have the same last name. The bureau got the phone numbers mixed up.
We never did hear how or where he had acquired the tigers, but we still laugh about it.
This is the fourth Food for Thought bi-monthly meme I'm joining today,
the brainchild of the very talented Jain from
If you're interested in seeing what others are reading & cooking
just follow this link:
My book choice is the last in a trilogy of "help" books
being read by my book club.
by Aravind Adiga
I found this book to be a coarse, intense, unsettling novel about prey & predators, a story of an Indian man trying to break free of societal chains & expectations that accompany the terrible caste system of India. The India that we see in The White Tiger is a brutal, totally corrupt world, where people behave like animals & everything can be bought for a price.
The story is of Balram Halwai’s journey from a village where he spent his days working at a tea stall to the city of Bangalore, the murdering of his master & his transformation into an entrepreneur who currently owns a successful transportation agency.
Balram is intelligent & resourceful & stands out in his school which gains him the nickname “White Tiger” because a white tiger is the rarest creature in the jungle, only coming along once a generation. Balram eventually finds out that white tigers have their cages, too. It is told in the form of letters that Balram writes over the course of seven nights to a Chinese Premier who is about to visit India.
Balram wants to describe the stark contrast between the real India and the India that will be presented to the Premier during his visit. The blurb on the book jacket calls it "amoral, irreverent" which is certainly was, but I wouldn't call it "deeply endearing". Since my library only had the book on tape version available, I found that LISTENING to it frequently shocked my sensibilities with its crude language and offensive descriptions. Just because an author is able to describe something that is dead & rotten with eloquent prose, doesn't change it from still being smelly, dead & rotten..."deeply endearing" this book was NOT!
While the language & accent in the book on tape was beautiful to listen to
(very rhythmic & sing-song with succinct pronunciations)
Balram himself spoke with a sarcastic, cynical & crude voice. The story is laced with a dark sardonic wit & provocative confessions. I found him unlikable & unable to feel any sort of regret or remorse for the terrible things that he did. He justifies the premeditated murder of his employer as an act of class warfare.
I only gave it one *.
Silk brocade, woven tapestries, Budda, spices & incense...all these represent pieces of India's culture. In researching the foods of India, I learned that an Indian meal should consist of the entire food spectrum; spicy, creamy, hot, salty, sweet. Over fifty different spices are grown in India among them pepper, ginger, turmeric, chili, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cassia, clove, nutmeg & mace.
Pickles were the first food mentioned in the book, as part of Balram's lunch at school, so I started with those, serving them in an American Brilliant cut glass pickle dish from the Depression era in the United States.
Many of their dishes are baked in a special tandorri or clay oven,
which I don't own, so I made curry chicken instead & served it with their traditional Basmati rice & naan, a type of Indian flatbread.
Chai masala tea is a favorite drink & is usually served in clay cups without handles.
They are used only once then broken & thrown away.
I had to improvise by making this:
Perfect for a cold, winter day and sugar free, too!