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I love you, Mom!

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“There is way too much food.”

– Ram Swaroop, 82

For our annual Mother’s Day Brunch, we always gather at my parents house to celebrate all the Moms in our family including my mom, my aunts and sisters-in-law.

This year I organized it with my sister Suki. We decided to have all the people who aren’t parents to contribute to the potluck. Even my teen-age nephews and nieces. We have a family full of incredible chefs and I wanted to taste something from all the age groups from 12 to 45.

As a result, we had a ton of food including Mexican quiche, veggie quiche, crab quiche, rosemary potatoes, macaroni cole slaw,
veggie kabobs, turkey tacos, fajitas, salsa, guacamole, chips, quinoa salad, fruit salad, bagels, lemon tiramasu trifle, Dinesh‘s chocolate cheesecake bars and cookies.

Everyone brought their A-game and everything was delicious. It was a tasty way to show how much we care about the Moms in our family.

Thanks to all our Moms especially my beautiful, smart, encouraging, loving Mom for making the choice to take on the most challenging and rewarding job on the planet. You make the world a better place.

Below, one of the earliest pictures i have of me and Mom. I love you Mom!

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Giving thanks

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In my faith, we periodically have pujas where we have an opportunity to gather, sit quietly and give thanks for our blessings. At every puja there is prasad offered usually by the person or for the occasion we are marking (birthdays, anniversaries, new job, new home, etc.). Usually it is a sweet or deep-fried treat.

Tonight, we are having a puja. Because I just started a brand-new job working in the industry I spent a year training for I am feeling especially grateful. So I asked if I could offer a Prasad to thank God for the bountiful blessings I’m enjoying.

The answer was yes. So I asked my niece what was the best thing she’s learned to make in her 5th grade home ec class. She told me about Simple Cinnamon Bites. I wondered how good they really were? I told her to rank them on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being mediocre and 5 being addictively delicious.

She told me they are a 6! So we decided to make these to offer tonight. She ended up making them with me assisting her. Above, is a picture of the chef with the first batch from the oven.

The first day of the year

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“Mmmmm, that was good.”

– Sujata Swaroop

Every year on the first of the year our family gets together to have an anniversary puja that starts around 10 a.m. A lot fewer people usually come to this puja than others. 10 instead of 25.

Since it is the day after New Year’s Eve and the morning of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, many wander in for brunch around 11 am or noon.

Happy New Year!!

My parents’ 45th anniversary

20121223-102429.jpgMy parents, Ram and Sunita Swaroop, on the morning of their 45th wedding anniversary on Dec. 23,2012. I made them some fried pakoras to have with their morning tea. When i congratulated them on their longevity my mom reminded me that in India when you marry it’s for life. I think she meant that in that context 45 years isn’t a lot. To me it is worth celebrating. Congrats Mom & Dad!!

“Good. The texture and the crispiness came perfect.”

– Sunita Swaroop, high praise from my mom who taught me how to make these and who has been making pakoras for over 55 years.

It was Sunday morning and my parents 45th wedding anniversary. My parents are older now and going out to dinner or even a movie is no longer a pleasure for them. My dad is 83 and he has become frail after a minor stroke several years ago. Because of his condition, he would get too tired sitting in a movie theater for that long. My mom believes her place is by his side so she won’t go either. But there are a great many things that they enjoy. The morning chai is one of them and on this beautiful morning they wanted pakoras so along with tea and shortbread cookies that’s what I made for them. Click here for the recipe which is simple and easy to make.

My parents got married in Lucknow in 1967 with about 80 friends and family celebrating with them in a traditional Indian ceremony. According to my mom, it was an arranged marriage and my parents met on Dec. 20, 1967 and were married on the 23rd. Since my dad was just in India during a break from work (He was the lead statistician for Cordura Corp. for NASA and the U.S. Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California) and school (UCLA where he was completing his Ph.d. in biostatistics).

My mom was working as a librarian at the National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, India. She quit her position when she married Dad to take care of the family, which included my brother and sister from Dad’s first marriage. She was living with my grandfather, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law until she and my older sister, Sunita, and older brother, Subhash, moved to California to be with my dad later that year.

I was born two years later and my younger sister, Suki, arrived a year after me.

Today, we all got to enjoy hot, tasty pakoras on their 45th anniversary.

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