This week’s confession is truly astounding, even for someone
like me, who has committed so many kitchen atrocities over time that I am sure
I will end up in Kitchen Hell, when it’s all said and done.
All kidding aside, this was truly a remarkable faux
pas. I’m the sort of person that likes
to be the smartest kid in the class and, if it’s obvious that I am not the
smartest, I like to the one that says the most clever things. Earlier this week I confused Masala with
For those of you who might be scratching your heads,
wondering what the difference is between the two, I’ll tell you. The difference is “R”. (See
what I mean about trying to make up for a lack of intellect by attempting to be
Masala is a mixture
of many spices. It’s a term used by
people from India and Pakistan, among other places. It is not just one particular spice mix. The mix can contain any number of
spices. Masala is the flavor foundation
for many dishes.
Marsala is a
sweet, fortified Italian dessert wine, often used for cooking.
An innocent mistake, for sure. And, if that was where my story ended, I
could have laughed it off and gone on with my life with nobody being the wiser.
Several months ago, while visiting my favorite Indian spice
market, I struck up a conversation with the proprietor, as I usually do. He is always willing to stop and talk with me
and he has been a tremendous guide, while I attempt to unravel Indian
cuisine. On this occasion, I told him
that I was considering making a masala pizza, at least that is what he probably
heard. I actually said Marsala, because I was thinking about making
a chicken Marsala pizza. That was the
moment I ran off the rails.
You see, I have made chicken Marsala before and I have made
many dishes with masala, although I’ve never really thought about calling the
spice mixture, masala. I must have had a
bizarre synaptic short-circuit which caused me to switch masala with
Marsala. The proprietor, being the
gentleman that he is, just stared at me when I suggested the masala pizza. He gave me a sort of quizzical, pitiful look.
Well, months later, here I am ready to make the pizza. I wanted to try a test run with the chicken
Marsala, before moving on to the pizza.
I went back to the Indian market to pick up some items for other dishes
and when I saw the proprietor, I told him that I was really going to make the
masala pizza, but I what I actually said was, “Marsala”. I told him that I was deliberating on how to
approach the pizza. I didn’t want to use
traditional Italian marinara and mozzarella because I didn’t think they would
pair well with the Marsala sauce. I
asked him if he had a suggestion for a creamy sauce that I could make, instead
of using Mozzarella. After a moment, he
suggested coconut milk and followed that with suggesting tapioca starch to
thicken the coconut milk.
Coconut milk? I’ve
taken some interesting turns while creating new food but coconut milk didn’t
seem like a very good idea for pizza but, I told him that I would give it a
As I left the store and headed to the wine store, to pick up
some Marsala wine, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been utterly
confused. You see, the proprietor of the
spice market speaks perfectly. Despite
the tell-tale Indian accent, his diction and vocabulary is precise and
clear. He speaks better English than
most people I encounter, on any given day.
“Masala”, was what he was saying, and he made sure to say
masala each time after I said “Marsala” to him.
The nerve cells in my brain finally made the jump. I had been enlightened! I also suffered from incredible embarrassment.
As I drove to the wine store I convinced myself that the
only way to redeem myself was to perform an act of penance. I would make two pizzas. One would be inspired by masala and the other would be inspired by Marsala.
One final interesting event rounded out the day and
convinced me that fate is a very real thing.
I was checking out some other blogs and I came across this blog, https://ishitasood.com/
. It’s tagline reads, “The Biggest and Only Indian Blog on Italy”. Ishita is the author and she has produced
some very interesting posts. One post in
particular struck a chord with me… https://ishitasood.com/confessions-of-a-passionate-blogger/
In the blog she offers some words of encouragement,
including the following: “It is okay to be vulnerable.”
And that was exactly what I needed to hear. It is what I needed to remember. I am an imperfect human and so is everybody
I will work on these recipes with an open heart and an open