With the coronavirus quarantine and being stuck in my parents' home for the foreseeable future, I decided to tackle something that I had been putting off for a long time: a talking video. I've never been a fan of hearing my own voice, and the thought of recording myself doing something like this felt risky and vulnerable. After conducting an Instagram poll (because I guess that's now the definitive way of making decisions) I realized that a lot of my followers would be interested in seeing something like this.
While filming, I realized that this would be a lot more difficult than expected - it's hard to bring your personality out in front of a camera when you're just talking to a lens. There's no one to converse with, no one's banter to build off of...it's awkward.
In the end, this was a great learning experience for me. I was able to see myself from another perspective, which gave me some insight into my own behaviors. How I break eye contact when I'm trying to think, how I really have to make the conscious effort to smile, etc. But even between the two clips this video was recorded in, I noticed a difference. My personality began to creep through in the second shot, and I had more fun watching myself. I think I'm going to do more of this, if only for my own benefit. But if you learn a thing or two about cooking, let me know!
If you don't know about Wink, they make "plant-based ice cream alternatives." If that doesn't scream delicious, then, same.
Their whole bit is that they are keto friendly, non GMO, gluten/soy/dairy/egg free, and only contain a "trivial amount of sugar."
How, then, do they create pints of deliciousness that are only 100 calories, you ask?
Well, the simple answer is, they don't.
We tried twelve of their pints and are here to give you the scoop (see what I did there?) on each flavor.
When I first came across The Buttermilk Co. I thought they were nothing special. I had seen their packaged Rasam mix and thought to myself, "how is this any different from the Shaan masala packets my family and I religiously use?"
I was so, so wrong.
The Buttermilk Co. was started by a homesick student, who missed the foods her mother would make. Speaking from experience, I know how comforting the smells and tastes of mama's kitchen can be when you're on the other side of the country.
I started following the company on Instagram, catching glimpses of the team in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, recipe testing... It was clear that they were packaging more than just spices. This was something different altogether.
When the CEO and founder , Mitra, reached out, asking if we'd be interested in trying her products, we couldn't be more excited! We went to her site and chose three of our favorite dishes: Aloo Methi, Pav Bhaji, and Poha. She immediately sent over a box of goodies!
The package arrived sealed with The Buttermilk Co. branded tape - a very cute touch. Inside were the three packets pictured above, along with a handwritten note from Mitra (and who isn't a sucker for a handwritten note?) One thing I will say is that I wished there was something on the outside of the box that warned me to refrigerate the contents immediately. My lazy ass did not get around to opening the box for a couple of days and panicked when I found a now warm ice pack inside with the food packets. (But hey, free ice pack!)
[Edit: after perusing their Instagram account a bit more, I noticed that they usually do put "refrigerate me!" stickers on their boxes, so my situation was just an anomaly]
The packets themselves are incredibly well-made. The design, material, and labeling are impeccable, and somehow manage to spark happiness and excitement. I loved how there were both stovetop and microwave instructions for each packet, making these the perfect option for both apartment and dorm-dwellers. The ingredients list was a breath of fresh air: nary a preservative in the packet - which is more than can be said about the boxed Indian foods I've bought from the frozen aisle...more times than I care to recount.
When I saw poha listed on The Buttermilk Co.'s site, I was drawn to it almost reflexively. I was curious to see how they would preserve the same flavors and textures in the little packet. Surely, it could not stand up to the freshly cooked dish made by a South Indian mother.
I followed the instructions on the back: I put a small saucepot on the stove with half a cup of water and emptied the contents into it. I was elated to see what already looked like poha - bright yellow with vibrant green curry leaves and the glorious peanuts. I waited for the food to heat through. I usually like to do a bit of cleaning while my food cooks, so I took to doing some dishes. I only got through a couple before the poha was ready, which goes to show how fast the cook time was!
The texture of the beaten rice was so soft, so tender that I had to use the utmost care when spooning the dish into my bowl, in order to not break up the poha. My first bite was heavenly. I tasted all the same flavors that I had at my friend's house, plus more! The Buttermilk Co.'s poha has an unmistakable lemony taste. It awakens the entire dish and your palate! I ate every last bite of the poha from my bowl, making sure to grab the last bits of goodness that had gotten stuck to the curry leaves, and found myself longing for even more at the end.
When it was time to make dinner, I turned on two burners. I put a small saucepot on one and a frying pan on the other. The idea was to get my rotis warmed through in the time it took the aloo methi to cook - which totally happened; hooray for the short cook time! I love their cute little packets, but they make it quite difficult to get all the goodness out of the little nooks and crannies. I had to really get in there with a spoon and scrape every last bit out. I immediately noticed a distinct smell when I opened the packet. It was both savory and sweet. The taste mirrored that as well. While it was a wholesome dish, it paled in comparison to the poha the night before. I yearned for some brightness, some citrus, some lemon juice or coriander. It may be because this was my first time trying aloo methi and I had no idea what to expect, but I really was expecting something with a bit more kick. Would I order this packet again? Probably not - but it may just be because I was spoiled with the poha.
Coming home after the gym one day, I was desperately craving some pav bhaji and couldn't wait to tear open the packet. I didn't have any classic pav in the house and didn't feel like running out to buy some Hawaiian rolls (which are a solid option) so I scoured the depths of my freezer to find ajwain (caraway) parathas. This layered, buttery bread would do just fine. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. I poured out the contents of the packet into the saucepan and beheld a new sight. I had never seen pav bhaji like this before. I wasn't used to being able to identify the individual vegetables that come together to make this harmonious dish. But I was willing to give it a chance! So what if it didn't resemble my parents' sepia colored mashed potatoes that I knew and loved. This would be a new adventure! The stew of vegetables reminded me somewhat of minestrone soup - tomatoey with hearty chunks of vegetables. It was a beautiful new experience and I'm glad Buttermilk gave me the chance to try it!
I love everything about this company - from its origins to its aesthetic.
And want a lifetime supply of The Buttermilk Co.'s poha 😋