I love my taekwondo girls, really I do. For all that this is a frighteningly homogeneous area in general, some of these women are from all over the globe: Austria, India, Egypt, the Philippines, and the UK just to name a few off the top of my head. Last night, the Indian instructor and her husband hosted a party. (They don't even celebrate Christmas and they had more Christmas decorations up than I do...pretty funny.)
It was a positive festival of Indian fare, both northern and southern styles. Other than what my friend brings to class every so often, I'd never had Indian home cooking before, and it was fantastic. This family is vegetarian and my highly carnivorous husband was a little concerned going in about what he was going to be able to eat*, but several platefuls later he was groaning about his overstuffed belly! Naan (his favorite.) Vegetable curry. Spinach and chickpeas. A hot drink made of pureed lentils and spices and other veggies. Lemon rice. Soaked sprout salad--amazingly, he would have eaten half the serving bowl of this, left to his own devices. Yogurt rice. Even a sweet carrot soup for dessert, which sounds odd but wasn't half bad. Many of the dishes were completely unfamiliar to me but I decided that I was going to try some of everything and I did not regret that one bit.
Their younger son (a freshman in high school) has been studying a traditional Indian drum called the mridangam for years--he takes intensive lessons every time the family goes home to India--and we even managed to persuade him to play for us. That was the icing on the cake. How often do you get to go to a holiday party in the American heartland and watch an expert play the mridangam while eating fabulous Indian food?? I'm a lucky lady.
*Many years ago, before he acquired his current global tastes, my dad would stop at McDonald's on the way to a dinner occasion if he was concerned about finding enough that he wanted to eat wherever they were going. Along the same lines, Himself preloaded a bit at home before going to this party and then regretted it because the food was so good. Don't think he'll make that same mistake again!