Claude Lev-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

In Martinique, I had visited rustic and neglected rum-distilleries where the equipment and the methods used had not changed since the eighteenth century. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, in the factories of the company which enjoys a virtual monopoly over the whole of the sugar production, I was faced by a display of white enamel tanks and chromium piping. Yet the various kinds of Martinique rum, as I tasted them in front of ancient wooden vats thickly encrusted with waste matter, were mellow and scented, whereas those of Puerto Rico are coarse and harsh. We may suppose, then, that the subtlety of the Martinique rums is dependent on impurities the continuance of which is encouraged by the archaic method of production. To me, this contrast illustrates the paradox of civilization: its charms are due essentially to the various residues it carries along with it, although this does not absolve us of the obligation to purify the stream. By being doubly in the right, we are admitting our mistake. We are right to be rational and to try to increase our production and so keep manufacturing costs down. But we are also right to cherish those very imperfections we are endeavouring to eliminate. Social life consists in destroying that which gives it its savour.

Claude Lev-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques.

The underlying philosophy of liberalism, and the consumer culture it generates, condensed into nine sentences. (via ayjay)

Jaya Auntie's Chicken Curry

Jaya auntie has been killing the curry game from her kitchen in Louisville, KY for years.  Serve with rice, and make another vegetable dish to go with it.  Hoping to get the recipe for her fish curry soon, that one will make you believe in a higher power.    


  • 1 whole chicken cut into chunks (discard skin)
  • 1 ½ large onions, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (can substitute with canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1 ½ tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (remove from fridge before starting, should be at room temperature)
  • fresh cilantro
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 whole dried red chilies
  • ¾ tsp spoon turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp black cumin seeds (you can skip these if you’re having a hard time finding them)


  • Heat oil till hot but not smoking in large pot.
  • Add cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, green cardamom, bay leaves, whole red chilies.
  • Wait 30-40 seconds, add onion and turn heat down to medium low.
  • Let onions brown/caramelize, soft not crispy (around 20-30min).
  • Add tomatoes with a pinch of salt. Cover pot, and cook them down (7-8min).
  • Add garlic-ginger paste, turmeric, red chili powder
  • Cover pot, turn heat up to medium, cook 7-8min
  • Add chicken, mix, fry well on all sides (15 min).
  • Add yogurt, and 2 tsp of salt, mix well
  • Add 2 cups of water, bring to low simmmer, cover and cook for (20-30min)
  • In small pan heat 1 tsp of oil
  • Remove from direct heat while adding black cumin seeds, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder
  • Put pan back on heat, stir spices together
  • Add 2 tbsp water, while stirring constantly, until mixture becomes slightly frothy
  • Add spices to chicken curry, and finish with fresh chopped cilantro.