India: Magical Mumbai

November 25th, 2011 · Lisa · Travel · Comments
Mumbai is so magical it can turn fifty people into one hundred people in the blink of an eye.At least that is how it felt to me. When I went to bed on Tuesday night our demo registrations were at 50 – by the time I walked to the event space the next morning we were expecting 100 enthusiastic attendees.

This is my “are you kidding me” face which has much less forehead wrinkling than the look I saw on the chef’s face when he heard the news.  I was excited by the turnout but concerned about how we would feed so many people with the menu portions we prepared for fifty.

As the videographer set up, tuning a camera to capture my every move, the crowd started to pour in. They  got settled and I waited for the ingredients I needed to demo. I could tell that the kitchen was consumed with speedy production because the demo trays we had discussed were still half-empty when it was time to begin.

I took a deep breath, looked out into the audience, and decided that we take this journey together. We’d find the ingredients along the way and in the end we’d have a delightful, delicious menu to enjoy.

While I blended smoothies and pureed for parfaits I got the audience to stretch and move. Life is more fun with a bit less tension and a lot more laughter.

With the help of Nandita and Rithika the kitchen worked through the chaos and I managed to get the ingredients around about the time I needed them. I demonstrated all the recipes and samples were served up to our excited guests. I wish there had been an abundance for all but given the circumstances I was grateful to see plates in everyone’s hands.

We had Broccoli Salad and Smoothies
Tropical Breakfast Parfaits
Pad Thai Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Zucchini Rolls with Cashew Cheese and Marinara Sauce
Orange Spice Date Squares and a Coconut Lime Cheesecake.
The samples disappeared quickly but the curious questions continued to flow. I loved the energy and enthusiasm of the group in Mumbai. A few people stood up to share that this was the best food they had ever tasted. That’s quite a sentiment to hear in India! I was so touched by there generous spirits and their genuine support of my passion.
When the last attendee skipped out the front door Nandita and I gathered our gear, picked up my bags, and stopped off for a quick bite (since we were unable to secure any samples for ourselves). Once satiated, I found a taxi willing to take me to the airport. I waived goodbye to Nandita and settled in for a scenic drive along the Arabian Sea. We arrived in enough time for me to race around the check-in counter, head to the wrong security line, find the right security line, head back to the check-in desk for my tags, return to the right security line and finally find my gate (with 20 minutes to spare).
It was a day of high intensity interval training but in the end I had a smooth ride to Delhi, leaving behind a  wonderful group of enthusiastic eaters interested in enjoying more raw vegan fare.
In Delhi, I found the pre-paid taxi booth, got my ticket and managed to make it to my host’s doorstep in an hour.
That night I slept well, because my body was tired from all of the excitement and because I was able to let go of the big “what ifs”. I know sharing great food and the importance of veganism is not about being an example of perfection, it is about being yourself, living in this wild world and doing your best to make a positive impact.
with love and veggies.
Thank you to Rithika, Harini and Kuntal for the incredible photography!

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