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Spice it up

Library patrons learn Indian cooking techniques

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Riverdale residents Glenda Jacinth and Christopher Joshua prepare a lemon rice dish at an Indian cuisine class Wednesday at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, in Jonesboro.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Riverdale residents Glenda Jacinth and Christopher Joshua prepare a lemon rice dish at an Indian cuisine class Wednesday at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, in Jonesboro.

JONESBORO — There are at least 3,000 dialects spoken in India, but Riverdale resident Glenda Jacinth said there is one common saying that everyone in the Southeast Asian country understands.

It’s a saying English-speakers in America understand, too.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” said Jacinth, a native of India.

Jacinth and her husband, Christopher Joshua, led a class on Indian cuisine Wednesday at the Clayton County Headquarters Library in Jonesboro. Joshua leads several adult and children’s programs for the library branch, according to Managing Librarian Sherry Turner.

The couple taught a class of 30 people how to make lemon rice, which they said is a common dish in southern India. The ingredients for the dish include onions, green chiles, mustard seeds, cashew nuts, curry leaves and lime juice. Joseph said the lime juice is especially important because of the benefits it provides people.

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Photo by Curt Yeomans Riverdale resident Christopher Joshua (from left) and Jonesboro resident Mona Mehat serve Jonesboro resident Nadia Wahrmann with a bowl of lemon rice Wednesday during an Indian cuisine class at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, in Jonesboro.

“Lime has the power to reduce the fat in your body and it beautifies the body,” he said.

Jacinth said cooking is considered an important trait for Indian women to possess. A lot of women get up at 5:30 a.m. every day to begin cooking breakfast and they may end up cooking for several hours, she said. She added mothers are expected to teach their daughters how to cook to prepare them for marriage, where they will be expected to cook for their husbands.

And, Jacinth said women are expected to produce perfect tasting meals, which means every step involved from ingredient selection to the actual cooking must be done right.

“You can’t just go to the store and pick up anything,” Jacinth said. “Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, it has to be perfect.”

While the lemon rice cooked, Jonesboro resident Daniel Mehat, a fellow India native and friend of Joshua and Jacinth, talked to the audience about different aspects of Indian culture, including the caste system and the importance of education in the country.

Joshua and Jacinth then provided samples of the food to the audience and several people said they liked it a lot. Jonesboro resident Nadia Wahrmann said she thought the rice was “a little spicy” but that didn’t deter her from enjoying it because “it has lots of flavors.” She said she brought her children to the class to teach them about some of their cultural heritage.

“My dad is Indian so I’ve tasted Indian food before, but I wanted to start cooking it more at home so my children could have a better understanding of where they come from,” said Wahrmann.

Jacinth said people who want to learn more about Indian cuisine, or would like her and her husband to cater a party can call the couple at (404) 368-3665 or (678) 967-4438.