Merry Christmas!

20141224_212848I’ve been making this cheesecake for the last 20 years. So it’s the first thing I thought of for a Christmas dessert I wanted to bake. Problem is, how to get ingredients that are not Indian staples: cream cheese, sour cream, graham crackers. My cousin took me to a grocery store that stocks mostly imports from Europe and a few things from the U.S. where I bought cream cheese from Denmark. No sour cream or graham crackers in sight, so plain yogurt and Marie biscuits would have to substitute. I’ve never baked in India, and despite not having the usual ingredients, the cheesecake came out pretty yummy. Plus, I’ve never made a crust from scratch (I cheat with Keebler readymade). I made two cakes and they easily qualified for the most expensive cheesecake, since each 7oz pack of cream was about $9. So funny what comes at a premium in different parts of the world. I’m already looking up how to make homemade cream cheese because I would like to make this cake more often but not have to rely on the expensive import.

One of the most amusing things about going to another country is the American fast food import. I think Taco Bell is the latest one to set up shop here. Here’s the menu from the Taco Bell in Koramangala in the south of Bangalore, which is chock full of really good restaurants. It’s strange how the lowest denominator food in the U.S. goes upscale elsewhere. It was clean, the decor was nicely done (California surfing theme) and there was a second level to sit down and enjoy your “Mexican” food. Whenever I crave a 7-layer in L.A., I always use the drive thru and make it as quick as possible. Speaking of 7-layer, it didn’t really taste the same at all. No lettuce, one of the layers was potato (huh?) and it had an added Indian spice. I think most fast food restaurants do that: add some of the local flavor so it has some familiarity. Anyway, going once to Taco Bell was enough to last me a few months, and that’s something all fast food has in common all over the world … it makes you think, “Why the heck did I just eat here?”