October 29th, 2011

Early snow comes to New England

It’s not so very unusual for a dusting of snow to occur in New England right around the beginning of November. But a more substantial snowfall is predicted:

Simpson cautioned that the early snowfall is not an indication of what the winter might bring.

“This doesn’t mean our winter is going to be terrible,” he said. “You can’t get any correlation from a two-day event.”

It’s pretty weird, though. But not unheard of. I well remember a fairly large October storm in 1979, although I had the good fortune not to be in Worcester, Massachusetts at the time (a record-setting 7.5 inches).

By the way, speaking of Worcester, Massachusetts (which I rarely do if I can help it), it used to be the location of the best southern Indian restaurant ever. Alas, “used to be,” because the place has been defunct for years. But it’s where I was introduced to this transcendental comfort food, the masala dosa, a jumungous crisp thin pancake made of fermented rice and lentil flour and stuffed with spiced potatoes (the white stuff in the little dish is a great coconut chutney):

Did that seem like an odd segue? The link is Worcester, and the connection is storm=comfort food. And if you don’t think that a fermented lentil-rice pancake stuffed with potatoes sounds good, just try one—if you’re lucky enough to locate an Indian restaurant that features the fabulous vegetarian food of the southern part of that country.

14 Responses to “Early snow comes to New England”

  1. chuck Says:

    Ah, potatoes, they are surely one of the classic Indian vegetables. And what would Italians do without that old Roman standby, tomatoes. Or Szechuan cooking without the traditional hot peppers ;)

  2. Pat Dooley Says:

    Masala Dosa is wonderful. Used to get it in Melbourne (Aus). Found a restaurant in Cleveland that is almost as good.

  3. gs Says:

    By the way, speaking of Worcester, Massachusetts (which I rarely do if I can help it),…

    An unfortunate aside, Neo, jarringly different from your usual tone.

    I well remember a fairly large October storm in 1979,…

    I remember experiencing the New England Ice Storm of 2008 and the aftermath.

    The current storm is forecast to drop over a foot of wet snow out here. The amount is not noteworthy–but many leaves have not fallen. This could exacerbate snow damage to tree limbs and thus to power lines. There have been so few storms under these conditions that forecasters don’t really know what consequences to expect.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. Kinch Says:

    Chuck:

    Bingo! Don’t forget the traditional Chinese condiment, Maggi Sauce. And where would the Japanese be without Kewpie Mayonnaise?

    But getting back to Columbus, I’ve always been a little bit curious about what (say) Thai and Sichuan food looked and tasted like 600 years ago.

  5. Jer Johnson Says:

    are you talking about Annapurna? I married into their family. the head chef passed away in ’94, his wife lives in my in-law apt, and still cooks a mean Masala Dosa.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Jer Johnson: Yes!!!! I didn’t say the name of the restaurant and plug it, because after all it is no more.

    I remember that chef. He looked like he was straight from India and had great concentration. He was an absolute genius of cooking. I have had many masala dosa since. in a vain quest to find one as good as his, and although I’ve had some pleasant ones none can compare to those of the Annapurna.

    How can I get an invite to his widow’s apartment :-) ?

  7. Neocon Hippie Says:

    I loved the Annapurna. It’s just a few miles from the Mass Pike so I used to stop there often when driving from Western Mass to the Boston area or vice versa.

    There was a substantial snowstorm in early October 1987 in Berkshire County. It then warmed up quickly, so we had snow on half-turned leaves with summer-like temperature a couple days later.

  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Pancakes…. Do you put maple syrup on them, or what?

  9. SteveBrooklineMA Says:

    You can get masala dosas at Gourmet India in the Natick Mall food court. Maybe just on Saturday though, I’m not sure. I do recall they were pretty good, though my wife insists no northern Indian could *possibly* cook good south Indian. Not sure how far it is from you, but you could try Dosa Temple in Ashland for south Indian. We used to drive out there from Brookline once in a while.

    Annapurna video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjjablsE2gg

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    SteveBrooklineMA: thanks for that video. It brought back many pleasant gustatory memories.

  11. CV Says:

    Well Neo, you’ve just about convinced me to give the masala dosa a try.

    There’s a southern Indian restaurant near my neighborhood in the burbs of Pittsburgh (the Udipi Cafe) and people are crazy about it.

    The other selling point is the fact that this dish is apparently wheat-free (only lentils and rice in the pancake). I have a couple of celiacs in the family and I’m always on the lookout for new dishes for the gluten-challenged.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    CV: these are really really good too, and I’m almost sure they are wheatless. Southern Indian cuisine has quite a bit of flourlike stuff that’s made without wheat, and a lot of vegetarian variety. Some of the grain is fermented, which gives it a zippier taste.

  13. CV Says:

    I had no idea! This type of cuisine is new territory for me. Thanks for the tips :-)

    The cafe I mentioned is around the corner from a fascinating Indian temple:

    http://www.svtemple.org/

    The Udipi Cafe is apparently always packed with Indian diners, both locals and visitors. I guess they ought to know! :-)

  14. Thailand Says:

    Thailand…

    [...]neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Early snow comes to New England[...]…

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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