"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!


Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India #French Fridays with Dorie

vegetable barley soup with the Taste of Little India: simplelivingeating.com

My father was stationed in Calcutta, India during the Second World War, he was only 18 years old. He never talk about India. Once in a while my family and I would ask him why he wouldn't go to the beach with us. His response was...
I had enough heat for a lifetime in India.

man with tiger: simplelivingeating.com
My father holding a baby tiger. 

The only thing we knew is that he loved the Taj Mahal; so much so that he had a mural of it painted for our dining room. People always found it to be an usual image to behold in an otherwise typical middle class Italian-American household. 

Picture of the Taj Mahal that my father took in 1944. 

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan to his third wife Mumtaz Mahal.  It is a shrine to eternal love and grief. When my father died at the early age of 57 the mural was a reminder of his love for us that reaches past the grave. 

Calcutta 1944: simplelivingeating.com
Calcutta, India 1944 my dad's photo. 

When we packed up my dad's belongings I found astrology charts on everyone in our family along with books about India.

Calcutta 1944: simplelivingeating.com
Calcutta men making a pyre. 

India touched my father. I have never been to India,  but I heard..

India has a way of imprinting itself on your soul. 

How could India not be impressive?  It is such a mixture of cultures, religions, and spices... India is all about spices... the flavors of India are so distinct... which is why I loved the seasoning in this soup.

Vegetable Barley Soup with a taste of little india: simplelivingeating.com

The main flavor is Garam Masala which is a seasoning mixture of black pepper, mace, clove, cinnamon, cardamon etc.. there are many variations of this blend in India. It is a wonderful spice mix to buy if you are just getting yourself accustom to cooking Indian food.

You can really add Garam Masala to any recipe and it miraculously transforms it into an Indian dish. This soup is just basically a typical vegetable barley soup.. but when you add Garam Masala and a little ginger to it... something exotic happens.

Here are some examples of the versatility of Garam Masala. 

  Garam Masala Chicken: simplelivingeating.com
Garam Masala Chicken
Indian Lentil Soup: simplelivingeating.com
Indian Lentil Soup

So take a trip to India if only through some Garam Masala. It could be life changing...at the least, it will be flavorful. 

Click here for the recipe: 

Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

Click here to see how the other Dorista's did.

This post is shared on the following food/craft parties: 

Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ 21st Century Housewife
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
In & Out of the Kitchen @ Feeding Big & More
Tuesday's Table @ Love in the Kitchen
Tasty Tuesday #Anyonita Nibbles
Share your Stuff Tuesday @ Table for Seven
Simple Supper Tuesday @Hun...What's for Dinner?

Wednesday Food:
From Dream to Reality @ DYI Dreamer
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ All She Cooks
Look What I Made @ Creations by Kara
Make Bake Create Party @Bubbly Nature Creations 
Wake Up Wednesdays @Heather's French Press
What's Cooking Wednesday @Buns in My Oven 
Lovely Ladies Linky @This Silly Girl's Life

Thursday Food:
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity

Friday Food:

Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
Weekend Potluck @ Sunflower Supper Club
Friday Linky Party @ The Pin Junkie 
Freedom Fridays @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
Inspiration Spotlight @ Dear Creatives
Get Him Feed @Anyonita Nibbles 
Eat Create Party @I Want Crazy
Foodtastic Friday@ Voice Blok

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  1. What a loving post :)
    Kind of a tribute to your father, I love it
    And I just loooooooove the soup.
    Indian food is quite popular around here

    1. Thanks Winnie... it felt like a special post when I was putting it together. My dad made a scrapbook of his time in WWII, it is one of the few things I have of his.

  2. This is a phenomenal post, Diane. Mixing this week's recipe with pictures of your Dad's and memories of your childhood is wonderful to read. I recently purchased many Indian spices at Pensey's and was encouraged to experiment with them after my evening at Guyomar's Wine Cellars. Your Post has also spurred me on to going through all my childhood pictures and memories I have stored in boxes and put away. A summer project. I may not thank you for that later! Do you have a picture of the mural from your living room. Just a lovely post that I am going to re-read right now. Always glad to know more about Garam Masala.

    1. I was thinking about the mural and know one took a picture of it, but I sure it must be in the background of old family photos of holiday dinners. I am going to keep an eye out for it.

  3. This is such a lovely post ! You know I am actually from Calcutta and it is so exciting to see those photographs of 1944 - Calcutta. I wish I could identify those places..

    1. Tanusree what a coincidence of all the places in India... wow. Who knows if these buildings are still around after the bombings from the Japanese.

  4. Very nicely written. One of my very dear college friends was from India - and it was always a treat to go to her parents house for dinner. As a meat & potatoes girl from Upstate NY, my first encounter with cardamom was eye opening.

  5. What amazing family photos! My sister has been to India a couple of times...I'd love to go, but would have to talk the Mr. into it!!! Your soup looks perfect.

    1. Thanks Liz,
      India seems like a fasninating place, definitely on my bucket list too.

  6. Great post! I really enjoyed the old photos. I've never been to India and truthfully it hasn't been on my bucket list but the more I see of it the more I want to go. I bet that mural was really something.

    1. Thanks Trevor,
      I swore off third world countries after 7 weeks in Peru, but India is 2nd world now... I might consider it. I'm really bummed that I can't find a picture of the mural. I guess no one ever thinks of taking a picture of a wall... well, at least not before cell phones.

  7. Lovely post, enjoy seeing all the photos of your Dad and the memories that go with them. Your soup looks
    very delicious.

    1. Thanks Nana,
      I was surprised at where this soup brought me.

  8. Yeah, I really loved how the spices enlivened this soup. Your soup looks great.

  9. Diane, lovely post - what a teasure to own these photographs! So glad that you enjoyed the unusual spicyness of this barley soup. We thougt it was quite an amazing change from the barley soups we usually eat around here.

    1. Thanks Andrea,
      The photos that my dad took in India are very special to my whole family. I have his war scrapbook and my oldest sister has some of his prints framed in her house.

  10. Great post, Diane! Loved the photos of India and of your dad! Such a family treasure! I would have loved to see that mural!
    Your soup looks delicious…I enjoyed it’s flavor, although I did cut the spice! However, it was not for Mr. Bill! Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. I enjoyed your photos of your dad (especially the one with the tiger) and that this soup brought back so many memories. What a nice connection.
    I can't remember whether you are a reader, but if you want to read a great novel about the building of the Taj Mahal, check out Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Marble-Sky-John-Shors/dp/0929701976

    1. Thanks so much for the book recommendation. Looks really interesting.

  12. What a lovely tribute to your father Diane. His photos are a very special keepsake. How nice that you were able to connect with those memories through Dorie's soup.

  13. Food evokes so many memories and connections and it's wonderful that this soup inspired to share such lovely stories about your Dad.

    1. I agree food is powerful. I think it's that smell is such a great memory trigger.

  14. You paint quite the picture (no pun intended). So what happens when the house gets sold some day? Taking the wall with you? ;) I actually had a friend do that once lol. I love using barley in soups, etc. I've tried Farro too, but I found it to be so similar, it didn't seem worth the additional cost. My problem with things like curry and garam masala is that you first try them in something and love it, then try it elsewhere and realize it's not always the same. It can be tough getting that same flavor you initially fell in love with. :( [#TastyTuesdays]

    1. My brother owns the house so the wall isn't going anywhere soon. I think when you use a traditional spice in a non-traditional dish you have to do with knowing that your intention is not to make an authentic say Indian dish, but a fusion dish... something that just has a different enjoyable taste. Especially with something like barley soup which can get a little dull.

  15. Mmm this sounds delicious Diane. What a rich history, and love your father has left behind.

    1. Thanks Adelina,
      My father's scrapbook is something my whole family treasures.

  16. G'day! Really enjoyed your post today!
    Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Foods we loved from childhood party!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Perhaps you can add out link to your Friday List too! Thank you!

  17. It has been cold and rainy here and your soup would be a perfect soup to try. Thank you so much for sharing your special recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen


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