Monday, January 23, 2006

A taste explosion

So, you’re going to have to trust me on this one.

I recently spent a week in Mumbai (the city formerly known as Bombay) and rediscovered a treat that is to die for, or kill for, or at least to chow down heavily upon. Within the constellation of Indian snacks called “chaat,” there is one gleaming star of taste treats called “panipuri.” Not so much a food as a slightly messy event shared with total strangers, served correctly, panipuri brings together contrasting tastes such as hot/cold, sweet/sour, salt/bitter, soft/crunchy, and cooling/spicy into a curious admixture, fusion, conglomeration or



1. Any of various alloys of mercury with other metals, especially: a. An alloy of mercury and silver used in dental fillings. b. An alloy of mercury and tin used in silvering mirrors.
2. A combination of diverse elements; a mixture: an amalgam of strength, reputation, and commitment to ethical principles.

[Middle English, from Old French amalgame, from Medieval Latin amalgama, probably ultimately from Greek malagma, soft mass.]