Why another food blog?
When I embarked on my cooking journey during my teenage days, I used to learn about recipes from my mom with vague measures. Each time I made a dish, it would either be a great hit or a total disaster (or as my family now jokes “emilbus” – the literal opposite of the word “sublime”). I found it difficult to achieve consistency. When I learned to bake, I understood the importance of precision in measurements and the specific steps in a recipe. I noticed ‘consistent’ results each time I followed a well-documented recipe. When my daughter started to learn to cook at school early last year, I realised I should pass on my family-favorite recipes to her and of course, to my son. I started making notes each time I made a dish and this helped with the final outcomes too. With family and friends noticing the results during parties and other events, I started getting requests to share my recipes. I figured it’s best to document it all in one place anyway…one step led to another and here I am writing about what I love at Sublime Recipes
⚠️ Warning – philosophical gyaan ahead! Some of the content below may not resonate depending on your individual journey and beliefs. But if you’re interested in what drives my relationship with food and how I think through recipes and put those up on the blog, read on!
What types of foods feature on Sublime Recipes?
My husband and I are passionate about a few values that drive what we eat, and which by extension drive the recipes you’ll see on Sublime Recipes. I’m not a trained chef, nutritionist, or dietitian. I am just a mom who loves to cook and serve healthy meals – with an eye on making the taste sublime – so keep that in mind if you plan to follow any of these 🙂
Ethics (vegetarian > plant-based)
My recipes are all vegetarian. While you will occasionally find recipes
that include eggs and dairy, I am in the process of minimizing their inclusion and will include plant-based alternatives for those ingredients wherever possible
I am grateful to be born in a family of ayurvedic doctors where eating healthy food was key to preventing many of the ailments that afflict modern society. Appa (my dad) would always quote a proverb “One can paint only if there is a wall”. This means you can achieve something (paint it with your dreams/imaginations) only if you are healthy and standing strong (like a wall). Since we are what we eat, this is probably the most important guiding principle (closely followed by the last item on this list). Here are a few simple guidelines I follow
- Processed Foods – No microwaveable dinners. In fact, wherever possible, I also tend to make foods from scratch to minimize the intake of preservatives
- Buy organic especially if it’s on EWG’s dirty dozen list. When I sometimes don’t have organic options, I switch over to the conventional version – eating fruits and veggies in any form is better than skipping it just because the organic version isn’t available
- Emphasis on whole grains / no all-purpose flour in any of my recipes
- Sugar / sodium – I go for low/no-sodium versions of foods (e.g. canned chickpeas) when available. Similarly, I watch for added sugars in all foods I buy. I don’t make a big distinction between white/brown sugar or between honey, molasses, etc. At the end of the day, they all contribute to ‘added sugars’ and need to be limited. Artificial sweeteners are an absolute no-no
- Fats – The main guiding principle around fats has to do with diversification. Strong emphasis on healthy fats – avocados, nuts/seeds/nut butters, dark chocolate. Cooking oils – This is a controversial / confusing topic, especially since the science is so inconclusive on this – e.g. coconut oil is touted as a superfood by some and reviled by others. Since different oils have different benefits and shortcomings, I use diversification to hedge my bets. Ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sesame oil – you’ll see all of these show up in my recipes. And yes, you’ll also see butter show up here in sublime recipes where recreating the traditional taste matters more than its health disadvantages 😋
- Supplements – With a balanced diet, I feel my family gets almost all the nutrients we need. That said, there are two vitamins that my family does take supplements for – vitamin B12 – since a predominantly plant-based diet can fall short on this, – vitamin D (I was surprised when I moved from Houston to Calgary and asked my doctor to include a Vitamin D test as part of my blood work and he said it’s not necessary. He went on to add that given the long winters here, almost all Canadians are vit. D-deficient and need to take supplements)
Sustainability / Environmental Impact
The prospect of leaving behind a planet to our kids that’s worse off than the day we inherited it is frightening (and shameful). And food has a big role to play in this – the acceleration of deforestation in places like Indonesia because of palm oil production, the consumption of ‘blood avocados’, the water footprint to produce a single egg – all of these topics can get overwhelming pretty fast. We’re already vegetarian (which is a huge win compared to animal products in terms of making a positive environmental impact). So what else is in my control?
- Reduce waste – the amount of food that Canada and the US waste each year is mind boggling (go to any elementary school cafeteria to see it in action). So it’s an absolute must that we lick our plates clean, even if my trial-and-error recipe is a disaster. When I work through recipes, I also try to provide pointers on how to ensure leftovers are stored/reused
- Go organic – the carbon footprint of reduced pesticide production is not trivial (not to mention, the other health benefits of going organic)
- Buy local – by going to the local farmers market, not only is our produce fresher/more flavorful but the transportation footprint is minimal since it’s not being shipped halfway around the world; even in supermarkets, I try to minimize the purchase of imported products (e.g. I buy flour made from Canadian wheat as opposed to the Indian wheat flour that dominates Indian stores) – every bit counts
- Grow your own – when I was in Houston, it was awesome to use peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers from my backyard garden. Unfortunately, this came to a standstill after I moved to an apartment here in Calgary. But if you have the opportunity, try it out – gardening is a therapeutic activity in itself
You will find the site lean towards recipes for traditional South Indian cuisine, especially those age-old recipes passed on from my relatives. Recording them helps satisfy my nostalgia and keeps part of my culture alive for my kids. That said, my husband and I also love exploring other cultures and are huge foodies (see ‘About Me’). So you’ll definitely see a few unique recipes from the rest of India and other world cuisines! A big source of inspiration for many unique recipes on this blog comes from the unique restaurants I visit – and my endless hours trying to reverse engineer what I enjoyed most there. Variety is certainly the most sublime spice of my kitchen.
Instead of sticking to rigid beliefs on foods one must eat or avoid, it’s important to evolve, especially when you move to different places and need to adapt to new local foods and new ways of cooking. In addition, I frequently watch food documentaries and research online because the science of health / nutrition keeps changing and it’s important to evolve along with that. That will translate occasionally to the content on this blog – i.e. I may change course from something that I was a big fan of, based on new research
And finally the KEY
The main philosophy I try to make sure we follow in our household is that moderation is KEY (Keeps Everything Yummy). Nothing tastes good if it’s too salty or too sweet and so do our food habits. In other words, no binging. However, life’s no fun without the occasional indulgence. So while I will share healthy recipes, you will also be certain to find a few sinful desserts or buttery delights that are worthy of enjoyment on special occasions. The principle of moderation and balance also means that you’ll not find sublime recipes geared towards the latest fad diet.
How is content structured on Sublime Recipes?
Since my primary goal was to document recipes for my children, I try to strike a balancing act across a few different objectives
- The content needs to be targeted at total newbies – as such, the instructions need to be somewhat detailed enough, which may be overkill for more experienced hands. This also means, that I need to provide as much precision as I can provide, especially in measurements of ingredients (that’s why I try to stay away from
measures such as ‘handful’ or ‘heaped spoon’ as much as possible)
- While the content needs to be detailed, I couldn’t afford going really verbose given the short attention spans we have these days. The content should be as ‘to-the-point’ as possible. I try not to clutter my recipe posts with random life stories or what I did that day. The only thing I try to add to each recipe is a bit of a backstory at the very end
- Each post should let you dive straight into the recipe with simple steps and corresponding pictures. You can also jump straight to a recipe card to save to your favorite app or print. Minimalism is an overarching guiding principle across the site
- While the content is currently text and photo-centric, be on the lookout for videos that will launch this year
When my son asked me to get him a Lego Millenium Falcon set, I did not think it would be too complex for him. And why is that? How do we know that the young kids would be able to assemble such intricate toys? The answer is in the brilliant simplicity of Lego’s instructions – they have well marked pieces, they don’t skip steps (or leave it to your imagination), and importantly, they include photos to guide the little ones. When you break down any complex problem into simple constituent elements, you can build anything. This applies to many things in our lives – managing time, organizing our home, prepping for exams or even – you guessed it – cooking an elaborate dinner. When you follow a well-written recipes, even a novice can dish up a masterpiece (remember Gusteau from Pixar’s brilliant movie Ratatouille – “anyone can cook”) and that’s what drives Sublime Recipes 😊
Thank you for stopping by. What did you think of the content philosophy and food philosophy of Sublime Recipes? Please do share your comments below. Your feedback will help me improve and share better recipes with you.