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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Eat to Live, or Live to Eat?

Posted: September 14, 2009
by: Robert Jackson

Firstly my apologies for having left it so long to post in this column. The reason being that in the past nine months, I have moved home no less than twice! Once into a rented property while I looked for a suitable home to buy, and eventually the move into same once the deal was done. But now I am very happy to say that it is complete, and once again I can spend some time focussing on my passion…..food and hospitality!
My move has taken me from the south coast of England back to my original home town and preferred base - to the quintessential Regency town of Royal Leamington Spa located in the delightful rural county of Warwickshire, middle England.
And so I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a splendid, typically English summer which alas as the nights begin to draw in, is on the wane. These last few months I have enjoyed many a relaxed barbecue with friends and family in the garden and the occasional picnic in many an idyllic location. The weather may not have been balmy, but it has been a fairly typical English summer – beautiful warm sunny days interspersed with periods of rain and drizzle.
But one doesn’t choose to live in England for the weather! We choose to live here for so many other reasons. Like the undeniably beautiful countryside. Here in Warwickshire for example we are fortunate to enjoy elegant spa towns, chocolate-box Cotswold villages and exciting vibrant cities – all surrounded by farmland supplying the most wondrous fresh produce!
Yes, the produce – so natural, bountiful, local and fresh. In fact only this last weekend we had a farmer’s market in town. There I purchased the most divine, sweet and tender leg of lamb, freshly plucked vegetables and fruits, freshly laid eggs and hand-made condiments. Boy does that beat your average supermarket!
So yes, I am beginning to realise that I am indeed one of those folk who deftly falls into the camp of “living to eat”. Unlike another little friend who has recently come into my life……..I am now the proud owner of a Jack Russell Terrier! The last time I owned a dog I was in my teens, so it’s been quite a learning curve and I am enjoying every moment!
But just as I am a hardened “live to eat” individual, he is most certainly (like all pets)“an eat to live” character. He shows little concern for what I feed him, only that it is regular, and sufficiently plentiful! And like most pets, his attitude to dining etiquette is to say the least, VERY relaxed! Mmmmm……..I feel a new page coming on for my website – “Doggy Etiquette”!! One day perhaps!
And so for now, all that remains is for me to wish you many happy days of entertaining this coming fall. I for one intend to make the very most of them…….after all, it will soon be Christmas!!
Oh by the way, this is my little terrier….Jack:

Lord Vishnu

Posted: September 10, 2009
by: Ramesh Shani

About 20 years ago, at the age of 40, I did not know the effective meaning of deity. Though I was a strong believer in God, I did not have practice of any ritual in my life, even to the extent of lighting incense in spite of meditating very regularly and doing pranayams. I had a liking for Sanskrit chants though I do not understand the language. From a music store once by chance I happened to purchase a cassette on Vishnu Sahashtranama, not knowing what it really meant. I liked it to a great extent and played it for a couple of hours every morning for a very long period of time.

About 17 years ago I was making up my new house having employed an architect. A little before it came to finishing stage, I visited a crafts exhibition in which my supplier had brought a large collection of bronze statues of god and goddesses. Since my main business was exporting handicrafts I had developed a passion for them and had decided to have some for interior of my new house. I did not know which god to select as interior décor of my house. I selected one which had the best craftsmanship according to my choice, not recognizing his title or name. Since the house was not yet done, the architect put it in an ideal place with very ideal layout in my living room. Before I started to meditate every morning at 4 am I would go to this statue and remain silent before it for a few moments. Those few moments involuntarily gradually turned to minutes and then to many more minutes. During the process I often went into strange acts which were not in my conscious control. Once for 3 days in a row my right hand would form circles around the statue. On the third day some thing in me told me that I should be lighting incense. I used to export a lot of incense and used to gift them to relatives for their daily use but had never lighted one both at home and in office in my life until then. Now I started to use them and came to the statue with a couple of them lighted in my hand. I started hand movements of various types probably forming symbols of which one has prominently remained in my life till date. They would be circles in clock wise as well as anti clock wise direction. I began conversing with the statue. I started breathing along with him. The breathing link would stop when I raised any doubt about this happening in my mind. Upon mental questioning, he would inhale when I exhaled and he would exhale when I inhaled! I couldn’t be convinced more about the power that be.

Hindu males got to be having 6 strings of cotton thread across their body dropping from left shoulder what we call ‘janiyu’. (It is 3 strings for a bachelor). It is put on after an important ceremony performed between the age of 7 and 11. As we grow with more of our own sense, we discard it! With advent of time there are many who do not go through the ritual but the priest at the time of marriage performs a short ritual of it before the actual ceremony of marriage. I was the one who had discarded it. This statue made me come back to it. By way of my involuntary actions, I would draw thumb lines in cross direction on my body in which janiyu got to be worn. After a couple of days of this action, something in me told that I should re-start using the janiyu. Thereafter, I have had many experiences of energy work with my janiyu as a tool. I happened to share my experiences with one of my good knowledgeable friends. He came to see the statue and recognized it as that of Lord Vishnu the sustainer of universe! Lord Rama is one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu and my name Ramesh means worshiper of Ram. I now came to know my deity and came in practical touch with Him. Every morning there were new acts filled with different experiences until one day He shown bright illuminating light for a very long time during which I wept profusely all the time telling Him do I really deserve this form of His. At that hour there is no lighting in the living room except for a small halogen bulb above the statue.

This is one of my most memorable experiences of life. It taught me few lessons.

One is that life opens up upon right time without actually planning for it. Just being and respecting the moment is good enough to take one along the journey destined for. You couldn’t be running faster to reach. Each day is a step towards our destiny.

Having played the cassette of Vishnu Sahashtranama continuously for hours daily for a few years I was taken towards my deity Lord Vishnu. Even if I did not understand the meaning of those words or sounds they helped me reach Him. We come across advisers throughout our lives.

Advisors could be teachers but not guides. Each one of us has his own path for the journey. Nobody except your inner self could guide you on the path only if you follow your inner voice silently without even bringing to your notice that you are following your inner voice.


Ginger’s Rhubarb Pie

Posted: September 3, 2009
by: T.Alexander

Rhubarb Barb and Mark Stine have some competition! I’ve heard about Rhubarb Pie for years, but never thought much about it until Mark Stine wrote about his friend’s pie. Then, low and behold, my friend, Ginger, insisted on whipping up a Rhubarb Pie during a recent visit to Nashville.




First, let me say that Ginger and her husband Bill know the art of entertaining. From the moment you arrive at their cottage-like home on the Cumberland River, you feel as if you are truly welcomed and are at total ease. Of course, since I’ve been privileged to be their houseguest from time to time for over 20 years, I suppose it is natural to feel “at home.”


Ginger has a way of entertaining with simplicity and elegance. Her meals are always refreshing, healthy and delicious. Her presentation is original and with the dining room facing the rolling river, dinner at the time the sun sets is…well, surreal.


Rhubarb Pie2


So here is this Rhubarb Pie. Looks like something off the cover of Good Housekeeping, doesn’t it. Oh, I forgot to mention that our main dish was GourmetStation’s ocean sparkling seafood dinners. We tried a sampling of red snapper, salmon, sea bass, mahi mahi, sword fish and tuna steaks. Delicious.


Thanks Ginger and Bill, for another wonderful weekend!