We invited Priyanka, a dear friend and member of our community in Jordan to share something about family, pepper and pickles. It’s gold. Over to Priyanka…
Perhaps one of the toughest questions for me to answer is when I am asked, “Where are you from?” It is a question I have grappled with for a long time as a third culture kid. I guess my true north has never been a place, but rather a person. My grandmother. Our shared love language was food – we used to bake together, discuss recipes over the phone and I was a very willing guinea pig when she experimented with new flavours/techniques.
Perhaps the greatest gift she gave me was a way to bring together my Indian roots and Bahraini upbringing. One year, while visiting us in Bahrain, she looked at the date palms in our garden and declared, “I am going to turn those into a pickle”. And so began an annual tradition in our family that continues to this day where my parents make date pickle – I can try to describe this for you but really, you need to taste this vinegary, mustardy, spicy, gingery, garlicky, sweet concoction for yourself. Originally envisioned as a condiment for Indian food, it pairs just as well on a cheese board. Or as Haya and Andrew discovered last year, it comfortably assumes prime position atop chicken liver paté. My grandmother would have been very tickled by the idea of her humble date pickle getting a fancy update!
In September 2021, my sister and I stumbled upon Junoon in NYC where they serve a dish called Tellicherry Duck. We promptly informed the staff that we are in fact from Tellicherry where this beautifully rich peppercorn originates and so they better not *insert expletive* this up! I left the restaurant filled with memories of the smell of pepper vines from my Grandmother’s garden, the taste of her curries and – most importantly – her ever enduring love. I am excited to share some of my secret stash of Tellicherry peppercorns with Haya and Andrew to see how they bring this often overlooked supporting act to the mainstage.
I am grateful to have found people in Amman who understand that a meal is not just about sustenance. It is about the care, thought and passion that goes into every detail – from the provenance of the ingredients to the flavor combinations that set your taste buds alight. Vicarage & Sons have curated a space where our diverse backgrounds and social identities are welcomed, celebrated and reflected on the plate. A place where I take great joy in sharing memories and creating new ones with a community of dedicated foodies!