The extent to which I am familiar with Indian culture is that which I’ve seen in movies like “Bend It Like Beckham”. Last year, though, I found a blog called Rainbow – The Colours of India hosted by my blogger buddy Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee (Mukherjee). Sanghamitra is an avid traveler and photographer who captures some of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen. She has become my personal version of National Geographic. 🙂 I’m in awe of people who can just pack a suitcase and hit the road (or skies, or water) without reservation or hesitation. I’m the consummate homebody, so I live vicariously through those brave, happy-go-lucky souls.
Sanghamitra’s photos of the bright colors of India, along with her posts last Fall on Diwali (popularly known as the “festival of lights“), inspired me to try my hand at a table that celebrates the festival which generally begins in October/November. This Diwali-inspired tablescape is by no means “traditional” or “authentic”, but it is my attempt to capture the colors, smells, tastes and feel of a country I admire but will never see in person. I think it fits right in with Cuisine Kathleen’s “Destination Challenge” this week!
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)
Each place setting begins with a gold-leafed glass charger. The amber glass dinner plates are from Pier 1, and the 222 Fifth “Ornamental Scroll” salad plates were a Home Goods find a couple of years ago.
Sheer gold napkins from Pier 1 are cinched with tiny child-size bangles purchased at a local market called Namaste India. It’s a fun place to shop with lots of different foods, clothing, jewelry and other items unique to the Indian culture.
A combination of opulent glassware includes gold-embellished tumblers that I bought at TJ Maxx in several different base colors (purple, red, turquoise) including the green pictured here. The purple gold-rimmed wine glasses were a Pier 1 find many years ago, and the leggy amber flute is from World Market. I love every opportunity to mix and match glassware!
The centerpiece that extends the length of the table is a mix of various components. Hot pink rose balls sit center stage atop a gold vase. Flanking the vases are graceful red gem-studded gold Buddhas that I found at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft store a couple of years ago. Multi-colored glass votive holders dot the rich swath of red & gold silk fabric placed diagonally and allowed to puddle onto the floor for dramatic effect.
Spices commonly used in Indian cooking are as beautiful as they are tasty. Coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, ginger, mustard seed, paprika and turmeric are just a few of the wonderfully fragrant spices that add zesty flavor.
Cinnamon, star anise, and fragrant bay leaf are other popular spices used in Indian cooking that produce a special flavor. Finish off the evening with a fabulous libation made with blue curacao liqueur.
I enjoyed my week off and got a lot done, but I’m glad to be back with all of you in Blogland! Please join me at Cuisine Kathleen’s for “Let’s Dish!” and at Susan’s place for Tablescape Thursday again this week!