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April 28, 2020 9 mins

Simon Majumdar is a noted food critic and the host of the podcast Eat My Globe.

In our new bonus “From Home" series, Michael checks in with chefs and food personalities to bring you short audio glimpses of how they’re cooking during lock-down, which pantry items they’re utilizing, and what they’re looking forward to after life returns to normal.

We'll be publishing dispatches from this "pandemic pantry" several times a week. For more from Simon, Check out his two books “Eat My Globe” and “Eating for Britain.”

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to a new mini podcast called From Home. My
name is Michael Rohlman and normally I'm the host of
From Scratch on I Heart Radio. In recent episodes of
From Scratch, I've been reporting on the state of restaurants
in the food world during this global pandemic. What we're
hearing from the front lines is bleak, to say the least,
and we don't want to minimize that in any way. However,

(00:26):
I wanted to check in with some folks about simple
home cooking in an attempt to take us out of
our worried minds and into more comforting places. Guests on
From Home we'll be giving us self recorded updates on
what they're cooking, what's in their pantry, and what they're
looking forward to when life gets back to normal. For
this episode, our guest is a renowned food critic, a

(00:47):
great writer, a true lover of history, and a podcaster. Naturally,
ladies and gentlemen, without further delay, this is From Home
with This is This is This is from Home with
This is From Home with This is From Home with
Simon Majumdar. Here, everybody, I'm Simon Majumda, food critic judge
on the Food Network and host and creator of the

(01:09):
Eat My Globe food history podcast. And I'm recording this
from my tiny little apartment in West Los Angeles. Choose
one easy to prepare dish. There's become a go to
for you. What's your go to recipe? What have you
been cooking during quarantine? I have one recipe that I
am cooking all of the time right now, which are

(01:30):
these simple but really delicious almond flour biscuits. Are great
for anyone who's gleeting free or even keto. So the
recipe is super, super simple. Two cups of almond flour,
one teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of baking powder, two
beaten eggs, and five tablespoons of melted butter. That's it.

(01:51):
You can add some grated cheese to it. You can
add some chopped herbs to it. You can even add
a little bit of cooked bacon to it if you
want to. But you just mix all of that together,
scoop it out with an ice cream scoop onto some
parchment paper and a baking tray. Pop it in the
oven three d and twenty five degrees for fifteen minutes,
and you will get the most beautiful crumbly biscuits that

(02:12):
are wonderful for breakfast store, for putting cheese on top
and melting wonderful stuff. I am cooking them all the time.
Give them a try. What in your cover and take
a look in your cupboards. Once in your covering your pantry,
walk us through what you see. What are you started
up by? I think we're doing pretty well in terms
of our food supplies right now. My wife is very
very on top of the online ordering and keeps everything

(02:33):
well stocked up. So as long as we've got things
like the basics, We've got lots of salt and pepper.
I've got my spices. Obviously, I love to cook a
lot of Indian food, coming from an Indian background, then
I'm always going to be happy. We've got a lot
of dried products, so rice, pulses, lentils. Again, I love
to cook Indian dolls and I think they're very nutritious.
Right now. If you look into our fridge, we've got

(02:54):
plenty of vegetables in there, because I think it's very
easy to eat badly when we're in this lockdown situations.
Sometimes just go for fried food and which is comforting,
but not always easy to digest if you're not moving
around terribly much. So we've got lots of that. We've
got milk, of course, because I'm British. If I don't
have my cup of tea every day, I am not
to be dealt with um. And then in the freezer

(03:15):
we have meats, ground meats that I can turn into
hamburgers or I can make meat balls. Got belly pork
that I can turn into bacon or I can just roast.
We have pork shoulder which you can turn into many
many different things, scallops and fish and shrimp that I
make a really good panco crusted shrimp. And then the
other thing, of course, is I've got plenty of booze

(03:37):
because I like to have a glass of wine in
the evening, and also gin because a gin and Tonic
or a great martini is one of my normal little
treats to myself. And it kind of makes me think
that everything is going to be a okay. So just
go and look out for some dried food. I think
that's great thing to have on standby, and some tin food.
Tin chickpeas are a wonderful thing to have right now.
As I said, you can turn them into home Us,

(03:58):
you can add them into Sally, you can add them
with lots of other things. I like to cook them
with spinach and it's just going to give you an
extra hit of protein. But right now, as long as
we can get those delivery orders, like everybody else, we're
doing okay on food supplies. Tell us about the dish
you eat when you want to feel comfortable, safe, nostalgia
we're taking care of. Why is your ultimate ultimate ultimate ultimate?

(04:20):
Is your ultimate comfort food? And why do you love
it so much? Am I allowed to choose to comfort dishes?
One comes from my very British heritage. And there is
nothing I love more than a great plate of fish
and chips, proper fish and chips, nice thick chips and
really crunchy better on a piece of card or handard
fantastic or whenever I have that, particularly when I splash

(04:42):
a malt vinegar over it just immediately makes me think
of home, makes me think of being a kid, makes
me think of going to the fish and chip shops
or the chippy as we used to call them back
in England. And it's one of the first things I
always have when I go back to London. Just to
have a great plate of fish and chip, wonderful stuff.
But I do want to add in more which is
my life saving dal literally the dish that saved my life,

(05:05):
something I make very often with red lentils and spices.
I mixed spinach through it and I serve it with
some hard boiled eggs. There's actually a recipe on my
website Simon majumda dot com, and go and try it.
It is like the Bengali chicken soup. It just makes
you feel really really safe and warm and happy. So
if you get chance, go and give it a try.

(05:25):
It's really delicious. From the food perspective, walk us through
what happens when this pandemic is under control? Do you
miss about what do you miss about chefs? What's the
first restaurant or marrow your visit? What will you order why?
Being a food critic here in Los Angeles for Time
Out Magazine, I obviously go to a lot of restaurants

(05:46):
all the time, So I'm really really missing just going
to any restaurant and seeing how they're operating. And I
just love the restaurant space and the people in the
restaurant industry are usually just remarkable. Wonderful people and I
love them. They're like family to me. So I'm really
missing every restaurant. But there's one here in l A
called Felix, which is my favorite, probably I think the
best restaurant in the city. Evan Funking makes incredible pastors,

(06:07):
just incredible food generally, the staff are amazing, they have
a wonderful wine list, and I go there really often
with my wife and love the people there, So I'm
missing that most of all. Beforehand, I'm going to go
into a great bar, lots of great cocktail bars around me.
I'm going to have someone make me a really fabulous
martini with gin and a twist, usually Plymouth Navy Strength

(06:29):
if I can get it, and I'm going to have
that martini. I'm going to go there and I'm going
to have a great meal at Felix, and that's going
to make me feel like everything is getting back to normal.
Back when I'm cooking, I like to travel around the
country and cook for people for the nonprofits that I support.
So that's what I'm looking forward to do, going into
someone's house, creating a menu with them, and cooking something

(06:50):
that's really nourishing and delicious, like roasting a great chicken
or a porkhetta, making really warm, comforting food that they're
going to love. Something she easy, like a potato gratouse,
something with cream, something that's just going to make everyone
feel cared for and nourished again. So just nourishing body
and soul. And that's what I'm looking forward to do
as soon as we can get out of this situation

(07:12):
safely for everybody. Is there any message you have for
listeners right now? Give back anything they should do to
support their local hospitality industry workers to support take care
right now? There are three nonprofits I really love to
give a shout out to Guy Fieri's. Restaurant Relief America
is a nonprofit that's supporting everybody in the restaurant industry.

(07:33):
I know they've raised millions and millions of dollars and
people can get a grant for I think it's about
five hundred dollars that's going to help them through this
time when people aren't earning any salaries or gratuities and
they're really struggling, So do try and support that. The
other one is in similar but in Los Angeles area
of southern California, areas called the Golden Rule Charity, lookout

(07:56):
for them. They're doing the same. People can apply for
them for grants entire times of hardship and that we're
certainly in that now. And the third one is one
of my favorite organizations, which is called Convoy of Hope.
Convoy of Hope to do a lot of work around
the world with child hunger, women's empowerment, agricultural development, but
they also do a lot of work during disaster relieves

(08:17):
here in the United States, and right now they're doing
a campaign called the ten Million Meal Campaign where they're
trying to give ten million meals to people in need
at times when they're just not able to feed themselves.
So if you have time, and you have budget, and
you have the inclination, do go and listen to them
what they're doing, because I think they're doing amazing work.

(08:37):
But if you can't, just go and support everybody in
the industries that you work in, because there are a
lot of people out there having a hard time. So
let's just be kind and try and be good to everyone. Finally,
it's important to keep our spirits up at a time
like this. Not you'd love it if you'd share your
favorite joke here's a joke, a joke. Oh gosh, oh,

(08:58):
I've got to come up with the joke. Oh, I know,
I've got brilliant one. Why does karl Marks only drink
green tea because property is theft? Sorry about that, se
sit by. So now we know how Simon is getting
by during these difficult times. I, for one, I'm going

(09:19):
to check out his sight and make that dill he
talked about. I'll be checking in with different people a
few times a week, so please stick around for more
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