Last month I was lucky enough to get to meet and talk with Madhur Jaffrey, and my profile of her is in this month’s Chronogram. There wasn’t enough space in the magazine to include all the fascinating topics she covered. My favorite bit was the fact that before the New World plants like chili peppers were introduced to India, the only hot spices they had were black pepper and mustard seeds. She says that in remote villages, there are still old recipes that call for two big spoons of black pepper, showing that the taste for heat was there and explaining why capsicums were so enthusiastically embraced.
She’s a living legend, a true embodiment of positive globalization, and the giant upon whose shoulders someone like Padma Lakshmi stands. What stayed with me the most after our talk was that she has attained her success by being absolutely herself. There’s not a shred of affect about her; she is as warm, open and honest in person as she is on the page. Listening to her speak is like reading her writing. It’s a powerful lesson in sincerity.