Monday, August 31, 2009

First Meet, Tuesday September 1 (Oval)

I bumped into several of you today - it is good to see everyone back and ready for action. I am going to be away all of September and will only be back just in time for the festival. So we have some major planning to do and divide responsibilities. So, let us put our collective efficiency into action and set it all up! We start with a discussion on the Oval at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 1. Join us if you can - that's tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Bhutanese than Ever

This year, UM has the biggest Bhutanese contingent ever: 3 Masters students in Forestry, 1 Masters student in Journalism, 1 Masters in Music and 1 PhD student in Wildlife Biology. This is by far the biggest group of Bhutanese in Missoula. Last week, I went over to the PEAS farm to check on the Bhutanese chilies and they were doing great - I bit on one to see how hot it was, and boy it was HOT! At the Farmers' Market on Saturday (yesterday) I went to see Josh Slotnick, Director of PEAS farm and co-owner (with his wife) of Clark Fork Organics to confirm dates for the festival. Passang Norbu (from Kuensel) and I stopped by our Tibetan friend Tshedor's stall for a while before heading out to the grocery store.

The only places I have tried tripe (goep) in the US are at Vietnamese restaurants (they serve it in Pho) and other Bhutanese homes. Of course you can pick up the fibrous bundle at Asian markets, but not in Missoula. So, we went to the only place where we could get it - WalMart! Yes, of all places. (I know, my friends Ari, Josh and other Missoulian locavores who despise any mysterious meat shipped across thousands of miles, but relish only local meat, including the bountiful game Montana offers, would be in shock, but this is only for culinary experimentation). Back in the kitchen I had to cook it for more than an hour to really get it into an edible state. Pressure cooking might have helped, on hindsight. But we did manage a good "goep paa" with Bhutanese dried chilies, spring onion, ginger and eggplant cooked in olive oil.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bhutan In Montana

In the Fall of 2007 a small group of Bhutanese graduate students at the University of Montana, with their Missoulian friends, organized a Bhutanese Festival - "Chilies and Happiness." The prime motive was to have a good time! And spread cheer the Bhutanese way - through good food, music, games and camaraderie. It was an instant hit and more than 200 people attended it. A good time was indeed had! More people started asking about it the next year and the second festival commenced. It has now become an eagerly awaited Missoulian Fall event. Soon (October 3, 2009 to be precise), we will happily host the third annual Bhutanese festival, as always, at the Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS) farm. This blog is about this event and others related to bringing a piece of Bhutan to western Montana. You can also view some of the slides from the first event on YouTube here.

Stay tuned for more information on this year's event! Save the date - Saturday, October 3 (starts at 4:00 PM till whenever...).