Look! HUSH Has a New Look

Welcome to the new HUSH Supper and Storytelling website!  In order to ensure that you are seeing the new site, please bookmark www.hushsupperclub.com.  If you still see the saffron and black, you are at the old site.  Click here to see the new site.  The URL http://www.hushsupperclub.wordpress.com will no longer be used for HUSH.

The offending black banner and heavy, serif font are gone, and a softer, warmer color palette has replaced them.  Since the inception of HUSH, I envisioned an Indian-style script for the name.  If you like what you see, please share your thoughts.  If you don’t, share anyway. Feedback always helps make HUSH better.

With the new social networking icons, it’s even easier to connect with HUSH on Facebook, Twitter, RSS and via email. On the Reservations page, there is a new form for completing the questionnaire directly online. The Press page has also received a pleasing facelift.  Check out the Washington Post article about HUSH.

Many thanks to Tiffany Profet, my talented web designer.  She is extremely creative, efficient and affordable.  I cannot recommend her highly enough.  To see more of her work, click here.

Coming soon, a new slider featuring posts and images, as well as some fancy graphics and a way to share HUSH articles with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other websites.

A trivia question about the new look:

1. Why doesn’t ‘hush’ in the header have a line across the top?

Leave your responses in the comment section.  I will reveal the correct answer on Monday.

Seats Left for Supper this Saturday, June 26 at 7 pm

We have a few seats left and would love to have you join us this Saturday, June 26 at 7 pm.   Unfortunately HUSH mama was unable to join us this weekend, but the menu we prepared still remains.  It’s a special summer menu of organic, fresh, authentic dishes that honor the legendary street food of Gujarat.  We’ll have bhel puri, makai no bhel, pav bhaji, falooda, mango rus, chutney sandwiches, and dahi wada.  Don’t know what any of that means?  Come to supper and find out.  We’ll feed your curiosity as well as your belly with a spice tour and a thorough explanation of each dish on the menu.

HUSH uses only organic dairy, but will be adding as many organic ingredients as possible in upcoming suppers.  All organic ingredients will be listed on the menu.

Saturday, June 26 at 7 PM.  Donation $75

Please complete a questionnaire on the Reservations page to request a seat at the supper table.

Today is also the launch of a website design that we hope will play nice with all severs!  Will send more info about that soon.  For now, the URL you see might not be correct.  The correct URL for HUSH is http://www.hushsupperclub.net. Please bookmark that and ignore anything else that might be present while we make the transition.

The Seed of a Mango – Food Memories on Father’s Day

The seed of a mango is often the center of a conflict, at least when Indian children are involved.  My father, the family bully and later beloved patriarch of the clan, routinely won the battle over who got to suck out the juicy bits of a mango seed, leaving his 6 brothers and sisters crying and cursing.  A childhood of poverty forced sharing, or winning, at every meal.  When Papa emigrated to the US and his fortunes changed, he went from social Darwinist to generous benefactor. Able to afford cases of mangoes, he offered them to anyone who crossed his threshold.  There were the fruits themselves, mango lassi, mango rus, and mango pickle.  Summer meant sticky fingers and sweetness.

San Cristobal de las Casas. Municipal Market: Mango vendors

Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Chicago in the 1970s was not the international food haven it has now become, so mangoes were not available at the average grocery store.  Finding Indian mangoes was impossible because of trade restrictions.  Mexico was the exporter of choice.  Having a medical clinic in the Mexican barrio, Papa was happy to barter medical attention for mangoes by the case.  He would take orders over the weekend from all his friends, and visit the mercado on Monday to fill his trunk.   My brother spent his summer unloading 15-20 cases a week from Papa’s car.  When friends would come pick up their orders, of course my mother insisted they stop for chai, and eat one or two of our bounty sprinkled with cumin powder and salt before they left.

Papa made sure we could eat our fill at every meal.  I’m convinced he believed that part of the ‘giving my children a better life’ move from India included mango prosperity.  I grew up without sibling combat over seeds.  If my brother and I both wanted to suck the center, we just grabbed one for ourselves.   We watched Papa eat all the cut up pieces of mango, only eating the seed at the end.  Seeds were never the appetizer, always dessert.  We learned the proper technique for getting maximum pulp without it sliding out of our fingers and plopping on the floor.  Good times.

I lost my father seven years ago, almost to the day.   On Father’s Day this past Sunday, I called my mother. We acknowledged our loss, happy that we have each other.  For dessert I chose the ripest, plumpest mango I could find.  I devoured the seed, licked every finger, and relished the memories.


THE List of Underground Restaurants Worldwide, Brought to You in a SaltShaker

The FuNK Eye, Bhavishya Kanjhan, http://www.thefunkeye.com

In the land of Web 2.0 there exists an eyes-wide-shut kind of secrecy that only spies could formerly dream of.  For example, if in the privacy of one’s room, a Gujarati Jain girl were to get it into her head that she wanted to start an Indian supper club, call it HUSH, tell the world, make reservations, find volunteers, screen strangers and be featured in the Washington Post, she could manage it all without so much as showing her ankles or sharing her surname.  Why?  Because in Web 2.0 land, a website, email address, Twitter account, Facebook page and a mask can still equal anonymity.  Bizarre?  Tell me about it!

But therein lies the beauty for the underground culinary sleuth.   Where only a few years ago finding underground restaurants involved a trail of bread crumbs, today hundreds are ready to be found on a computer screen.  Luckily Dan Perlman of Casa SaltShaker has done the heavy google searching for you.

(I)n Web 2.0 land, a website, email address, Twitter account, Facebook page and a mask can still equal anonymity.  Bizarre?  Tell me about it!

Dan started Casa SaltShaker as a blog in Buenos Aires before his venture into the underground, or behind locked doors (puertas cerradas) as they are called in Spanish.  When Casa SaltShaker turned into a wildly popular secret supper club, he abandoned the idea of unlocking the doors and starting an official restaurant.

With seats filled and his waiting list weeks long, Dan decided to pay it forward on the web by compiling a list of other spots where people could dine.  Others wrote in to share their new finds, and the list continued to expand. Today, while not the complete list of all things underground, Casa SaltShaker provides the definitive starting point for anyone looking to share a communal table with strangers in a strange home or a strange land.

The Casa SaltShaker List

Do you know of any underground restaurants that aren’t on the SaltShaker list?  Please share with us!



New Supper Dates for June and Celebrity HUSH Mama Appearance June 26


New June HUSH supper dates are in – June 26 at 7 pm. HUSH’s mama will be making another celebrity chef appearance at the end of June.  We have been busy preparing a special summer menu of organic, fresh, authentic dishes that honor the legendary street food of Gujarat.  We’ll have bhel puri, makai no bhel, pav bhaji, falooda, mango rus, chutney sandwiches, and dahi wada.  Don’t know what any of that means?  Come to supper and find out.  We’ll feed your curiosity as well as your belly with a spice tour and a thorough explanation of each dish on the menu.

HUSH uses only organic dairy, but will be adding as many organic ingredients as possible in upcoming suppers.  All organic ingredients will be listed on the menu.

The new dates:

Saturday, June 26 at 7 PM.  Donation $75

Please complete a questionnaire on the Reservations page to request a seat at the supper table.


Share Your Garden Goodies at www.AmpleHarvest.org


The tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cilantro, basil and mint are in.  The HUSH garden has been tilled and planted.  Now it’s time to cross days off on the calendar until cherry goodness can be harvested and popped immediately into my mouth like candy from the gods.  Yet inevitably the happiness only lasts a week before it becomes abundantly clear that even HUSH can’t cook up enough delights to honor such abundance.   Then the mad scramble begins to ‘share’ the harvest with friends and neighbors.  The response?  The apartment dwellers generally squeal appropriately with gratitude, but others are either at the beach for the next month or in the same predicament – too many veggies and too few mouths to feed.

AmpleHarvest.org is an organization that connects gardeners with local food pantries, allowing them to donate their extra produce.

Enter AmpleHarvest.org.  A generous idea for hungry folks in need of fresh nourishment at the local food pantry. AmpleHarvest.org is an organization that connects gardeners with local food pantries, allowing them to donate their extra produce.  Brilliant idea, made possible by abundance, generosity, clever thinking, and the world wide web.  Pay it forward today.  Visit http://www.AmpleHarvest.org, find a pantry near you and start sharing your garden wealth.

If you know of a food pantry in your community that is not currently listed on AmpleHarvest.org, please register them so that they can take advantage of the campaign.

Ample Harvest’s website

CNN’s video about Ample Harvest