I’ve already been home nearly a week, but denial is hard to shake. It turns out that spending two January weeks in Key West and South Florida is a good thing—especially if you have recently been diagnosed with vitamin-D deficiency.
I was lucky enough to be at the Key West Literary Seminar for both weekends of The Hungry Muse: An Exploration of Food in Literature. That meant six days of listening to everyone from Billy Collins to Roy Blount Jr., Judith Jones to Madhur Jaffrey, and Adam Gopnik to Jonathan Gold. And Calvin Trillin (whose hand I shook-hey, I can be as star-struck as the next guy)! And Julia Reed! Oh, just go check the line-up for yourself.
Between the two seminars, I spent a week in an inspiring writing workshop. It was in workshop one morning that I heard Madhur Jaffrey would be cooking breakfast the next day at Help Yourself, a small natural food restaurant in Key West. The meal came about because Charlie Wilson (the owner), often found herself with curry leaves after Monday market, and didn’t know what to do with them. Jaffrey offered to show her.
News of the breakfast leaked out, and then it was cancelled, and then it was on again, and cancelled again. I decided to take a chance and go, just in case. I love it when I do the right thing.
Jaffrey mixed together tomatoes, scallions, curry leaves and cilantro.
To the pan she added various seeds: red pepper, fennel, mustard, and cumin. Then the tomato mixture, and finally eggs.
Along the way she enlisted her husband to help beat the next batch of eggs. He was already toting her purse for her.
Breakfast! Served with a side of cumin scented home fried potatoes.
I can easily say this was probably the finest meal I had in Key West. Simple and delicious. If you want to watch her from a front row seat, here’s the video: