I have been tagged for un même by a dear friend in Real Life, the gorgeous Mrs T.
Mrs Trefusis, an Important Person in the Glossy Magazine World, writes a lyrical blog called Mrs Trefusis Takes A Taxi, (“because she eschews sensible shoes”). She can write eloquently and beautifully about any subject, which is the reason why I am addicted to her blog, be it on A Working Woman’s Dilemma to On Beauty and Looking Younger to writing about life at home with her Trefusis Clan. She is self-effacing, beautiful and witty. Here is the link to her blog.
In “My blogs to watch in 2010“, Mrs Trefusis has tagged me to write 10 things about myself. In true Pakistani tradition, I shall go with Eleven- we always make it an odd number- which is auspicious and symbolises continuity.
So, my Eleven:
1 I don’t like Michelin star restaurants (oh, the scandal, the sacrilege, Shayma!) and have no desire to go to any, ever again. I am a street food nut and adore simple and simply prepared foods, like spaghetti al pomodoro ciliegino, pizza al taglio, assam laksa and erm, a slab of foie gras with crusty bread. (I do bend the simple rules once in a while). Oh, and samosas near Liberty Market in Lahore (my photo of the greasy, crispy triangles, above).
2 The one material possession I would not like to live without is a bespoke emerald and pearl ring given to me by Amma, my mother-in-law. Handcrafted in Karachi, it was given to her by her mother-in-law when she got married and passed down to me as a family heirloom. I wear this ring on my index finger everyday of my life.
3 My favourite perfume is made by Diptyque. It was gifted to me many years ago by MrsT and I have used it ever since, loyally. Obviously, I asked my husband to take this photo. Bien Sur.
4 My favourite restaurant in the world is Tutti Frutti, in Testaccio, Rome, Italy. (NB: This restaurant has changed ownership as of 2011, under the same name, but sadly, I no longer recommend it). My best friend and I used to go there every month. We always ordered the same seasonal dishes. The curly puntarelle prepared by the owner Michele’s Bangladeshi Chef, were our favourite, he knew how to get the salt, garlic, anchovy combination just perfect. We went there numerous times with many other people, and in the end, decided the food just didn’t taste as good with anyone else. We were quite anti-social like that.
5 My most memorable vacation was when I was 11- we traveled across Spain and Portugal with my parents, spending time in every Paradores and Posadas on the Iberian Peninsula. Baba, my father fell asleep at the wheel and we all almost died, but those are just details. We ate a lot of steak with a wobbly fried egg on top and garlic prawns in small terracotta dishes.
6 Even after having spent summers and endless vacations in Paris, I still want to discover each and every single caves à manger, bistro, bar, museum, l’épicerie fine, tearoom. I am always looking for Le Poiré de Normandie. Not easy to find in Paris, but one of our favourite restaurants, Café des Musées, serves it. I love it so much, I want it for breakfast. It’s made with pears, that counts as daily fruit intake, doesn’t it?
7 The longest I have lived in any city (barring Washington, DC) in one stretch is Rome, Italy. I love it and miss it every single day. I took this photo from Il Giardino degli Aranci, a few metres from my home. I can still hear the crunch of pebbles under my shoes, walking towards the end of the park, under the bitter orange trees.
8 Some of my favourite movies are Non Ti Muovere; Bridget Jones’ Diary; Le Cerf-Volant; West Beirut; Sliding Doors; Love, Actually; Four Weddings & A Funeral; L’Ultimo Bacio; Bella Martha; Ferzan Ozpetek’s films; the genius Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Decalogue, (especially “I Am the Lord Thy God“) and Red, both by Krzystof Kieslowski; Amelie, and Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups.
My sisters will claim I also love Chasing Liberty. Hrmph, I say. I ain’t bovvered.
9 My favourite writer is hands down, Coetzee, Coetzee, Coetzee.
10 I love several cookbooks, but it is through Marcella Hazan that I learned how to improve my Italian cooking skills, before I had even moved to Rome. Thankfully, even pre-Marcella I never added cheese to my seafood dishes. Ma che schifo!
11 I can’t do a Top 11 about myself without mentioning my Baba. He doesn’t cook but he adores anything that comes out of my kitchen, (but when it’s bad he says so). We read the FT together on weekends. Or sms each other about which article to read when we’re not together. He keeps a folder, (very old school), full of newspaper cuttings for me. He is known to enjoy a Partagás, quote Keats and Mirza Ghalib, and speak Armenian and Punjabi like a local. He has more ties than I have shoes.