Neeti Singhal was born and raised outside of Boston, MA. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.
Like many second-generation Indian-Americans, I grew up with flavors and aromas so rich they were capable of invoking the strongest feelings of nostalgia when I’d been away from home for too long. Whenever I would call my mom up to walk me through one of her recipes, pen and paper in hand to scribble down her hurried instructions, I’d find myself staring at a list of spices and the phrase a dash. It’s just a dash of this, she’d say or a dash of that. And truly, that’s the way she’d learn to cook those recipes from her own mom; she was part of the age-old oral tradition of passing recipes down in India. However, for the American child who’d been born into a food culture rather removed from the kitchen (and the farm), I had no concept of what a dash of one spice versus another could do to impact flavors. I had no sense of why certain dishes called for specific fresh herbs or why others required their dried counterparts. And at the end of the day, I just wished I had measured everything she cooked throughout my childhood and written it all down.