Though I love experimenting in the kitchen and developing new recipes, sometimes all I want is a tried and true recipe. Tonight we had a very traditional South Indian meal- white rice with a carrot and chayote sambar. Sambar is a savory vegetable lentil stew that is a staple dish in every South Indian home. The vegetable used in the sambar, chayote, is a type of gourd or squash- perfect for the fall season! The side served with the sambar, was an okra poriyal- okra sautéed with onions, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, and coriander powder and tempered with mustard seeds, red chilies, and curry leaves. The flavors of food we grow up with elicit an emotional response, a sense of comfort. I felt like I was channeling my mom, my grandmother, my aunt, my mother-in-law and all the women of South India who've made variations of these same dishes. This sense of connection highlights the necessity for preserving family recipes. If you haven't already done so, I'd recommend you start writing down those simple family recipes you've eaten for dinner numerous times growing up. What's wonderful, is that they don't have to use fancy ingredients or difficult techniques, just taste good and connect you to your family memories.