Play off season is upon us and I have a confession to make. I lived in the Chicago area for 7 years and was secretly a Green Bay Packers fan. If you know Chicago, you know that it is Bears territory. As in football. As in, rivals of the Green Bay Packers. I would always sit quietly at games while everyone else rooted for the Bears and secretly cheered when the Packers won. I will also confess that the initial reason for being a Packers fan was their quarterback…..Aaron Rodgers. You see Aaron Rodgers is from California. I was also a California transplant in the Midwest and I think I felt a kinship with him. I got to know more about the Packers and loved that they were owned by the city of Green Bay and that there was such a sense of belonging and kinship around their love for the Packers. It made football less commercial and more….welll…tangible to someone like me, who felt distanced from this game that was as American as apple pie.
Growing up in a time where there were few people my age who were of Indian origin, I often felt different than my predominantly non Indian friends. I grew up in a great neighborhood and had good friends but I often hid my Indianness and tried to be more American. I wouldnt eat Indian foods in front of them and was embarrassed to wear Indian clothes out in public. I was one of three Indian kids in my entire elementary school and as a kid, the last thing you want to do is to accentuate your differences. I slowly started using food as a common vehicle of cultures. I would often attend barbecues, force my mom to make pancakes, and eat mac and cheese. It wasnt until college when I fully embraced my own amazing culinary heritage. I introduced many non-Indian friends to the beauty that is a samosa. A samosa is basically wheat dough filled with potatoes and/or meat and deep fried. I have yet to meet someone who does not like it. It was a gateway food for many friends who slowly started eating more Indian food after that first entry point.
As it turns out my husband had a similar experience with fitting into a culture that was different. He came to the United States for grad school and for his first job he was stationed in, you guessed it, Wisconsin. He said he felt out of place and couldn’t find a common connection point. Everyone was nice, but it was hard to really connect with people he felt so different from.
Enter Football.It is hard to find anything as quintessentially American than football. My husband started watching football. He realized he LOVED the game, the strategy, the drama, and the last minute Hail Mary throws. After we got married, we would watch it together, I finally started understanding it and although I didn’t (and still don’t) quite share his enthusiasm for the game…I get why he loves it. It connects him to people. He can go into a room and even if he might not like the same food, have grown up in the same environment or even enjoy the same movies, he speaks the same language as someone when he says “hey, did you see the game last night?”. All barriers are down, people get really animated and the conversation starts flowing.
This samosa recipe is a combination of that love of football and food and the power of both to bring people together. This recipe uses wanton wrappers as the outer shell, traditionally samosas are made of wheat dough, the wanton wrappers are a great substitute and much easier to handle and make a bite size snack. These are also pan fried and not deep fried, making them that much healthier and a fun non-game day snack as well. These ground turkey/beef or vegetable samosas are easy to make, kid friendly, scrumptious to eat, and a perfect game day or tailgating snack.