Soon Pushpa became prideful about her food, suggesting new dishes and cooking things she'd never made. I had a copy of Pushpesh Pant's heroically comprehensive India Cookbook, which has a thousand recipes spanning the subcontinent, but Pushpa refused to engage with it. It was an affront. If I wanted to make something new, she'd say, "I don't need that book." She wasted nothing, constantly figuring out uses for leftovers, which were often thrown into the dal or stuffed in parathas. Once she foraged in the fridge, emerging with some leftover ends of a fish we'd made a curry out of, a potato, and some wheat bread and turned it all into tikkis, or croquettes, with fried fish. Another time we had a giant bush of leftover dill, an herb always sold in unreasonable quantities. Pushpa cooked the whole thing with lentils and peanuts, creating a dish that was one of the most interesting I'd tasted in India—and have never seen, before or since, on a restaurant menu anywhere. Pushpa always favored "full masala," but I liked to use fewer spices, allowing a couple of strong tastes to stand out, like mustard seeds and curry leaves. We both liked quick-cooking, sweet lentils like masoor or mung dal, and I insisted on minimal oil.