July 13, 2010


jill & nishta |Blue Jean Gourmet

I am the product of two cultures–the American South and northern India–that  consider eating and storytelling to be sacred occupations.  Food and words are the  vehicles through which I work to make sense of the world around me: I love to eat, I  love to read, I love to cook, I love to write, and I LOVE to feed people.  Since 2009,  this space has been a place for me to share and to connect, and for that I am so  grateful.

By day, I teach high school English & humanities, and by night/in the summer, I write; I published a collection of essays, The Pomegranate King, in 2013, and freelance for various publications.  I am proud to be the founder and coordinator of Valentines for Veterans-Houston, an annual community fundraising event benefiting U.S. Military Veterans.

Memphis is my hometown, but I have called Houston, Texas my home since 2001.  I am blessed to live with my wonderful partner, Jill, who doubles as blog photographer, and our sweet whirlwind of a son, Shiv, who is three-and-a-half.  Jill’s favorite foods include coffee, steak, champagne, & chicharones; Shiv’s are whole milk, any kind of noodle, any kind of cheese, & any kind of fruit; my beloveds are hot tea, guacamole, masala dosa, & biscuits.

photo credit: Amanda Raney

photo credit: Amanda Raney

A note about adoption:

Our son was born in July 2012; we were in the room when he was born, took him home from the hospital, and finalized our adoption of him six months later.  It was the absolute best thing we have ever done .  We worked with this agency and we highly recommend them; we are also not afraid or shy about answering questions regarding the adoption process, so please feel free to contact us with any questions if you or someone you know is considering growing their family this way.

My work, elsewhere:

Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair [Guernica Magazine]

No Box Unchecked: How We Became a Family [The Mash-Up Americans]

Ritual, Love and Community: A 21st-Century Family’s Mundan Ceremony [The Aerogram]

My Non-Christian Best Friend [Christianity Today]

Telling stories in the new, multi-faith, multi-ethnic South [The Commercial Appeal]

How to Carry Grief: An Interview with Nishta Mehra [TROP magazine]


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bluejeangourmet (at) gmail (dot) com


Blue Jean Gourmet was born in May 2009.  Our beautiful logo was designed by Jason Prater; our custom WordPress theme was designed by Gus Tello & implemented by Zane Hasouris.

Sonya Cuellar was Blue Jean Gourmet’s exclusive photographer from its inception in May 2009 until August 2011; all pictures from all posts during that period should be credited to her, unless otherwise noted.  She is a talented freelance photographer and painter in and around Houston.

Photo content © 2009-2011 Sonya Cuellar & all other content © 2009-2014 Nishta Mehra, unless otherwise noted.



  1. Wow, Nishta….great stuff! Congrats!

    Comment by Jason — May 5, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  2. thanks, Jason! and I still owe you birthday cookies, so send me your address!

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — May 5, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  3. Looks great ladies! I’ll have to bring some of your H-Town goodness to the Upper East Side. Yum!

    Comment by Trude — May 5, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  4. WOW ladies!!! This is awesome!! I would love to join you sometime. Could I be the official “BJT” (Blue Jean Taster) 😉 I love FOOD and I love learning new recipes. Great job and this is going on my favs!!!

    Comment by Angi — May 5, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  5. Fantastic job ladies! Sonya, i am so proud of you and your exceptional talent! (tear!) love you and the woman you’ ve become!
    Already added to the faves list.

    Comment by annette — May 6, 2009 @ 8:14 am

  6. Nishta, the site looks awesome! And looks like a ton of fun– wish I could join y’all for a kitchen dance party with plantains. Looking forward to reading more!

    Comment by Nina — May 7, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

  7. Ok – you are fabulous, fantastic, superb, delish-kapish (as MaryGrove would say), all rolled into a beautiful package! Well done!

    Add some recipes for kiddos!

    Comment by Allison — May 8, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  8. Thanks so much, Al! Kiddo-friendly recipes (both making & eating!) are definitely in the plan.

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — May 8, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  9. Hooray! It’s beautiful and so are you. Much love and good food until the next time you’re in our kitchen …

    Comment by Katherine — May 8, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  10. nishta, this is pure genius. if anything/anyone is going to break the inertia of my so-so eating habits (example: dinner=chips and salsa, cheese, and “not the drink of my people” chai)… it will be you with this site! bravo.

    Comment by Annie — May 9, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  11. Katherine–thank you. can’t wait to be cooking in your kitchen again!

    Annie–I’m so glad to hear it; I hope I can be an inspiration and/or motivation. let me know how the progress comes along…and truly, no shame in the salsa, chips, & cheese dinner–I’ve so been there!

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — May 9, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  12. Great to see another Houstonian intersted in food! I’ll subscribe to your feed…please check out my site too…I blog about food, Houston (restaurants, of course), and keeping active!

    Comment by Stef — May 12, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  13. As an unabashed foodie who’s always looking for that rare food blog that’s worth going back to again and again, I am SO THRILLED that the first one I’ve seen that reminds me why cooking is so lovely–it brings us together–happens to be by one of the most amazing women I know. No coincidence. Nishta et al, congratulations on a job so very well done!

    Comment by Shea — May 12, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  14. thanks for checking me out, Stef! I’m looking forward to enjoying your site, especially future restaurant reviews–my biggest Houston weakness (and happiness!)

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — May 12, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  15. Nishta,

    I loved reading the excerpt. I felt like an invited visitor into the world of your youth. I cannot wait to read the published book.


    Comment by Charlyne Hochschild — May 18, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  16. Hi Ms. Mehra! This is Lindsay W (your student). I love your website and I am definitely going to be coming back to this site. Right now in tech, we are learning about blogs and you were our first blog.
    Lindsay W

    Comment by Lindsay W. — May 21, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

  17. Ms. Mehra,
    I LOVE this blog!! It is so cool. Next time I am going to cook I will look at your blog!! I love this website, and it is amazing! You are a great teacher!
    Meagan Glover (student)

    Comment by Meagan Glover — May 21, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  18. HEYY! I didn’t know you had a blog. Thats so cool! You never told us that. I am going to try one of your recipes for dinner tonight! But which one? They all look so yummy!!!! Will you make one of the recipes for your phish food class? (maybe one with chocolate?! LOL!)

    Comment by Sarah Horwitz — May 21, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  19. Nishta – I’m reading The Odyssey this summer (it’s about time – to keep up with the grandkids) and Finnegan’s Wake if I make it. Good luck to us both.

    Comment by carolyn — June 2, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  20. Carolyn–thanks for taking a look around here. The Odyssey is one of my favorites–I HIGHLY recommend the Fagles translation–so very lovely and eminently readable. I’m re-reading his translation of The Iliad now. Did you see “The Reader?” “Sing to me, O Muse, of the man…”

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — June 3, 2009 @ 10:18 am

  21. Nishta – I do have the Fagles translation and it is excellent. “The Reader” is a fine book – it blew me away – but I did not see the movie. Glad school is over.

    Comment by carolyn — June 4, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

  22. Hey ms. Mehra!!!! It’s Jamie! I didn’t know you had a blog! It’s cool… I don’t know how to cook, but i have always wanted to learn. Well, gotta go bye!

    Comment by Jamie S. — June 15, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  23. Just found your blog through an ad on Facebook. I love your style – I’ll be checking in regularly!

    Comment by Martha — June 25, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

  24. Hey! @foodloves here, stopping by to learn more about the Twitter friend who gives great Colorado tips! Sounds like we have a lot in common, as I’m also the daughter of an Indian immigrant (Mom’s mostly Italian), got my undergrad in English Ed and, obviously, have an obsession with food, food, food! Great to meet you. :)

    Comment by Shannalee — July 10, 2009 @ 10:27 am

  25. Shannalee–I’m glad you stopped by for a visit & I love that we have some aligned interests. welcome!

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — July 10, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

  26. Well ladies you know I love you both! Beautiful pics and fun reading…I’ll have to try out some of the recipes!

    Comment by Lauren Santerre — July 30, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  27. Hey, Nishta! I am a young blogger (I am blogging since one year about food) so it is no wonder that I am always thinking about food too 😛

    Wish you to drop by and see the zen of my kitchen!



    Comment by Oliver Binetti — August 13, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  28. […] About […]

    Pingback by FEELIN’ KINDA SUNDAY: A FOOTBALL-INSPIRED SERIES « Blue Jean Gourmet — September 11, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  29. Hi Ms. Mehra,
    It’s us! Yes, Danielle and Natalie. We just saw your website and it is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!! yah we LLLOOOVVVEE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    D and N

    Comment by Natalie and Danielle — September 16, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  30. Hey girl it’s Courtney’s Uncle Bubba.I love your sight i’m getting hungry already.Let me know if you want any of my recipes.

    Comment by Bubba Mallini — September 20, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  31. Hey Nishta! I found it! Website looks great. Maybe this will finally inspire me to cook more often.

    Comment by Julie — October 8, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  32. Julie! glad you found us, hope you’ll be back!

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — October 9, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  33. you guys are badasses!!!

    Comment by Penny De Los Santos — October 19, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  34. […] About […]

    Pingback by A BIRTHDAY & A WELCOME « Blue Jean Gourmet — December 31, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  35. You are amazing! I love your blog, this is SO WELL DONE! Way to go. I love it. Nice photos and lay out. I know it’s a lot of work…. Wow.

    Comment by Joy — January 9, 2010 @ 2:03 am

  36. Just found your blog from the HP Blog Stars story (http://www.houstonpress.com/2010-03-18/news/blog-stars) I’m not really a foodie but I am just in love with Sonya Cuellar’s food photography!

    Glad I find yall! Maybe I’ll learn to cook a thing or 2.

    Comment by Imelda — March 17, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  37. I love your website. You have some great insight on life. I will be a follower for here on out. I know, I sound country, can’t help it I am. Any of your eighth graders pick up your pearls of wisdom? I certainly hope so. I’m going to refer your site to my eighteen year old daughter. Your love of food, live and people are contagious. dd

    Comment by David D. — March 29, 2010 @ 9:33 am

  38. Looks like a terrific team! Love your site, and all its generous insight. You’re an inspiration.

    Comment by David — April 12, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  39. I love your website. You have some great insight on life. I will be a follower for here on out. I know, I sound country, can’t help it I am. Any of your eighth graders pick up your pearls of wisdom? I certainly hope so. I’m going to refer your site to my eighteen year old daughter. Your love of food, live and people are contagious. dd

    Comment by John — May 9, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  40. Hello Nishta. I can’t believe my luck in finding you. I worked with your father in 1982-84 and remember the day you were born. I honestly think he was the happiest man I have ever known. Your mother used to spoil all of us in the office by sending us wonderful things to eat almost every week that I worked there. I still remember like it was yesterday. Every Thursday or Friday Subhash would bring in the newest surprise from Veena and we all crowded around to see what it was…. to smell the amazing aromas and to sample the delicious dishes, most of which were new and unfamiliar to all of us. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory, but always lovingly prepared and given. We all bonded over those weekly experiences and I have thought about your parents so often over the years. I did not know your father had passed away until just this morning when I did a search for him on Google and found his obituary as well as your blog “Accidental Summer Soundtrack”. I read the last half with tears clouding the view of my computer screen, but it made me determined to try to find a way to communicate with you. I am so deeply sorry for your loss, Nishta. Your father was one of my favorite people I have ever known. Please feel free to write to me on the email address I provided. Please give a warm hug to your mother for me. I only wish your father was still around so I could send one to him, too. Take care, and I wish you all the best.

    Peggy Parker
    P.S. So happy to find your website, too! It really looks like something I will enjoy following regularly. BTW, you are truly a gifted writer.

    Comment by Peggy Parker — August 13, 2010 @ 9:44 am

  41. I am absolutely in love with you blog! These recipes look so yummy and I want to try them all! I greatly enjoyed meeting you today and i just love how the food you make reflects your personality. Best of luck to you in your culinary endeavours!

    Comment by Kyra Rice — September 10, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  42. Wonderful blog Nishta. I have added it to my blogroll.

    Comment by Hannah — March 7, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  43. found this via my search for a new macademia ginger cookie- must confess i will sub flaxseed meal and water for the egg- anyways LOVE your site. thanks!

    Comment by doe mora — May 12, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  44. Your work is absolutely beautiful. I ran across your blog today (linked to it by something your mother wrote, I think. I was drawn to your beautiful food pictures but absolutely seduced by your writing. You remind me of all of my favorite English teachers in the best ways possible. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful, thought-provoking and articulate work.

    Comment by Kasturi — July 15, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

  45. Kasturi – oh goodness, what a lovely thing to hear. thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to let me know that you are enjoying the site! and I will happily take being compared to favorite English teachers – what better compliment? glad to have you here.

    Comment by Blue Jean Gourmet — July 15, 2015 @ 10:38 pm

  46. Great story. I am so happy that you and Jill were blessed with your adopted son Shiv. And love the Mussel recipe :-)

    Comment by Eileen — November 13, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

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