Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Comfort Food

Rich, bubbly tomato soup with crunchy toast and an old Shah Rukh blockbuster - a perfect combo to beat dreary winter evenings.


Come Christmas time the stores are flooded with Scottish Shortbread Cookies. I don't like the ones with the granulated sugar sprinkled on top - but will take them when we run out of the plain ones. Sit in front of the blazing fire, with hot cups of tea to dip these delectable cookies into with a game of scrabble or monopoly.


When I was a kid my mom used to make what I consider the best rajma I've ever eaten. The secret apparently is that she didn't really put any special spices into it. I came across this recipe - probably that's the way Mom used to make it. I'll have to check with her. Rajma and hot rotis make for a simple but delicious winter supper.


Last but not the least - our very own erstwhile rasam! I love melagh or pepper rasam - followed by tomato rasam. We don't normally drink rasam like soup but prefer to mix rasam with hot rice and a dollop of ghee. Pure heaven!

(P.S. Is it my imagination or is my waist band getting a bit too snug?)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Down Memory Lane

I grew up in a small town, really beautiful, but isolated. Do you remember Maria in the "Hills are alive?" - well that town could easily replace the beautiful mountainside.

Being so small, there was just one little village shop - it's a wonder that he stocked everything from a pin to an elephant in those tiny premises. Grades 1 to 3 were in a tiny little convent school tucked away on a little cliff.

When I was about 5 or 6 the teacher wanted us to bring in a set of color pencils. Those days a brand called "Camlin" that comprised a dozen stubby pencils was all that you could get. All of us seethed in envy at one kid's magnificent metal "Steadler" box that someone had got him from abroad.

I told Dad he had to go to the little village store and get me a box of Camlin pencils. Unfortunately the store had run out and would only re-stock on their next trip to the nearest big town. I was totally disconsolate and devastated what was I going to tell Miss J and worse how would I bear the ridicule of my classmates?

The following morning had me weeping and wailing and being towed along to school by the maid. We walked through the roads of a big boarding school (where Dad was a teacher). Mrs. E, another teacher spotted me and when she found out all that despair was for a box of color pencils she promptly took me to her office and fished out a set of colour pencils and to my gratification - they were not the short, stubby pencils - but the longer 6 inch ones (like some folks say sometimes size does matter). My tears chased away and a smile on my face I set off for school again.

No doubt Mrs. E will not recollect this incident - but the fact I do remember this after so many years does show what an impression it must have made on my young mind.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Down Under and Rolling Pins

How many of you have rolled out "chappatis"?

I remember when we were kids our moms would call us into the kitchen and permit us to roll out the last 2 or 3 chappatis. We would brandish the rolling pin with great pride and carefully get them done.

Dads would accept the offerings with a show of great enthusiasm and joke about how they ate their way through Africa or Australia given the pathetic shapes of our chappatis. My dad the born school teacher he was, never lost an opportunity to educate. Out would come the dog eared atlas and the coincidence between our chappati shape and one of the continents would be pointed out as no mean feat of achivement, some fact and figures about the said continents would be sneaked in. Obscure jokes like small wonder the chapatthi was like Africa because it was as mostly dry like the Sahara would be bandied about.

Come a generation later - my offspring wants to try roll out a chappati. The proud mom hands over the dough and rolling pin and watches. (She has secretly downloaded Google Earth).

"EEEE--OWWWWW," goes the said offspring when he is done, "This looks like a gross underwear!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Resolution

The next time someone tries to be clever, and says something like "What part of 'do not step on the grass' did you not understand?" - I am going to reply, "All of it!"

Happy New Year folks.