Rare is the person that does not like an evening spent in good company and great food. Growing up in a gregarious family, every gathering revolved around food. While it was never a formal pot luck, guests thought nothing of rolling up their sleeves to help with the cooking. A lot of the food was cooked communal style. Marinated fish would be lugged across in city buses by loving aunts who then proceeded to fry and serve them piping hot at our home. A vat of chicken curry made the journey in the boot of a cousin’s car, to be served with my mother’s famous ghee rice. Paysam threatening to overflow from its container would arrive juddering gently along with a favourite uncle, on a shiny Vespa. These were long lunches, interrupted by steaming cups of tea and snacks that would eventually roll out into dinner. No one was allowed to leave before the end of the day, no one wanted to leave before then! And no one felt fatigued at the end of these gatherings. All the camaraderie, the chatter and gossip, the cooking and cleaning up done together by hosts and guests, profoundly increased the enjoyments of such gatherings. As kids we looked forward to these events, sometimes impromptu but always a great hit!
What would life be without small victories? Okay, sometimes it can be big victories like winning a lottery or landing that dream job! There are those times when the reason to celebrate may be big but the will to do so is smaller. Possibly fatigue, end-of-month budgetary situation or good old-fashioned laziness prevents you from making a big celebration meal. Or even going out to celebrate at a fine-dining restaurant. So how do you still make sure that your milestone is highlighted? By making a quick, simple yet not-so-ordinary dish.
How often have mothers the world over sighed loudly at the sight of uneaten lunch boxes that kids bring back from school? I know I have, in the early days. Until I hit upon the idea of making ‘faux gourmet’ foods for kids’ lunch boxes. It has been good since, with compliments given generously by the kids and friends of said kids. It is actually not a challenge; it only needs ample preparation. For instance I will know on any given Sunday night, what food will go into the lunch box for all days of the coming week. This is just to say I have most if not all the ingredients I may need for the big box project for the week. The trick: make it look good, as per the kids’ taste and a little bit exotic.
What got it all started?
Time runs figure eights around my ankles, like a puppy would have, had I given in to the kids’ pleas. Time has been sitting rather heavily on my shoulders these past few years since I quit my job, to be home for the family. Barring a few moves to other continents and back, a foreign language course, a regrettably short baking course and an annoyingly demanding online digital marketing course, little else occupies my mind or time. That ‘little else’ is taken up by food and window shopping of the online kind. But mostly food. Eating food, cooking food, buying kitchen wares, experimenting, watching food videos, food shows on TV.