Articles in the Lunchbox bites Category
I received a phone call from a photographer friend the other day, “Hello, Sanjeeta, there is a photo shoot day after tomorrow and I said yes to the client, believing that you are there to help me out with the ‘food styling‘ part.”
“You have to cook 15 plus recipes in the studio and style the same. Things moved too fast, and I could not ask for more time from the client.” He concluded hurriedly.
And I was like “What?”. From sourcing props, shopping raw ingredients, planning the shots and cooking recipes in the studio to styling the sets …all in a day’s time…single-handedly…
I use the exact ingredients, follow her instructions precisely, but my recipes never turn out to be as good as hers. No, not even the simplest ‘Dahi wale Aloo’, tastes the same.
“I dislike short-cuts in cooking. Ready-to-use spices in sachets or snapping those large plastic bags of flour are a big no-no in my kitchen.”. replied mom over phone, when I put forward my query to her.
“Well, you have loads of time to your discretion to make your own spices and grind flour, mom. I have to make-do with these short-cuts, until I get relieved from my family commitments.”. I replied and pacified my ego.
“Food is a gift and should be treated reverentially – romanced and ritualized and seasoned with memory” ~ Chris Bohialian
For some time now I was thinking about the spicy Chole (chickpeas) with fluffy deep-fried Bhature (flat breads), mom used to make during weekends in Udaipur.
The star ingredient of the recipe is Charmagaz. Charmagaz is an assortment of four different seeds of Cucurbitaceous plants. Musk melon, water melon, pumpkin and cucumber seeds together are called Charmagaz. Char is a Hindi word fo four and Magaz means intelligence.
Apart from making a healthy, filling and delicious snack, Charmagaz is extensively used in Rajasthani cuisine. If Rajput families use a paste of these seeds for their exotic non-veg cuisine then the Marwaris make scrumptious desserts using the same.
Breakfast bites, sandwiches, Veggies/curries »
My house resembles a NASA workstation during morning hours on weekdays. We all get up quite early and continue doing our routine chores, just as any robot will do. Though there is hustle & bustle of activities going around all over the house, a pin drop silence is always maintained, lest we forget to execute any task.
I get up at 5.30 am, brush teeth, rush out to get milk, go for a small morning walk, cook and pack the lunch & breakfast for hubby, all by 6.30 am.
There is no better way to start a day than with a hearty breakfast with your family!
Lunchbox bites, Veggies/curries »
“Hey, turn back and see who is sitting right behind you” hubby spoke to me in hushed tone during a special cocktail dinner party organized for the senior officials of his company in Leela palace last night.
I gently turned around to see a dashing young man in body-hugging white shirt and tight fit blue jeans behind me.
I used to wonder whether opposites really attract and do they make a perfect couple? But after being together for the last 20 plus years with him, I know for sure they do
The thrill of getting employed, striving for power, reaching high-income bracket and standing on your own, right after the college is hard to explain. Yes, twenty years back life revolved more around making money and gratifying the ego.
And then, in between the hustle and bustle of life, the seed to plant a tree of my dreams was lost somewhere.
But no regrets…it feels good that I had been there (employed) and done that (earned). As they say ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
healthy snacks, Lunchbox bites »
“Look at this pretty Idol of Sarawati with Veena, this one is more than 100 years old, it was passed on to me by my mother. And this white Shiva Idol….a friend of your Tatha’s father (great-grandfather) brought it from Sri Lanka about 70 years ago.” She wipes the idol gently and asks my son to place it on the ladder specially created for Navaratri festival.
For a change there is a silence at home for long, as the children are sitting patiently next to their grandmother, waiting eagerly for her to open that heavy iron trunk which is rusted beyond repair. I could see the amusement written all over their faces. The trunk which opens up with a creaky noise is like a Pandora box for them with small bundles of memories, moments and untold stories.
Her face lightens up each time she unfolds the fragile age-old clay dolls wrapped in small muslin clothes. I wonder how she never gets bored of narrating the (same) history of each Idol to my children, year after year…
And I am sure when they hold some of these Idols which belong to their fore fathers, it gives them a feeling of belonging and reminds them from where they came from.
I didn’t give much thought back then, but realized that this is a common topic of discussion among many parents I meet during school hours. “Our children spend years gathering useless information they’ll never use again” is the common complaint from many parents.
“You should always remember that school life does not end just with mugging up lessons and clearing exams. Your school life extends much beyond the backpack you carry, to some of the supportive friends you make for lifetime, creative lessons you learn from your teachers in studies and sports to the self esteem you gain in school.”
“Mom, make your Rajasthani Pasta again, some of my friends will be coming home after the movie and they have asked for it.” Informed son and left hurriedly to join his friends. Today he is off to watch a regional movie (Thalaiva) on his own, refusing any favors from us. From boarding a shared auto, booking the tickets and co-coordinating with his friends…my little dumpling is a grown up kid now.
I am not old enough to start reading fairy tales again…but its time I changed my parenting guidelines. When he waved bye and planted a kiss saying “Don’t you worry mom, I will take care”. I know I would have given anything to keep him little….
But then, I do remember that the best gift I can give to him is to allow him to do things on his own and let him believe in himself.
Living in two different cultures has more benefits than challenges, well, at least to me. I was born and brought up in Rajasthan and moved to Chennai after marriage. I did not anticipate the vast differences in food preference, rituals, languages and the climatic conditions between both the cities. But fortunately for me, except for the common language of communication (Tamil), my transition from one culture to other was seamless.
And yes, the barrier of language was broken long back. I can now converse in local languages (Tamil and Telugu) without getting conscious of my accents or worrying about grammatical mistakes