Saturday, March 13, 2010

Of Food, Cleaning Up and Panic

So the Fellow and I had our first dinner party last night. Needless to say, I was the one hyperventilating all through the day, cooking, tasting, cleaning, supervising (the maid), re-tasting, organising and trying to get the Fellow away from this computer long enough to help out some. The Fellow, on the other hand, dusted off the bottles of alcohol, made sure the beer was refrigerated and checked if there was enough ice to last through the night. Yes, he did help when asked (like grating a whole tin of cheese and getting the crockery out) but like he said, at one point I was creating work for him, just to keep him involved! Eventually I let him be, and just demanded he shave and change into something presentable for the evening.

Why was I so worked up about a simple dinner? Well, to begin with, we’ve never had a party at home, so that was a little scary. It’s surprising how much stuff gets spread around the house and how much I sounded like my mom when I was putting things away. As I ran around the house, organising and tidying up, the Fellow had only one thing to say (which he yelled from his den while taking a break from Mass Effect 2): lock all the rooms so people don’t go in there, and this way you won’t have to clean anything up. Keep them contained within the living room, dining room and garden he said. And he ended his monologue with “my house, my rules”.

Once I got past the Fellow and his gyan (by simply not listening anymore), I started worrying about the food. I’ve never cooked for anyone besides my immediate family (who unfortunately had to live through my experimenting-with-cooking-stage of life) and the Fellow. And since, for the past year, I’ve been cooking for only two, I had next to no idea how to cook for more people. This obviously meant second guessing myself and wondering if what I made would be enough for everyone.

Well, as it turned out, I could have invited another 8 people over for dinner, and still have food left over [Note: The Fellow, who hadn’t taken a look at how much I’d cooked till after the party was over and we were cleaning up, still hasn’t stopped laughing].

And so, even with all the pre-party nervousness, behaviour resembling the Energiser bunny, last minute checks on everything (including the Fellow), a 10 minute window of panic (when no one arrived at the designated time), and a refrigerator full of food at the end of it all (not to talk of aching feet), my first dinner party was a huge success.

I’m now a fully functional fauji wife!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cravings. Sigh.

Something is seriously wrong with me. A month back, I was obsessed with baking. I ended up making everything from caramel custard to cakes, brownies and cookies. And I still have to try a chocolate pie, cupcakes and muffins and choco-chip cookies (amongst other things). Unfortunately my baking streak was interrupted by a little snag with my breathing (in that I couldn’t do it properly). Now it’s a full blown cold with the fever-headache-frog-stuck-in-my-throat thing happening. So obviously my oven is feeling a little neglected.

But that is not what’s seriously wrong with me.

What’s wrong is the fact that even with a stuffed nose and burning lungs, I’m craving food. And this time round, I’m thinking of malai koftas, the super-soft, creamy, delicately spiced ones, gobhi, the kind my mother-in-law made once sometime back, triple-fried potatoes in an awesome tomato gravy my aunt makes, chhole-tikki that mum made complete with green and imli chutney, aloo parathas and boondi raita made by somebody other than me…well, you get the basic idea right?

I’m worried. Really. Fat Avantika is really coming through to the surface more often these days and I’m afraid I won’t have the mental strength to keep fighting her off. Too soon, I’m going to give in, and download a recipe for cream-filled koftas or call the aunt up and get the recipe for her super-fatty, very unhealthy, absolutely delicious potatoes. Sigh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Of Holi!

If there is one festival I can’t resist celebrating, it’s Holi. It doesn’t matter how ill I am (with the mumps) or whether I’m having trouble breathing (like I have been for the past week). Holi just has to be enjoyed the right way. And this means all the pre-preparation (oiling hair/face/arms and nail-painting), and then getting drenched in (usually cold) water and covered in several layers of colours. Of course, in my case, it doesn’t matter what colours are applied. By the end of the revelries, I generally end up looking one even shade of maroon, with the random yellow/purple streak adding character to my face. Add to that prominent whites of eyes and big white teeth, and the effect can be quite scary.

But it’s all so much fun. Right from shivering in the cold to drying up in a patch of sun, from thandai and jalebis to the taste of gulal in the mouth, from hand prints on t-shirts to white kurtas becoming technicoloured, from tossing water balloons to throwing buckets of water, holi has something for everyone.

And personally, I think the best part is after you finish playing holi – that time spent scrubbing all the colour off your skin (yearly shedding I call it) – waiting to see what you end up looking like (and then grinning at similarly colourful people as you cross them on the road over the next 2 days).

Anyhoo. I have pink ears today. What do you look like?