As a child, with my parents and all living grandparents (3 of 'em) staying with us, I grew up royally pampered.Yeah, true!Never learnt how to make tea or coffee or even 'thayir saadam' (curd rice). I know it translates to 'ultra-spoilt' and sub zero cooking skills!
So that being the prologue, let me cut to the actual incident that occurred last evening.I decided to make a simple 'dal-palak' khichdi and cucumber raita for dinner last night.Decided one couldn't go wrong with cucumber raita.Peeled the cukes. Cut 'em beautifully. Salted 'em. Added milk, curd etc etc. And then tasted it proudly and professionally (yeah, like the cooks in 'Iron Chef').Then spat in disgust.
Did you know that there are some world-weary BITTER cukes in the world???
I learnt yesterday!
To the embarrassing sound of laughter-directed-at-you, I heard my beloved patidev go on to describe my cooking exploits many moons ago, to my ma-in-law. A hitherto secret gaffe,now out for the world to smile at!
I got married a coupla years ago. Traveled across many seas to a new home with a brand-new husband! Patidev showed me a kitchen bigger than my current house at Bombay!The next morn after he left for work, I decided to use my brand new Meenakshi Ammal 'Cook and See - I' and make a fabulous sambaar. (New Husband = Full Enthusiasm)
Like a good house husband, my patidev had stocked various colored spice-powders in similar looking jars in a row. There was a red one, an orangish-brown one and a yellowish-orange one. So I decided that the first one was 'sambaar podi', the second 'rasam podi' and the third 'Turmeric'.
Made sambaar EXACTLY as per proportions in the book.
My tongues protested at the red-hot sting.
Drank a gallon of water straight.
Crying, I threw away the sambaar.
But I don't accept defeat too quickly. (at least I like to believe that!) So I tried sambaar the next day.
Same result. Trash.
Again the next. Same result. More trash.
Trash. Hated sambaar by friday evening.
Saturday arrived. My patidev announced he'd make sambaar :(
I decided to 'supervise' him :)To my horror, he pulled out powder II to make it(yeah the orangish brown one) So (with me quaking in my boots in 'realization waiting to occur') I asked him what the powders were.
yellowish-orange = Rasam Powder (turmeric is YELLOW only)
orangish-brown one = Sambar powder
red one = Chilli Powder (Drat, they powder chillies too!)
Did you know that there are three standard spices in a south Indian kitchen????
I learnt that day!
Felt as enlightened as Gautama Buddha.
Shall never stop hearing about this gaffe. Can already imagine a conversation 75 years later at a south-Indian wedding, with my grandson reassuring my grand daughter-in-law, "Oh, don't worry about cooking. You'll learn. Even in those bygone days, cooking was never an issue. Do you know what my grandma did....."