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Diwali… Dreams And Debacles!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by twinsmom, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread! How true. Take me for instance. Born to an expert cook and DIL of another awesome chef, I am that culinary ugly duckling that will never turn into a swan! One should know one’s strengths and weaknesses… at least the latter. Nah…! Thus I gave in to some foolhardy impulse last Diwali and decided to prepare the sweets myself…at home! ‘Okay, guys,’ I told the men in the family, ‘This year we are not buying sweets…. I am going to prepare them at home.’ Both smile in a fashion I don’t particularly care for.
    I rummaged in my cupboard for the recipe book that had been a part of my trousseau. It is a thick 1983 diary in which I have painstakingly written down instructions starting from making coffee…to arranging a typical South Indian wedding feast. I am an avid collector of recipes…though I do not get to trying out many of them as RP is not a very adventurous eater.
    I found the weather- beaten (having weathered 23 years of my married life) book and quickly thumbed through the pages. After much speculation on the intricacies of steps, ingredient availability and possibilities of success, I decided on ‘Maida- cake’, ‘Rawa laddoo’ and ‘Mysore Pak’.

    Disaster on the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:STREET><ST1:ADDRESS>First Avenue
    </ST1:ADDRESS></ST1:STREET>: <ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>Mysore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> Pak. The easy- sounding sweet, when you read the recipe. Child’s play, the way Amma makes it. So I collected besan, sugar, ghee and the biggest plate to pour the mix when it was ready. I started after 'raahu kalam' (inauspicious time according to Hindu calendar). One hour later, I realise ‘rahu kalam’ was doing overtime that day… My <ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>mysore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> paks were rock hard. The knife I had plunged in to cut the mixture into squares was stuck. Couldn’t retrieve it… I couldn’t let the guys see that… I quickly took the entire plate, <ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>mysore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> pak and stuck- knife and all and threw the whole thing into the garbage bin. Needed new plates and knives anyway… It is customary to buy new plates on Dhan Theras, I would tell the guys. I was not very comfortable at the sight of the discarded plate sneering at me. Quickly, covered it with the Freehold and Property sections of the previous day’s newspaper. (One thing with the dailies is that they give you a lot of supplementary sheets which are useful to cover up whenever you binned ‘not so fresh’ vegetables and culinary disasters!) Phew! I had to take the garbage out myself that day.

    Maida Cake Mayhem: Compared to my <ST1:CITY><ST1:pLACE>Mysore</ST1:pLACE></ST1:CITY> pak misadventure, the Maida cake recipe looked more promising. Mom normally used green food colour for hers. I decided on saffron… Maybe people would think it was from Puranmal or Chappan Bog. Started venture afresh. Confidence was restored. The recipe book was strategically placed near the stove for frequent reference. Mmmm! Vanilla essence smelled yum… Saffron was a better colour for Maida cakes…decided to tell mom to change her patent green… Poured out the hot mixture into a tray. All’s well that ends well?
    Well? Not quite….At the end of the required cooling time, the Maida cake did not set. But the recipe said….. Well, the recipe may say anything….The outcome was very like me… kind of flexible… I tried to take a piece off the tray… It came like the chewing gum the twins used to take out from their mouths to annoy me… I chucked the whole thing in the freezer. Maybe it would set when it was frozen… Otherwise I’d throw it out after Diwali at an auspicious time… Like when nobody was home…heh…heh… a little foul play was acceptable at times like this!

    Ruinous Rawa Laddoos: They say one should learn from one’s mistakes.

    Well, the rendezvous with rawa ladoo seemed to be so harmless that I decided to go ahead and try my hand at that. No technicalities…no possible glitches of timing… This should be a piece of cake, I mean… Laddoo, I told myself. I called the grocery downstairs to send up some raisins. Started warming the semolina in my kadai… the bell rang… I collected the raisins…rushed back to the kadai… to find that the semolina had turned slightly (!) brown. Oh no! I had thrown away enough things for the day. Didn’t want to waste any more. Why not innovate? I decided to camouflage the ever- so –light- brown grains of semolina by adding green food colour. Who says rawa laddoos had to be white? Besides, necessity was the mother of inventions….One had to improvise in life….So I tried out my new plan.
    Sigh…! Sigh, sigh…!
    Learnt a new lesson…. Some things were just not meant to be…like green rawa laddoos…or improvising with the wrong recipe…like my expertise at preparing sweets…! The result of my lab work showed miserable looking laddoos which were speckled in green and brown. Never liked that green food colour…wonder what mom saw in it…must tell her not to use it in future! Like the eggs of sparrows or plovers… Ugh! I definitely couldn’t place that in front of my guests. What about the packed gifts for friends? Dare I pack those into festive looking boxes and palm it off on unsuspecting friends? No…the fear of getting caught was too much.

    Had another day for trying out a few more recipes… Gulab jamuns or Maa ladoos or at least Shakkar paare… (even culinary morons could make them). Nope! This was no season to experiment. I picked up the phone and called Bala, my brother in law. “Bala,” I said calmly. 'On second thoughts, I am not going to make any sweets. Can’t risk anything with my spondylitis. Can you pick up a few kilos of sweets from Sri Krishna Sweets or Chappan Bog?” “Sure!” said Bala. “Shall do. Just give me your list.” No questions asked, no fibs uttered in response! It was in my hands now to remove the incriminating evidence from my kitchen before the guys got home…
    Next year I shall place my order for Diwali sweets very early! I am a quick learner!

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  2. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Welcome back Twinsmom.....and how!

    I simply enjoyed this Dreams and Debacles...But common now...did you spy on me ? Into my past culinary exercises?? Did you somehow have some means of knowing exactly what happened to me in my kitchen?? If not, I am soooo glad that I was not all alone in my trial and tribulations at making sweets!
    It is only in these past two years that I have successfully made that mysterious thing called 'burfi' ! And that is thanks to Chitvish of Indusladies! Prior to that, they were either building bricks or sweet soup.
    Superb piece from you and very timely too. Great humor and I was rolling over with laughter...:rotfl
    Keep them coming...

    L, Kamla
     
  3. kanaka Raghavan

    kanaka Raghavan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Twinsmom
    Warm welcome.It was great to read your posts.Brought back my fond of memories of my first uppuma preparation refusing to come out of the kadai!!It came out of the pan only after 2 hrs.One more of experiment of making rawa kesari pink in colour instead of the usual saffron.........One more of trying to making boondi with hand (thinking I am an expert)instead of theboondi kaarandi.I am still learning with lots of cookery books from all nooks and corners plus Chit Vish's flow of recipes.I vividly remember the first day in my own domain wherein I did not know which parrupa was used for sambar............But I always have the never say attitude keep trying what ever is the outcome .God save my family and friends and of course poor me...........
     
  4. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    Re: Diwali… Dreams And Debacles!

    dear viju,
    nice to find you blogging again, we missed u a lot hope u remember sunkan u know u came over too, been sending offline and messages, still no reply, now i know you have been in your kitchen lab and hope you are out of the euphoria of sweet making and out with it..welcome baby, i am very sure about one thing i dont know about your other talents but u can make a reader go into ecstacy, and that is only by blogging, begging for more..sunkan
     
  5. Jananikrithsan

    Jananikrithsan Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Twinsmom,
    Giving you a standing ovation for such a hilarious piece. That was well timed too. I have had many debacles too disastorous to disclose, making sweets. Sworn to secrecy are such tales,This is why you were missed a great deal.
    Welcome Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom,

    My illness saved me from all the debacles as doctor warned me to take good rest. I lovingly spotted a tamil sweet vendor and picked them up. It was cheers all the way. I was feeling happy to decorate the plates with the namkeens and sweets and distribute it to my neighbours, friends and relatives.

    I had good plans to make at least two sweets. God has mercy on me. I would have named it .. "Kandravi Mysore Pak" and "Porum Vendam - Besan Ladoo".

    God you are there with me, I am proud of your presence in my life.. ha ha..

    Keep posting such blogs, we do not feel left alone...
     
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