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Hostile Hospitality

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    One of the most hostile actions in my view is not giving me a few slaps or punches but inviting me home for lunch or dinner. I can even pardon a guy who shoots or stabs me ( though I haven’t been blessed with gunshots or stabs so far) but not someone who says “Why don’t you come home for lunch? My wife is an excellent cook”. Everything glows in a bloody colour when I hear this because I see red.

    Yes, for me offer of hospitality is a hostile act. If you want to get to know me why don’t you invite to a restaurant(the more expensive the better) or a bar (Hic Hic hurray!) or a restaurant with a bar attached ( Eat and drink merrily as long as someone else foots the bill). But calling me home to be a guinea pig to test your wife’s culinary experiments.? Sorry find some other victim, a k a guest, buddy..

    Adjectives like “traumatic” and “nightmarish” come to mind when I talk of my experiences of lunching or dining at people’s homes After each such experience, I began to admire the lady of the house’s husband and kids. If they can digest that kind of food they can digest any damn thing. I suppose if you keep on swallowing toxins on a daily basis you become immune to it.

    The family of almost all my hosts had one thing in common—they had an unnatural craving for restaurant food. They carefully read all restaurant reviews in newspapers and new menus and promotions offered by eateries. They are also avid watchers of food shows on TV. Hardly surprising don’t you think? From Sanjiv Kapoor to Gordon Ramsay, they tend to have the who is who of every goddamn celebrity chef.


    Now if I start talking about my experiences of hostile hospitality, I can go on for pages and pages. but I think a couple of examples will suffice. There was a time when I readily agreed to dine at someone’s home with a shred of optimism still precariously sticking to me despite experiences to the contrary at the dining table.

    In one such case the hostess welcomed me cheerfully and informed me that she had prepared rajma and rice for me. Now this rice and bean dish is a hot favourite and robs me of all sense.of proportion at dining table and I go on a binge, but so far I have done that only at home and got away unscathed.

    This was the first time I was eating the dish at someone else’s place and the two magic words rajma and chawal drove me nuts and I simply freaked out., showering the hostess with (as it later turned out undeserved) compliments.


    And I got my just desserts as soon as I reached home.. A stabbing pain hit my stomach and nausea overwhelmed me.. I was feeling giddy and tottering like a drunk without even having a peg. Yours paranoiac truly had conspiracy theories of poisoning swarming in his mind along with visions of Yama on his buffalo saying “Hop on buddy, I’ll give you a lift”.



    I just rushed into the bathroom and took a cue from ancient Romans who to do full justice to a massive banquet retched out with the help of a feather after a couple of courses so that they could empty their stomach for the goodies to come. No I didn’t go the whole Roman way, No feather for me, finger was good enough to get all that toxic stuff out.

    Immediately the phone rang. It was my sinister hostess. Was she checking up whether I was still alive, my paranoia plagued mind wondered. “Are you alright?” she asked.

    “Why do you ask?” I countered suspiciously.

    “ I forgot to soak the rajma in advance. Hope it didn’t affect you” Too bad there was no way I could have strangled her through telephone. With such experiences recurring is it surprising that I tread carefully when it comes to meal invites ?

    “We keep coming to your place for meals but you never show up at our house” one visitor complained to me. Yeah they keep coming to our place because all three of us--- me, wife and daughter are very good cooks and I say in all modesty that even if it is possible for India to become scam free with squeaky clean politicians and for Swami Nityananda to practice celibacy, it is not possible for us to cook lousy food, however hard we might try

    No wonder we are magnets for foodies and I wish I could say the same about my hosts. In many cases it is a double whammy of bad food and dull conversation. with the hosts droning away to glory talking expertly on subjects of which they had no clue as I struggle hard to keep my eyes open.

    And some people carry the war into my territory.. “I made some yummy rotis with lots of ghee and thought I should bring you a few. You like ghee na?” one intruder sorry visitor said.

    And I don’t like ghee. It has been a part of my childhood nightmares . . My mother firmly believed that it was the key to good health and added dollops of it to my food despite my protests. “Eat what you are given and don’t keep cribbing” she used to say. Besides being the cause of my pre-teen obesity it smells godawful and I say this despite the risk of ghee-loving ladies rushing at me with rolling pins. To describe that smell I can use only one four letter word which the moderators are bound to replace with four stars . But I can give a clue , The four letter word is an anagram of the baddies in the Star Wars movies, got it?

    “Your entire family are great bakers, so I thought I would bring you some cake I baked. Why don’t you try a piece?” said another guest.

    “I am a diabetic” I said curtly .(I would have uttered the same dialogue even if I had not been a diabetic, knowing the culinary skills of the lady)


    “C’mon a teeny-weeny piece won’t kill you” the lady persisted offering me a slice large enough for four people. I was cornered and what I felt like doing cannot be expressed in a decent manner.

    So guys, if you want to invite me over for a meal please come with at least 100 testimonials of your excellent culinary skills.. And please don’t invade my place with food from your home.. And I am seriously thinking of hanging a signboard you find in many restaurants: “OUTSIDE FOOD NOT ALLOWED” at my house.
     
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  2. Sofea

    Sofea IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh my God! I just couldn't stop laughing, reading your post Balajee!:rotfl

    It sure takes a special talent to write a horrible experience in a humorous manner. Thus, I'm quite sure your culinary skills are as good as your writing skills ;-) Err..what do culinary and writing have in common? Well, nothing actually. But what else can I use to compare and compliment your writing skills here, anyway? ;-)

    Btw, I love ghee myself but don't worry, you need not have to use the infamous four letter word on me :p. Knowing how bad my culinary skills are, I'm definitely the last person on earth who will call anyone for lunch or dinner :hide: Hey at least I'm honest enough to say this out aloud!
    LOL, Bon appetit Balajee! Hope this wishes stay true for you and may you be able to avoid all horrific "food" experience for many years to come! :-D
     
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Balajee,

    Where do I start now? It is definitely the most hilarious description of the ordeal you faced with someone who has stunning culinary skills.

    Someone who does not have culinary skills will have to find soft targets wonderful at heart to be guinea pig. He should be used to eating delicious food at home. Obviously, someone who is experiencing bad food at home is going to find it out right away.

    Those are training fields for someone who has to eat out of roadside restaurants.

    Obviously, you had no energy left after the terrorizing experience.

    What a great example to drive your point.

    I was going to send you Akkaravadisal made in pure ghee and I changed my mind after you warned me with the four letter word you have in mind for ghee products.

    Fair enough especially after you said that everyone of you at home are great cooks.

    Viswa
     
  4. kelly1966

    kelly1966 Platinum IL'ite

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    Balajee..
    HILARIOUS.. Gosh I would like to extend my hospitality to yu whenever you are in Bangalore.. I'm a fantastic cook.. and can produce supporting testimonials .. my Son's dabba gets stolen and eaten and I very often give him extra hidden dabba.... My guests always go home with their stomachs over full.. and a boy (domestic help) who is trained by me now has opened a small joint on the highway (somewhere in Bihar).. and I soak my Rajma's overnight every time...
    K
     
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  5. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey kelly,

    I am soon coming to blr and will provide your testimonials to Balajee ! so dont you issue flippant invitations . LOL

    Hi Balajee,

    you sure are difficult to please. :) now I will think twice about inviting you and if at all I do I would be so tense and wonder if my rajma and channa are fully soaked and cooked. LOL.
    btw hope you are a wonderful host for I have heard so much about your culinary skills that I MUST enjoy them at least once.:wink::cheers
     
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  6. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Balajee,

    As you well know I am a well-established foodie and shall invite myself over to taste your delicacies. No worries, I shan't torture you with a return invitation for lunch/dinner. :-D
     
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  7. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Sofea, cooking and writing have lot of things in common mainly in both you have to cook up and dish out something. though ingredients vary wildly for both. For writing the dish is made of words and for cooking it is made of edible items. Both are meant to be consumed.
     
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  8. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balaji,

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    And here i was thinkin g of inviting u for some kadi chawal dish, but now i wont.HAHA

    So u are the guinea pig, who thy think of when they want to try out a new dish eh ! Well i hardly go anywhere to eat, most of my friends are vegetarians and i demand nonveg food, so they avoid me like plague, which is good for me.

    Good one Balaji.

    Regards

    kamal
     
  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Viswa wow!what a sentence by sentence analysis! True swallowing home cooked tozins daily can prepare your system to survive roadside junk food. Akkaravadisal, no thanks! It is the ideal dish to send your blood suger and bad cholesterol levels soaring..
     
  10. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Kerman nice to know that you soak your rajma overnight. You are tempting me too much. Next time I am in Bangalore, I'll remember.
     

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