Mom in law is away for almost 20 days. Now the kitchen is my domain (beware!!). It’s not like I can’t cook – for the first 10 married years of life – I did. But ever since we’ve moved back to Chennai I only get into the kitchen when special things like Biryani or pasta or pizza have to be made. Not for me the daily mundane stuff! So the result is that I’ve almost forgotten how to make a lot of dishes. I also make a fuss about using too much oil or ghee and I take pride that all my dishes are virtually fat free. I’m of course oblivious to the fact the no one at home really loves the oil-free stuff! They’d rather have their onions fried a bit in oil instead of simply boiled – if you know what I mean.
Anyways my adventure began yesterday morning with breakfast. I spurned the usual idly and dosa fare. Everyone needs more fiber and less fat in their diet I advocated. My father-in-law and husband bore my rants patiently. FIL had to go out somewhere and he smartly ate his breakfast outside. Meanwhile my daughter M decided she wanted to cook too. She considers herself a dessert specialist. Everything and anything with chocolate is her forte. She puts bournvita in cornflakes with just a dash of milk and sugar and…ta ta dai dessert ready! But I firmly put a stop to that. No junk early in the morning I croaked. “So what dessert do I make?” she complained. We decided to make fruit canapés for dessert and oats upma for breakfast. So while the upma was stirring. We chopped up fruits – apples, bananas, mangoes and grapes. She took toothpicks and poked the fruits into that. The grape followed by the juicy mango, followed by the banana and finally the apple. It looked lovely – really! She diligently did that till her collection of fruits got over. Then we neatly arranged it in a plate. And it looked awesome.
My upma in the meantime got done. It tasted pretty good – but I guess I’d put too much water in it – so it looked all squishy. (Almost like a kanji!). M went ahead and presented her dessert to everyone – even before the main course got done. Everyone ate her fruit canapé with relish. And she was oh-so-happy that she had made a healthy dessert for everyone. Then it struck her that she had presented the dessert before the main course. So she pulled in her father into the kitchen. He saw the upma and went “ugh!” and ran away. I begged that he at least taste it before declaring it as bad (fair request right?). But he absolutely refused. So I was angry and told him that he could go ahead and cook all his meals himself.
M was watching all this. She quietly took the plate and started eating the upma. I could see that she hated it – just from the way she was eating it. (She hates oats and hates upmas even more!) She told me “It’s nice amma. See I’m eating it – don’t be sad.”
And this brought tears to my eyes. My little princess had grown up enough to care for me! She looked at me – really concerned “Are you crying? I’m eating na! I told you its nice.” She said
At this point I gave her a big smile and a big hug. I took the plate from her. “Are you angry?” she asked, worried. “No baby…I’m just too happy!” I said and made her a nice, hot crispy dosa for breakfast. I can tell you that my heart still feels squishier than my upma. And it’s these squishy moments that make life worth living. Sigh…
Dosa/Idly – Traditional South Indian breakfast fare