Yet another day gone by with nary a word from our cook. I was free today, so I rolled up my sleeves and rustled up egg sandwiches for breakfast, liberally lashed with butter, mustard, pepper and cilantro. The simplest food gives the greatest joy – and here I allude not to the creation of the sandwich, but the eating of it!
Child of course wailed at being given an egg for the second day running, but I would have none of it. Methinks she single-handedly keeps Kellogg’s in business in India. The latest love is Chocos and she downs the cereal as breakfast and an all-day snack, with or without milk.
I rolled the sleeves even higher and set out to craft a gourmet lunch for the both of us, spouse having gone off on his travels to the south of the country. The last two days he has been treated to meals created by Joseph, originally chef of a senior tea executive’s bungalow in South India, whose family are very dear friends. The now retired planter’s wife gaped in disbelief when she heard my spouse speak of him (the chef, not the retired planter!) in a telephone call with her! Tears sprung to her eyes as she recounted his skills with the skillet and the ladle!
Tears spring to my eyes too, when I recall those days of 5 course meals outstandingly created by our cooks at home. Forgive me if I sound maudlin here. Press the ‘Back to the Beginning’ button on your computer and re read the first sentence of this blog...!
The microwave oven is an infallible companion on days like these, but I still prefer the good old fashioned gas stove and the roomy stand-alone convection oven any day. I spent countless afternoons, especially monsoon or overcast ones, creating confectionary extraordinaire for my appreciative first-born and his dog! Swiss rolls that actually scrolled, chocolate éclairs, Viennese biscuits sandwiched with chocolate butter cream, quiches and tarts among other delectables rolled out with military precision in those younger days, quite untouched by new waves or microwaves! Having a full-time cook gives you the time to indulge in crafts and hobbies, and mine was baking – therapeutic!
I remember the 8th of February 1985. I had just extracted a freshly baked cake sans embellishments from the oven. My young son, just short of 3, laboriously punctured it with a brightly coloured candle. We carried it out into the lawn and had barely lit the candle when a beautiful yellow Labrador, all of one year old that day, leapt to claim what was rightly hers, lighted candle and all! One swoop and it was all gone, leaving us, human parents and brother, clapping and singing ‘Happy Birthday dear Juno’ while she continued searching for crumbs among the blades of grass! It's not hard to understand why no photographs exist of Juno's cake cutting ceremony!