First things first

June 30, 2010

When was the first time you felt dew beneath your feet? Or raindrops in your face? Or tears on your cheek?

Tough, isn’t it, to recall?

Let’s make things easier for you.

When was the first time you cooked an omelette? Or chilled out in a bath tub with a drink? Or made good use of toasts heaped with caviar of Caspian sturgeon in the morning while waiting for foie gras with Chardonnay at lunch?

I remember cooking, rather botching up, an egg for the first time. Well, if you insist, it must have been, say, 10 years ago. Or was it eight? Or six? I give up.

I first walked into a bath tub in 2002 in a Dhaka hotel room. Sapped after covering a cricket match on a hot April evening, I poured myself a mug of Tiger beer and let the suds in the tub work wonder.

I’ve subsequently polished off at least a dozen more pints of Tiger beers in the Tiger’s lair — Malaysia — but caviar or foie gras or Chardonnay? Hmm… 😦

The Spanish omelette that I couldn't cook. (Pic: ndrwfgg/Flickr)

My first omelette was a bit of an anticlimax. I barely remember I was alone at home and high on enthusiasm after reading about Spanish omelettes.

Four eggs, chopped carrots, sliced inions, diced capsicum, tomato rings, ginger and garlic juliennes, shredded chicken… I readied whatever I could get hold of before giving everything a good whisk.

Into nearly 100 gm of spattering butter went everything. I started visualising a fluffy omelette, but things just fell apart; the pale-yellow fabric of the egg couldn’t hold the stuffing. I panicked and tried to flip the crumbling ruins in the pan. It ended up as a half-burnt and scrambled egg pregnant with raw vegetables and chicken.

I splashed Tabasco sauce in the debris and suffered in silence because a) i love eggs more than my life b) there was nothing else for dinner c) I value the dignity of labour.

If the omelette was a disaster — thankfully, i now know the art of not destroying eggs — the first (did i also say last?) puri i ever ‘attempted’ to make ended in me almost in tears.

That's me 'shaping' the puri! (Pic: Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar)

It was a wintry evening two years ago. Though we were just two of us at home, dinner, i insisted, had to be special yet simple because it was her birthday. We had decided, for some reason i can’t remember now, to make it a vegetarian affair.

And what better fare than fulko luchi (puffed maida puri) and alu dum after a couple of drinks? She had already made payesh (Bengali kheer) in the morning.

I took up the rolling pin, placed the maida dough on the board and set out to shape a perfectly round luchi. Surely, i had done tougher things in life.

But 10 minutes and several attempts later, what appeared on the board was akin to the shape of Australia! I appeared crestfallen, but she was upbeat and the oil was hot. I was egged on to fry the continent-shaped luchi. She took the pains to eat it, saying it was her birthday gift.

It sounded romantic and magnanimous, but i was so embarrassed that i haven’t attempted an encore ever after. And no, i still can’t make chapatis or paranthas either, though i can whip up the accompanying curries.

Let’s know whether you have similarly stumbled with elementary dishes while cooking them for the first time, and chances are, we will all have the chance of sharing a hearty laugh.

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2 Responses to “First things first”

  1. Sharmi said

    I didn’t feel any pain eating the luchi. It was wonderful, soft and fluffy. Thanks for the gift.
    This Sunday, God willing, we will have the same breakfast. And, I want to have that Spanish omelette one day. Very entertaining post 🙂 Keep rustling such delicacies 🙂

  2. netdhaba said

    @Sharmi: You are magnanimous 🙂
    Okies, let Sunday begin with luchi.
    I will try the spanish omelette soon.
    Thanx for reading and commenting 🙂

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