“The Tea Party
I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small-
Three guest in all-
Just I, myself and me.
Steinbeck is right when he says …. and it is generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended. This last, of course excludes those dismal slave parties, whipped and controlled and dominated, given by ogreish professional hostess. These are not parties but acts and demonstrations as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.
I remember the first ever one that we had for my daughter’s second birthday, we had about ten families invited it was high tea, and my menu was puri with something to go with it, and idli something to go with it, sandwiches, potato wafers and god knows what.
I was trained by my mother one of those reluctant hostess, and being the math teacher she her trick was very simple– unpleasant jobs were brought down to a solvable equation that made it palatable.By the way she brings everything down to an algebraic equation when she is overwhelmed or intimidated.Her formula was simple, one cold drink, soup with starters, one rice course, one bread course one safe course(safe course is just in case someone can’t any of the other stuff.), one savory– one sweet on the table, pickle and chutney as safety valve and of course dessert.
Since this was high tea, I had puri and whatever for the bread course, Idli and whatever for the rice course; sandwich for the safe course, potato wafers for savoury some chocolates for on the table sweet and gulab jamoon for dessert.
Of course my mother had her formula for quantifying too. That calls for an entire blog on its own. If there are enough requests I promise to flatter/blackmail/browbeat her into writing it. That formula of proportions that never let her down let me down so badly.
The puri’s– were just there, as per mama’s formula I had to have three puri’s per person, two kids counted as one adult.
The idli’s to my south Indian palate was mundane, so I assumed there would be no takers,
Lo Behold! I ran out of the idli batter, I used up the instant mix I have as back up, I used up the rawa in my house making another batch, and borrowed rawa from my neighbor. We just about managed it.
Late night my mom called by this time, i was furious, my mother’s math failed !! and that translates to my mother failed, don’t ask me how she was responsible when she lives 350km away– but she is…(with two daughters, I have a sneaky feeling that the payback time will include an interest.)
I told her that I ran out of idli’s
“did you have northie’s on your guest list?”
“No wonder your math went wrong.”
She calmly tells we when you invite south Indians, northie food is in demand, when you have northies it is southie food, and the calculation then becomes 1 person=>1 ½ person!
The latest disaster was my teenage daughter’s party.
She told me, Amma, I am inviting five of my friends at 5pm. I had menu planned and cooked according. No one turns up till 6pm, — here I was wondering what to do with the left over’s–
when the kids trickle in at 6pm by
7pm they are all there, the giggling begins, I am now confused maybe I should have a back up so that they might as well, have dinner. The number of kids were now seven instead of the earlier planned five, “Amma is it okay, can you manage ” my daughter asks me, of course since it is five teenage girls and not five teenage boys it is definitely manageable.
7.30 by this time I am ready to hit the roof–they all start showing signs of having a party, then the parents arrive, from five teenage girls, I land up cooking dinner improvised, if you may with a larder as bare as mother Hubbard the only vegetable in the house being grated beetroot, for fourteen adults. One fuming husband and another irritated senior teenager thrown in as the party punch.
Next morning two of the women ring to ask me for the recipe for the creative dish that had concocted with beetroot, as their daughters never normally ate beetroot but had licked the dish clean, I mean dish, not just the plate.
So much for a party!
. But party in its true sense for me is spontaneous, it is something that just happens. This is where the magic of gourmet kitchen if in stock adds that little festive touch.
It takes so little to whip one up.
- Bring out the special crockery
- Light the candles,
- Hand the soup.
- Throw in an extra dish,– mirchi ka salan, and paneer darbari is always on my list.
- Warm a dessert, to end meal.
The warmth of the company and freedom on speech is the entertainment. The glow of which always hangs over.
One such impromptu party we had been all the menfolk of the building were away, it was my neighbor upstairs with her daughter, the neighbor from across with her daughter me and my daughters, we went berserk over the chutney’s and preserves we had picked up at the annual consumer shoppe at Panjim, something which we would not were our spouses around.
we had one round of pani puri, with sprouted moong, , date-tamarind chutney and jaljeera.
With these we needed something to cool us off, I did have some custard but not enough to go around. We came up with Marie biscuits, layered with apple cinnamon conserve and custard.
As for the Kitchens of India.it is gourmet meals happen when the magical ingredient called “FOR US PEOPLE ”occurs.