Jun 28, 2014

Magic under the stars


Childhood memories and family mealtimes are closely intertwined in my mind. My earliest memories of happy times are of those spent at my grandparents' place. Carefree days filled with play time, bonding with cousins, fun and games nonstop, and of course, meals shared with all in the family. My grandmother, a powerhouse who could create meals for the huge family with astounding ease - would effortlessly cook up giant pots of the most aromatic dishes and enjoyed serving them to her family. Nothing gave her more happiness than to see her food being polished off.

As a special treat to the young brigade, my grandma would lovingly mix cooked rice, soft thick curd, add a pinch of salt, some hing powder, and season with cracked mustard and curry leaves. Into this, she would fold in some grated carrot or pomegranate or green grapes depending on supplies at home. When in a generous mood, she would also add a dollop of butter to the rice mixture. I would run and chop up some fresh coriander leaves and mix in. The milky white of the rice, dotted with brown mustard, a splash of green from the herbs, interspersed with the hues of the fruits made a meal fit for the Gods.

The entire creamy goodness would then be transferred to a steel bowl and carried to the terrace. All the grandchildren would throng around her. There, under the clear summer starry skies, the magic would unfold. She would narrate tales of kings and kingdoms, of brave men who fought for their land, all the while filling each child’s cupped palm with a scoop of heavenly curd rice. We would never know when we ate, and how much. Even the most fussy child would join in and be fed happily thus. What a feast under the stars! Tummy and soul nourished, we would all retire to a good night’s sleep.

Another age, another bunch of kids. I wanted to recreate this magic for my children and their cousins too. The terrace was cleaned and mats spread out in readiness. I read up and armed myself with a couple of stories from the Panchatantra and Anderson’s fairy tales. The lush, smooth, rich curd rice was assembled. To this meal, I added a roasted baby potato curry. Who can resist golden brown baby potatoes, enhanced with a fragrant mint and garlic spice mix! This dish would be best cooked in this Grill & Drop Casserole. I would love to check if I can make a killer roast without having to use too much oil and not end up scorching them either. For a spicy accompaniment,  I would also carry some fried curd chillies in this Gourmet Bowl.

To make the meal visually arresting, and to help cast a spell on today’s children, I would serve this delectable meal in these Gourmet Cook and Store bowls. The clear bowl could show off the beautiful embellishments, the speckled red from the pomegranate and the tinge of green from the coriander in this delicious dish to good effect. The snug lid would help to carry it safely without spillage to the terrace.

A fitting finale to the meal would be some home made fruit and nut chocolates nestled in pretty paper cases, served in the elegant Variety Platter.

Did I forget to add? While I am at creating this magic, I would like to add to the ambience by lighting up a few of these lovely Tea Lights too.

My entry to ‘My Beautiful Food’ contest announced by Indiblogger and Borosil.  Round 1 – Alphabet Soup.

Per requirements for contest, I have attempted describing a perfect meal with words alone and without using any pictures.


Subha said...

nicely written Rajani..

Rajani said...

Subha, thank you so much.