Vaishali chitale



Vaishali chitale


My Kitchen Soirees

My Kitchen Soirees

4 mins

2020 took us all by surprise. Lockdowned in our houses, washing hands innumerable times, scared to go out, and wearing masks has defined this year for us. Though all these pale in comparison when we see the homemaker of the family struggling without her armor-the household help!

Never had I imagined that I would enter my kitchen again after handing it over breezily  without a backward glance, to my cooks. Incessantly ribbed about my cooking days by my children, I turned a blind eye and refused to entertain their pleas of having "maa ke haath ka khana". Happy in my cocoon, I had deluded myself into believing that my days on Earth will pass without ever entering its hallowed realms again. But then, man proposes and God disposes, and in this case,as we all know our neighbour lent God a huge helping hand!

And before I could say 'Never will I ever',I found myself back in the kitchen, making three meals a day for a family of four!

My day usually starts with tea brewed with mint leaves, ginger, and lemongrass which I told myself was mandatory to beat all the infections one can catch living in a bustling metropolis. Well, when this handed on a tray to sip with your papers is so welcome,the same becomes so brain numbingly tedious a job when expected to be made everyday that I almost started looking lovingly at the polluted air surrounding me !!

The morning tea ritual barely over and the scramble for lunch used to dawn on the horizon with clockwork precision!! Soon I realized that God was in cahoots with my children who took perverse pleasure in reminding me that they could not remember my time in the kitchen when they were kids and were now on the verge of forgetting my by-now-could-be-extinct culinary skills. Guess this was their payback time! 

I rose to the occasion and decided to take up the challenge and make my family eat their own words. When I was very active in the kitchen eons ago, social media was still to explode on the scene.I had no record (videos) of whipping up my Michelin starred meals. Now armed with all my tools (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter et all)  I had a field day taking pictures and making videos of my lip smacking delights  and uploading them on my accounts. So here I was, as busy as a beaver making all the exotic shahi paneers, biryanis, butter chicken, stuffed bitter gourds,gurer payesh, eggplant risottos, mushroom pasta and sundry and  beamed with pride on seeing their incredulous looks! I took to uploading my lockdown creations  every day to ostensibly keep a record of my tryst with kitchen again, but mainly to stop the jibes of the family !! I also now had virtual proof for the post covid days! 

But to my astonishment  I started enjoying my time in the kitchen and glowed in the satisfied burps given soon after. Cooking, they say is like swimming, you never forget. The journey which started very reluctantly soon became an enjoyable ride and I took to my 'second coming' like fish to water! I started planning meals in advance, rediscovered my skill for disguising the left overs into a delectable one-pot meals. I was not known as "Leftover Queen" in the family for nothing!! My leftover skills are legendary in the family and at all  get-togethers, some good-natured ribbing was always on the cards.

I believe in 'zero waste' policy. So obviously, there was a lot of recycling in my kitchen. I had graduated long back from making leftover dal into parathas; that's for novices. I could turn a combination of veggies( including okra and all sorts of gourds ) into a vegetable patty for a burger! Leftover rice soon emerged as brand new spicy pancakes under my guidance. My theplas were a regular guessing game for the family, with them placing bets on the ingredients! 

 My adventures in the kitchen with some fresh and some leftovers continued and kept me happily engaged and the time just flew by.

I understood that God, through this lockdown, was giving me a chance to redeem myself in the eyes of my ever suspicious children and this was actually my payback time too !! 

Lockdown 2020 has surely been an eye-opener for all of us.The world as we knew it is now gone and we must never take anything for granted.

You never know when God is watching us from above. Never say 'never' as I learnt it the hard way !! 

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