This weekend I slept with my feet wrapped in hot water bags, thanks to my lineage I am conscious about.
On Friday, I stood for over 7 hours in the kitchen, followed by entertaining guests. But before cracking down, I did stand upright for the record.
|After a tiring yet exciting day… one for the album
“Do you really want to do this?” asked my girl when I requested her to click our pic.
“It’s not everyday I drape a saree and your papa a mundu. Come on, quick.”
“Honestly, mamma. You are so obsessed with yourself,” she replied adjusting the lens.
We had our Onam celebration and I was determined to have the banana leaf filled from tip to edge. Managed to layout 18 items for each of the 13 invited guests. Now, that’s not a big deal as Onasadhya means the more the merrier.
The problem was that I was on my feet, paranoid, cooking second round of most of the dishes afraid it would not suffice. Pots of rice were boiling even when the guests were at the dining table, which will now last me the whole week after distributing it to my houseboy, car cleaner and watchman.
|After cooking, re-cooking, topping up… finally
“Why don’t you sit with the stuff at the building entrance and give it all those who walk in,” quipped my in-house grandma, before threatening me, “Don’t give this when I return from school on Sunday. One more day I’ll manage.”
“Well, my dear. I have no intention of dumping these. Why do you think I packed food for the guests when they left…”
“Oh my God, exactly. That was so shameless, honestly mamma… ‘take whatever you like’…” she mimicked me.
I blame this paranoia to serve on my genes. My mom’s family are generous servers. You can gather your entire neighbourhood [no exaggeration] and visit any of my maternal aunts unannounced and you will be sumptuously served. In fact, force-fed. For them feeding guests is the way to peoples’ hearts. And my mom’s always fed the best to guests, while my brother and I only got the left-overs.
My dad’s family, on the other hand, are stingy givers. My paternal aunts reserved the best for their families and offered the remaining to guests. One day, I saw one of my aunts place a banana bunch comprising over 20 bananas on the table before three guests. “Please take. It’s from our farm.” Neither of them took any. What a trick!
On another occasion, another aunt of mine fed just fish gravy and yoghurt to two guests who had arrived uninvited during lunch hour, saying, “How sad. We just finished lunch and no fish these days. Please manage with this.” One of these guests returned to collect something that she had left behind only to find the family having a lavish lunch, including two varieties of fish!
An acquaintance of mine waits until we take leave and at the door says, “you should have waited for dinner”. This has been her staple statement every time I visit. I guess, the fault is mine. Next time I’ll drop in during the day.
I caught another one serve three dates on a plate before a group of five guests, saying “please help yourself”. When I gave her the head count, she replied, “others are diabetic”.
I love tracing problems to their roots. So, while my lack of confidence in cooking and kitchen judgement may have resulted in my sore feet, upon peeling the layers I discovered that I’m overtly jittery when it comes to serving guests, only because am petrified lest my lineage force-feeds confused genes into me!
Seriously, am not cooking this up… I was wide wake on Friday night, despite retiring to bed early, wondering how I can make space in the fridge!