No, no, not me.
Yes, the one on the far right, with the expensive camera around her shoulder. She is the Food Blogger. At least when our nosy neighbor asks her "What do you do?", that is what she says with a toss of her head. Our neighbor is stumped, I tell you. These people, our neighbors, they do not have a modern outlook. All they know is to eat dal, bhaat, maacher jhol. And they also speak Bengali at home. What is this ? How can you advance if you don't speak English all the time ? This is modern world, no. But who will tell them ?
They ask me, "If your wife is a food blogger, why do you do all the cooking in the house ?". "Arre Baba, I only cook dal, rice and chicken curry, my wife she makes rhubarb clafoutis", I tell them. Those moron neighbors look at me like they have never heard of rhubarb. People can be so closed and backward in this part of India, it is like you are in the forests of Congo or something.
But to tell you the truth if I don't cook, what will the kids eat, what will I eat ? I cannot live on Hollaindaise sauce all my life can I ? Or a Blueberry Flan or even a Rhubarb Clafoutis ? My wife, she cooks only that from expensive books with glossy pages and bright pictures. Shiny kids with golden hair and a fairness that hurts, smile out of them. In the book they smile at the strawberry muffins set out on plates in a green meadow.
Now my kids are not like that. They have black hair that catches the warm sun and they eat mangoes with juice straining down their brown elbows.I tell them to lick it up, like I did sitting on the branches of the mango orchard in my Grandma's village.
My wife does not like mangoes.She makes strawberry creme fraiche for them.She is very very talented.She also knows all the right places to get out of season imported fruits. In the heat of Indian summer she manages to get strawberries. Yes, they don't look plump and juicy and don't taste that good but so what ? Also I have to agree that it is very expensive and it is hard for me to pay every month for all this, but what can I say ? She is so creative, I need to support her Food Blogging, no.
The neighbors, the ones who do not know a rhubarb from a rabbi, tell me "Oh your wife must be making good money in blogging. Always she is buying celery sticks from Reliance Fresh , never kundru from the our local vegetable seller".Arre what money, who will click on those Google ads to give money ? Money minded they are as if everyone does things for money only. Did Van Gogh paint for money ? Did Steinbeck make rich in his life ? No, na. So ?
Now what can I expect from such morons whose only aim to cook, is to eat that food. They don't even know what "plating" is.
See, after my wife makes the creme fraiche or whatever it is, she does something called "plating". She puts the food in very beautiful plates, the ones we are never allowed to use for dinner and then arranges them with pretty flowers and napkins and silver candlesticks. Now I don't know why candlestick is necessary for food but it all looks very pretty. We watch from afar. The baby, the 3 year old wants to lick the creme fraiche but I hold her tight. My older child says he is hungry. I tell him to go do his Math homework till Mommy finishes work.
My wife then starts taking pictures. Sometimes she gets on a step ladder and click pictures from top, at other times she sets up the camera on a tripod. She changes the camera lenses, places the plate on the ledge our balcony, lets it hang precariously and balances herself to take a closer shot.I stand there, my heart going "thud-thud", fearing that those expensive plates can fall 5 floors down. If my wife was born a few decades back, Satyajit Ray would have been very proud of her.I look at her with admiration.
My wife takes like thousand pictures. In between she downloads them on her laptop and edits them.Too much work she does.
I know the kids will soon ask for dinner. So, I start getting dinner ready, I wash the rice and the lentils and then put them in the pressure cooker. I chop onions, peeling their magenta skin carefully and then slicing my knife through them. I like cooking our meals, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see the kid's happy faces as they enjoy my chicken curry.
My wife used to cook before, 'before" as in before she became a Food Blogger. She would make charchari, jhinge posto, tyangra maacher jhaal. But now she only makes things we cannot even pronounce well. She says they picture better.Also everyone makes dal, shukto and chicken curry. What is so great about that ? It is all your middle class Bengali upbringing, she scorns.
All is well, I think. If she started taking pictures of our everyday food, we would never get to eat anyway. And anyway everyday she is so busy, where is time to cook ? In between Twitter, Facebook and her blog she can only make those things that she can blog about no ? Let her make creme fraiche and pour billows of shaving foam on it to make it look better. Who cares ? I am feeding the family, no. I am liking it also, so what is your problem ? Everyone cannot be a Food Blogger, can they ?
Only today I am late and don't have much time so I will make dal, rice and omelette. My wife likes omelettes with onion, green chili and tomatoes.I don't think she will eat the strawberry creme fraiche, what with the foam and the shriveled berries it might be actually poisonous. Tomorrow she can write how decadent and delicious it was, how her family enjoyed it and post pretty pictures of them with candlesticks around.
This is my entry for Of Chalks and ChopSticks, a food Fiction event started by Aqua last year. After a period of dormancy it is hosted this time by Sra. This time Desi Soccer Mom suggested there should be a photo cue and the picture Sra had showed a camera, some strawberries and a man's hand holding the camera.
Since I generally like to do timepass, I enjoyed writing a food fiction after a long time.Any resemblance to people in real life is totally unintentional.
Omelettes are my all time favorite food. I can write lengthy paeans on it. If I did not have kids and did not have to blog, I could survive on Omelette alone. Toast & Omelette for breakfast, rice-butter and omelette for lunch, Roti rwapped around an omelette for dinner. Perfect, happy life and then came the vegetables and spoiled it all. Arrrrrrrgh.
To make an omelette like ours, crack an egg into a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of Milk. Beat with a fork till frothy. Add chopped onions, chopped green chili and chopped tomatoes. Add salt to taste. Mix. Heat Oil on a fry pan. Pour the pale yellow egg mixture and swirl the pan around a little, so the egg mixture makes a circle. At low heat cook till the omelette looks flippable(check the edges, should look done). Slide a spatula gently under the cooked side and flip. Cook the omelette on the other side.