Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dal, Bhaat and Omelette or Strawberry


No, no, not me.

My wife.

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.


  1. Dear sandeepa
    Very well written and I liked it as you know I am a great Bhakto of your writing style.
    Have a nice day

  2. loved reading the food fiction ... it made me grin ... the same that I see on my son's face after I try out one of your recipes ... otherwise he has been apprehensive of my cooking expertise and my house was more dependent on the hired cook ... but lately, after I had resigned my 9-5 job I started having more time to hone my skills inside my kitchen. Though the cook makes faces but I have improved in leaps and bounds and a lot of credit goes to your blog.

  3. Osadharon likhechhen! Food blogger ke khub chena chena laglo!

  4. Hey Sandeepa,

    Hilarious write-up. Almost fell off the chair laughing. My admiration for your writing skill only jumped to the next level after reading this. Keep up the great work!!!


  5. That was funny Sandeepa and so very true. I love the precarious plate on the balcony and the shaving foam.

    Me too give me an omelette for each meal and I swear not to put my family through all the blogging related pain. But don't tell them that I secretly love my blog more :)

  6. Tongue in cheek, bittersweet entry; I love how you paint pictures with words. It made me remember the hot tropical days of my 'chelebela', with sweet mango juice dripping from brown elbows. Food blogging at its best --- all about tastes, smells, texture and memories.

  7. ROFL! How funny! Loved the story, and some of the phrases - black hair, warm sun and rhubarb and rabbi was really too funny!

    I saw your message but didn't read your story as I was writing mine and didn't want to be influenced in any way. But there are a few similarities all the same - I've just posted mine!

  8. Very very cute. I am still smiling.

  9. Lovely writeup ...... Every Food Blogger can relate to it. Sandeepa you must write more often ....

  10. your story cracked me up..:) many things sound familiar!

  11. This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that

  12. Very well written.....enjoyed reading it.

  13. This is one post i have been laughing and smiling and still smiling while reading and commentig.
    Love it loved it loved it.

  14. Food blogging er ekkebaare jaa taa ... LOL.
    Ki boli ar ... eto bhalo lekho tumi ... khub bhalo legeche porte. Amar khub icche korche C&C te part nite. :-(

  15. What wonderful writing Sandeepa....keep it up!


  16. lol- am still smiling as i write, totally hillarious toungue in cheek read ! haha- rhubarb & rabbi, shrivelled berries & foam-lol

  17. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant writing Sandeepa! Loved every line of it!


  18. LOL! Like Sra, did not read your story till I finished mine, but guess what, some of your heroine crept into mine. She is redeemed in the end though, and yes, my story has an omelet in it as well, but for a different reason. Adding a link to your post as promised and it is totally apropos too!

    Your story was hilarious and reminded me a little bit of that local party rant on desi fb fixation "only".

  19. That was absolutely brilliant writing. Loved the sarcasm and humour, and the pictures too. After seeing that omelette pic, I desperately need to eat some ;-)

  20. Hilarious with a capital H....I simply love your write-ups, Sandeepa and look for more everyday.Do keep up the good work!

  21. Loved reading this Sandeepa and it is very funny! I don't know how you do it so easily. This might have taken me a year to write, but not with the clarity that you write. keep up the great work, and keep the laughs coming.

  22. That's very well-written ! I came across your food blog one day accidentally and what impressed me most was your writing style ! I return to read only what you write !

  23. Ushnish Da-- Thanks, I really appreciate your comments and love it when you make my Muri Ghonto :)

    CD -- I hope you are enjoying your ne role as much as your son :)

    Joy Forever -- Arre amar baritey asle majhe majhei ei rokom scene dekhte paben

    Seema -- Thanks so much :)

    Indo -- Honest, I could just live my life on eggs

    Meem -- aww, thats very sweet. Thanks for the encouragement

  24. Sra -- Amazingly every one seems have written it around Food Blogger

    Poornima -- :-D danke !

    Satrupa -- Thanks for liking :)

    Madhuli -- they sure do :-)

    Aarthi -- Will do

    Jayashree -- Thank You

    Finla -- ha, ha, your hubby would have been more appreciative :-D

  25. Sharmila -- Tomar bhalo legeche jene amar o khub bhalo laglo

    Dayeeta -- Bhalo lagar janyo ki boli bolo to, dhanyobad

    Priya -- :-)

    Mamtha -- Thanks for stopping by :)

    DSM -- yeah as I wrote the dialog lines I could feel the influence too

    Writersblock -- Thank You :)

    jhimly -- Glad that you liked it

    RC -- oHHH, These things come up in my idle mind during my commute which unfortunately is a long one :)

    Rima -- Good to know you enjoy my writing

  26. I was about to say the same as Jaya said. reminded me of the local tea party post. ROFL Sandeepa. was laughing all through the post. I am sure my husband can relate to this. will make him read, just to see the "I-said-so* grin :-).

    I am an ardent and eternal lover of eggs. can survive on them 24/7. Arent they the best?

    Off to read Sra's and Jaya's post.


  27. Also, you should write more of such fiction. :-)


  28. U re quiet hilarious and well written food fiction :)
    All your post has a great touch of real life :)
    Keep it up!

  29. :-) if only there were real specimens of your fictional character who would feed the family while I clicked pics! I like my omelets too- but only at breakfast. And only done just so. Childhood memories of being forced to eat boiled egg everyday intervene in my wholehearted enjoyment!

  30. Been reading your blog for long, loved this post, and this is my 1st comment... you are really CREATIVE, A MAESTRO...

  31. wow that was fun reading....you write so well and the masked sarcasm was bang on :)

    Loved that shaving foam on top of Crème fraiche and rabbi clafoutis ...err what???

    I so want to be a part of this wonderful event , i wish i was not as allergic to events as i am ...can i take a antihistamine and write something? I know it wont be as good as this but...

  32. What an awesome story, Sandeepa. loved it. Still smiling away at it, bless you:)

  33. siri

    yes, localteaparty post did inspire my writing, especially the dialogs.


    Thanks for liking


    That will happen too. Just wait and see. 10 years back did you think of clicking pictures of what you cooked ?


    Thank you but I don't think I am worthy of such compliments


    Please DO PARTICIPATE. Would love to hear from you


    You should send one of your beautiful poems


    Thank You

  34. Too much fun! At first, not knowing it was for C & C, I thought your spouse was taking his turn at a rant. ; } Nicely done, Sandeepa. Somehow, dare I say, there is at least a little truth leaking in despite the disclaimer.

    BTW, no one in those glossies lives the paradise portrayed in them, no matter what color their hair and complexion. It's all marketing a mood to get you to market. Duh, sorry, this is supposed to be fiction.

  35. I really thought this was a guest post by your husband :D

  36. How do you do this - the flow, the dialogues, the language - all of it was just great. Simply hilarious!

  37. I am back frm my blog break ,truly enjoyed reading this,..

  38. absolutely LOVE ur site..I have a bengali mom, and I want to learn more and more bangla recipes. And then I came across ur site. So, don't mind if I try some at home..:)

    This post was a really fun read, kudos to ur husband (for all the cooking):)

  39. Hey Sandeepa, I had missed this one. Came through a fb link from Jaya. This is so darn hilarious! And yeah sure, purely unintentional resemblance to real life ;-)


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