Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
We Are Going On A Virtual Holiday | Flash Post 405

We Are Going On A Virtual Holiday | Flash Post 405

What are you talking about? What’s a virtual holiday? Are you people planning on taking a trip by any chance?

Not quite, Button. But chotididi has been taking us on a culinary journey to countries and states we’ve been to as well as places we have not visited via the food she cooks for us every week.

Like a food blogger?

Not quite because she does not blog about the dishes she cooks. It’s solely meant for family.

Actually, she does the reverse by taking us to countries she has visited and countries she has not but would like to. The dish is planned a week in advance and the preparation is extensive and meticulous which is typical of her. The mystery of dishes she serves is kept under wraps till the time the items are placed on the table one after the other when she proceeds to announce their fancy names with a flourish of her hands much like a magician making a pigeon appear from thin air. To make it all come alive, she plays music reminiscent of that country or region. Like on days when she served Punjabi dishes, she played Bhangra with Dost dancing to it.

Given the fact that she was a reluctant chef and was content eating what was put on the table, she’s come a long way.

We have travelled to China when she prepared crispy egg and spicy noodles as well as crispy rice vermicelli with mushrooms and cabbage in soya sauce flavoured with roasted chilli sesame oil, to Germany when she cooked Eggs Benedict,  to Italy, a country only Dost and I have been to, when she prepared excellent mushroom risotto to France when she made egg mayonnaise with tomatoes thrown in and called it her signature dish. We’ve also been to Punjab, a state none of us have been to when she made a Punjabi-style paneer bhurjee and paneer butter masala, to Switzerland—again a country only Dost and I have visited—when she made an excellent potato rosti as a side dish.

In fact, she’s taken us to Italy quite a few times because we’ve had Italian dishes like Penne Aglio olio, Penne Arrabiata and even a mean garlic roasted potato dish with Parmesan as a side dish. The Affogato she made and served for dessert after an Italian meal of Lasagna was to die for. And while we were digging away, Andrea Bocelli sang for us making it all worthwhile.

Don’t forget our trip to Indonesia when she prepared a great Nasi Goreng and Spain when she made a starter of fried tomato with Panko and cheese. And that dish she prepared fusing pasta and crispy fried eggs where Italy and China shared the same plate!

Since Dost is a sparse eater, how does he manage?

He’s aware that chotididi shares her plans with me at times and makes it a point to check what she’s up to. If it’s me or barididi doing a simple meal of dal and subzi, we have been instructed to keep away some leftovers. A simple potato dish is enough to make him happy.

Should we talk about the exotic coffees and drinks she’s also mastered? I can’t stop raving about the French Press Coffee I’ve had quite a few times. The other one I love is cold coffee with a scoop of vanilla icecream.

I love the flavour of coffee but my untutored mind was familiar only with Cappuccino till chotididi introduced me to branded instant coffee like Teddy Roosevelt, Colombian, country bean and Davidoff. Of these, I’d opt for the Roosevelt any day. It’s smooth on the tongue and superbly flavoured. The French Press Coffee which is made using freshly ground coffee from Arabica coffee beans is also good but not in the same league as the instants. But that’s my personal view.

Aren’t you going to mention her skills as a bartender?

I would except that this blog is consumed by children with parents reading it out to them sometimes as bedtime stories. But she has a natural flair in preparing cocktails and takes great pride in it.

I guess you’re right.

While this pandemic has literally brought us to our knees and changed the course of our lives forever, some of us have found ways, no matter how small, to keep ourselves occupied without feeling lost and inconsequential. It has brought out hidden talents which would not have otherwise revealed themselves and shed light on some interesting things we can engage in to keep ennui from creeping in. I know of people who have become farmers and horticulturists and don’t want to get back to the big cities again. Some have spent the last six months at their farmhouses and not stopped raving about their experiences. Others have taken to gardening, painting, but the bulk have taken to cooking or baking. Facebook and Instagram are flooded with videos showing people discovering their cooking and baking skills.

I know that research for chotididi’s meal that’s coming up this week is in progress. Do you know what it is?

All I know is that it’s a Singaporean dish.

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