I didn’t realize how tasty mom cooked until dad started to cook.
Food was just fuel for me. I am not much of a foodie. All I require is anything edible for food. Food from the restaurant or home made food means the same for me. All I require is a good book at my side during the meal time and I could practically eat anything.
Lockdown changed things for me and I learnt to look before I eat.
When lockdown was imposed my father’s work came to a standstill and my mother’s work quadrupled. Especially the kitchen work because of the increased meal timings.
The online classes allowed us extra meal times. There is milk time in the morning, breakfast time, brunch time, pre lunch salad, lunch time, post lunch dessert, evening milk with snacks, then we eat nothing for 2 hours before the dinner time. The night milk time has been cancelled as we just can’t digest it, I dunno why?
My brother took up the duty to design the day’s menu. Unlike me he is in love with food. And by love I mean crazily in love with it. His menu lists were very demanding and tiring for mom.
My dad, being a very caring husband, decided to help my mom.
‘May I help?’, he asked from the kitchen door. My mom allowed him and this sentence became his entry pass into the kitchen and cooking food.
The first day he cooked Daal. Mom had given all the instructions and ingredients measurements. Dad excitedly began to rig up daal for lunch. On every whistle from the cooker he used to run in the kitchen to check out his dish.
Finally, lunch time came and dad placed the bowl in the middle of the table. He had even garnished it with some herbs from the garden.
Now came the tasting part, my brother poured the daal carefully avoiding the herbs. I poured it without a second glance. Opened my book and began to read. I was pulled out from the book with the first bite. I closed my book and took another bite, yup, it was too salty. Infact, as salty as the sea.
My brother had already pointed out the mistake and dad looked puzzled. Mom asked gently, ‘How much salt did you add?’ Dad replied with an air of uncertainty, ‘I forgot the count of spoons you mentioned, all the salt was disappearing so fast. I thought I had put in less salt.’
I thought dad would be sad over his failure but instead he turned more optimistic. He now decided to go beyond ‘normal cooking’. He believed that before lockdown mom used to easily cook for the standard meal times. All he needs to do is cook for the extra meal timings. So, he set to work planting new plants to be turned into food.
Over the lockdown period he made many discoveries and I have now stopped reading books during the meals.
The discovery of Aloe Vera juice left me speechless. Aloe Vera is good for keeping your face fresh. But Aloe Vera in Stomach. I think HCl and Aloe Vera don’t go along.
On our first tasting session, it was only Aloe Vera pulp, water and salt. We tasted it and my brother instantly got up from the table. I didn’t know what to say. No, I was not out of words. I knew many synonyms of bad, like disgusting, loathsome, despicable, evil, and many more.
They were on the tip of my tongue but dad had spent so much time extracting the Aloe Vera pulp not to mention the table’s condition after it was done.
So, I replied politely that it was ok. I still pondered over my declaration, had I used the synonyms of bad at that time I would not have got the synonyms of Aloe Vera juice as immunity drinks.
Every morning an infusion of Aloe Vera juice with Ajwain, beetroot, pepper, etc. is served.
The Best way to get over it is the ‘gulp technique’. Take three deep breaths, pinch your nose and drown the entire cup in a single gulp. That does the trick and the nausea also evaporates.
The discovery of Coconut pudding was an eye opener for my brother. This pudding instantly won his heart. It consisted of milk cream, coconut powder and lots of sugar. It was such a hit that my brother even made it in his cooking competition also.
But my dad got bored out of it pretty quickly and labeled it as ‘normal cooking’.
The next step for dad was making Pudina Chutney. The kitchen was quite a sight to see after it’s completion. The kitchen could tell you how it tasted. After 33 plus ingredients (maximum from his magical garden) the green potion was ready. Though it had to go under a few reformations before it was back to normal chutney mode.
My dad then discovered the sweet leaf plant (Stevia). He put those leaves in the evening tea and served them to grandparents, quoting it as sweet tea. I am sure I heard my grandfather mutter, ‘If tea with sugar tastes like this then I would definitely never drink tea with sugar.’
Well this discovery would surely control grandpa’s sugar.
Dad now found the Giloy plant and learnt about its properties and benefits. Giloy juice was served on morning’s alternatively with Aloe Vera juice and to be honest Aloe Vera tasted honey in its comparison. Nevertheless, we were encouraged to drink it while listening to its multiple benefits. Dad speaks raptly about Giloy, I dunno if anyone ever gave this irritating thing so much respect.
I just think when will delicacies like cake, burgers, pizza become healthy?
Dad is still experimenting on the plants for survival. I have a feeling if I were stranded in a forest, I would be able to live nicely on all the plants around me.
The day is not far when grass would be brought in the menu. Then I would even survive in a Grassland.