Monday, November 29, 2010

My little chef

I guess "Master Chef" seems to be one of those programs that never ceases to interest us. In one of my earlier blogs, I had written about "My very own Master Chefs". I must say my children are still hooked onto the program (the Australian version - they hate the Indian one) and do not seem to tire of it. Words like "dicing, chopping, marinating" all these have now become part of their vocabulary. Not just that when I start serving they ask me why have I not "plated" it well like they do it in the restaurants or as in Master Chef? And to top it all, any dish that I put in front of them goes in for some very serious evaluation a la Matt Preston. They tell me that that the dish has an amazing flavour, or the dish needs to have more of sweetness or sourness or that my plating should be better and so on and so forth!! And here I am struggling and just about managing  to plan and make a menu which just needs to be edible and healthy.

The effect of watching this program has now resulted in a lot of experimentation by my kids. Just the other day during the master chef class the method of making hash brown potatoes was demonstrated. Now my elder son told me that the next day he would be preparing this dish. At that moment I just nodded my head without giving it much thought. However the very next evening my son announced that he would be making hash brown potatoes. That night for dinner I had planned on making pizza. When he told me his plan I was definitely not in a mood. That would mean not only experimenting but also would involve more work and  I also had my  pizzas to prepare. So I asked him to prepare it some other time when I could help him out. But he was adamant. He told me "Mom, you don't need to do anything, just guide me now and then. I will do everything".

With lot of trepidation I gave in. Very soon he was busy washing the potatoes, putting it in the oven and baking it. Next he peeled the skin and grated the potatoes. Now even my husband  got interested. Together they put it in the mould and then fried it. In the process my son burnt his finger. But his enthusiasm never waned. Voila! there were several tasty little hash browns resting on the tray and looking very inviting.

That night for dinner we had a feast what with pizzas and hash brown. I should say here that they tasted absolutely amazing. My son was glowing with all the compliments given to him. I felt quite proud of my little master chef.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mobile maid

Well, I should say that times are changing fast and technology is no longer an elite subject. Now I see vendors, hawkers, coolies, drivers and not to forget the maids becoming tech savvy. It is not uncommon to see our drivers and maids having much more contemporary ringtones than what we have.

Here's my maid's story. Almost all the maids in our apartment come armed with their mobile phones. My maid is no exception. She proudly brandishes a new mobile handset every once in two to three months. I gawk and am left speechless when she tells me the cost. My logic is simple. I need a mobile solely for the purpose of being accessible to others and also to make a call when I am out of home. I remember when my husband suggested buying a mobile for me I told him that I do not need one as I do not see much use for it. But you see, you don't say no to a birthday gift and my husband used that occasion.

Back to my maid. I find that she gets more calls than I do and the phone miraculously stays glued to her ear while she washes the vessels. All the time, I fear that she would break one of my glass wares. And the calls last for more than an hour. Phew! Not just that - when not on calls she is listening to music on her hands free! Photos, videos, music - you name it she is able to decipher even though she does not know to read English. Isn't that great? I am sure for her parents who come from the poorest of the poor strata seeing their children using such gizmos must be way beyond their imagination.

I felt good for whatever it is worth - the mobile which only a select few could use once upon a time is today a necessity and undoubtedly has ushered in one of the most recognisable consumer revolution in India - a clear indication that even if it's technology, if it's simple to use, well priced and has a utility will reach the masses. Today if I need the help of a plumber or a carpenter I know that they are just a call away.

For that matter I get calls from my maid from her mobile informing me that she will not be able to come to work as she is held up else-where or that she will be coming a little late! Isn't that wonderful, even though it means extra workload?