The Quirky Life of P

Humor and satire revolving around Mr P- a fictional mix of an avatar of Mr Bean and the veritable Bertram Wooster of Wodehouse fame.

Archive for the tag “kitchen”

Pitfalls of cooking…And then there was Indian-French toast

Sunlight was fingering its way through the venetian blinds as P walked softly and noiselessly into the kitchen. The morning was chilly and he did not want to wake up his guest who had arrived from India very early in the morning.  P wanted to have breakfast ready by the time his friend woke up refreshed after the tiring journey from overseas. He had already decided what he was going to make for breakfast and it was …………………… French toast!

P considered himself an expert at making French toast. This morning, he was slowly humming to himself as he broke the eggs into the bowl and beat them up nicely before adding some milk, the tiniest pinch of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. P liked his French toast sweet….and evenly toasted on both sides.

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He was still humming when he dipped the slices of bread in the egg-milk mixture and spread them on the heated and buttered pan on the stove. After a minute or two, just as he turned the slices over to their other side, he suddenly remembered the conversation he had had with his friend on the drive home from the airport… His friend had then said that he was so tired of all the bland food on the plane and was longing to eat something spicy. P was thrown into a panic now; he did not have any batter for dosas or idlis and he had no frozen, spicy sambar either. Moreover, the French toasts were all nearly made and he did not want them to go waste. Being an obliging host as always, P started wracking his brains on how to salvage the situation…

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Breakfast was soon served. P had stuck to plain French toast for himself but had prepared a special breakfast for his friend. Seated at the table, P’s friend took a large, hungry bite. Soon he was choking and turning red. He had to drink a lot of water before he found his voice to ask P  what that was that he had just eaten.

Ever glad to share his recipes, P said, “That’s a long story. Let me start at the very beginning. ……………

It was a chilly morning in Gaul, thousands of years ago. P had come back after a walk in the forest, collecting snails for a special lunch for his guest. He had gone out early in the morning to gather them before the sun came out and sent them scrambling into crevices and hollows to hide. Going out early in the morning meant that he did not have a chance to eat breakfast and now that he was hungry and was back home, he decided to get something to eat. He brought out the bread from a stone container and held it to his nose. Definitely it was past its use by date, stale and had to be thrown out.

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He swore loudly in Gallic. Now, have you heard somebody swear in Gallic? It’s supposed to wrack the strongest nerves. No wonder then that the cat, that was slowly sneaking in to sip the milk, took fright and dashed away, upsetting the container of milk onto the kitchen floor. Looking aghast at the mess, P swore again loudly and stomped. This time he upset the chicken that was nesting in a nook on a ledge on the kitchen wall to lay her egg. She cackled and flew away, dropping the egg on the kitchen floor, splattering all its contents on top of the spilt milk.  Frantically P looked around for something to mop up the mess. His eyes fell on the stale bread………..” The modern-day P paused his narration and took a sip of his tea.

He then cleared his throat and proceeded “They say that stale bread is very absorbent… Back in those days when there were no kitchen towels, they probably used stale bread instead. So P decided to break the bread into pieces to soak up the egg-milk mix.

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When the entire stuff was soaked up by the bread pieces, P was reluctant to throw them away. After all, wasn’t egg and milk supposed to be very nutritious? Moreover, the smell of egg masked the bread’s stale odour. So he toasted the soggy slices on a greased frying pan, evenly on both sides, and the world’s first French toast was born….”

P stopped at this point and looked expectantly at his friend for some form of appreciation or applause for his creative imagination, but all he received was a blank stare.

“Now, what you have just eaten is probably the world’s first Indian-French toast,” P continued. “Quite easy to make: Prepare French toast like normal and just add liberal amounts of turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fenugreek, asafoetida, pepper, ginger paste, garlic paste and onions. And of course the garam masala… Don’t forget the garam masala…”


In the beginning


Mr P (the Avatar of Mr Bean) and Too Many Cooks………

Mr P waited anxiously for the door bell to ring. He was nervous about the interview with his new cook.  Mr P had found out long ago that the easiest way to get food cooked and the household chores done was by employing somebody for it. His old cook was bedridden with a broken hip. She had slipped on the liquid from a broken egg that had fallen off the fridge door (courtesy of Mr P who had carefully removed the pieces of egg-shell but forgot all about the liquid originally held within).

When the bell finally rang, Mr P rushed to open the door to find a neatly dressed lady and  he  happily welcomed her in.

“Come in, Come in. You are right on time. Let’s go to the kitchen straight away”, he said and led the meekly obliging lady to the kitchen.

In the kitchen Mr P embarked on his orientation class for new cooks, showing the lady where the utensils and grocery were located, how he liked his eggs cooked and what he wanted for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Every now and then the lady tried to put a word in but Mr P just brushed her doubts away saying, “Don’t you worry! Cooking for me is just a piece of cake!” He never gave her a chance to proceed.

At last, when Mr P was finally out of breath, he stopped talking. Then the door bell rang again. On his way to the door he asked, “Well, do you cook a mean meal? Are you a good cook?”

“I think I am”, said the lady. “But I only cook for my family and myself”.

A puzzled Mr P opened the door to find another lady outside. “I have come for the cook’s job”, said the lady who stood outside.

A totally dismayed Mr P glanced back at the lady who stood inside.

She finally found a chance to say “I just came to say “Hi”. I am your new neighbour. We moved into the opposite flat a couple of days back”.

Pitfalls of cooking and Mr P: Things get more slippery!

You may recall from the earlier post that Mr P had wanted to cook some Dahl for his guest ( ). The way Mr P prepares Dahl is quite easy. You just have to pressure cook lentils (either green gram which is also known as moong dal or red gram or Pigeon pea which is also known as tur dal) in water with a pinch of turmeric powder until they form a nice soup. Then you heat two tablespoons of oil in a pot and add half a teaspoonful of mustard seeds, cumin seeds and a couple of red chillies. You add the cooked lentils into the pot when the mustard starts popping. Into the liquid you can now add salt to taste, a bit of garlic paste and a very tiny pinch of ground cumin and optionally a pinch of garam masala. Green chillies, onion and one or two tomatoes may also be added. The Dahl is ready when the soup boils for a few minutes. moong Ki dal, Moong Ki Daal

Just as Mr P was about to start preparing lunch he realized that he had run out of dish washing liquid and cooking oil. So he brought out the bottles of Canola oil and Sunlight dish wash he had bought earlier in the week and placed one by the stove and the other by the sink. Mr P then cooked some lentils in the pressure cooker and nodded off in the kitchen chair reading the day’s newspaper. The cooker’s whistle woke him up when the lentils were thoroughly cooked into a soup. Mr P poured two generous tablespoons of oil into a pot heating up on the stove. He was in a hurry because he had spent time reading the newspaper (he definitely would not admit to napping) when he should have been doing other things to get lunch ready for his guest G who was soon to return from shopping. He did not wait for the oil to get really hot before he added the mustard seeds, the cumin seeds and the pieces of red chili peppers. He was in so much of a hurry that he did not wait for the mustard seeds to pop before he dumped the cooked lentils into the pot with some water and added the garlic paste, cumin and the garam masala powder. He left the pot to boil on the stove and scurried to the kitchen sink to do the breakfast dishes. He opened the tap, stoppered the sink and poured a generous amount of the new dish washing liquid into the basin.

“This is one funny dish washing liquid”, thought Mr P. “Looks like someone has invented a non sudsy detergent!”.

He put the dishes in to wash. As he tried to rinse the plates, he noticed something strange. The dishes had turned very slick and greasy and no amount of rinsing with fresh water could make them clean. They had tiny globules of something like oil all over them.

His hands also felt very oily. He smelled his hands and the plate he was trying hard to clean. Instead of the lemony smell of the dish wash, he smelled something very different.

“If it feels like oil, smells like oil and looks like oil, it must be oil,” he decided and checked the bottle that he had put by the side of the sink.  It said “Pure  Canola Oil”.

Mr P groaned. He was in for a big job now to get the dishes oil free. However, he had not yet realized that he was in Double trouble with Bubble trouble. Have you, now?

A lemony smell was wafting from the pot on the stove. Mr P rushed to check his Dahl. Something strange was happening to it. It was all frothy, sudsy and lathering up!!!

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