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Dotting the i's and Crossing the t's

by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka,India)

The ultimate compliment that a housewife can get for her cooking is that 'it is almost like restaurant's'.


Vice versa, a hotel food is supposed to be excellent when it is 'Just like home food'!


While food in the hotel cooked in hygienic surroundings without too much oil and spices is compared to home food, the food at home is compared to restaurant fare when it is cooked to perfection with all the proper accessories.


'Accessory' is the key word here. A housewife who shudders at mismatching her accessories while donning an ensemble, does not think twice about forcing the dry idlis(repeated probably first or second day) down the throats of her family members by itself or with ill matched accessories. It is well known that chutney and/or sambar is the right side dish to go with idli. Of course,one can argue that a customer in a hotel is always served with the right accessory because he pays for it.But doesn't the man of the house bring a regular pay packet (these days this responsiblity is shared by the wife also.)? Doesn't one deserve a better treatment? Is it any wonder that hotel food is often chosen over home food? Cooking,paid or unpaid is a skill which not only satisfies the consumer but done well brings immense satisfaction to the one who prepared it also.


So, whether it is a working lady or a stay at home one, nothing should stop her from dotting the I's and crossing the T's in her culinary production unless it is lethargy or 'anything goes' attitude.

Continuing the argument with Idlis as example,healthwise too, the proper accessories ensure a properly balanced diet. Chutney/sambar provide the extra protein needed to balance the carbohydrate in the idlis.

These days with 'frig' and microwave ovens, people might find it easier to prepare idlis in bulk and store them. Even here, if served everyday chutney/sambar can be made fresh everyday to go with the resteamed idlis (unless sambar also is made in bulk) or idlis can be interspersed with other breakfast items llike uppma, rotis of rice, ragi or even sandwiches or cereals. to take away the tedium.

Just as a simple, neat outfit with a few matching accessories is pleasant on the eyes, a few items cooked well and served with the proper side dishes certainly works wonders on the appetites of the family members.The housewife should only take little more pains to provide the right fare to be complimented as 'just like restaurant food'.

These tips apply to men also if they happen to be cooking.


*****



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Oct 29, 2013
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idlis
by: vimala ramu

Dear Geetha,
Of course I am talking about our paradise Bangalore called the Air conditioned city. But I have lived in Delhi also many years. Items cooked should be transferred to the frig as soon as possible. Rava Idli is no idli at all, it is upma in idli shape. I don't advise keeping it for more than 1-2hours.
Surprising how everyone has caught on to that point while all along I was trying to emphasise the importance of proper accessories.
Thanks for the long message.

Oct 29, 2013
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Aaah Vimala!
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

In the Capital, especially in summer, it is advisable to have fresh meal morning and evening as cooked food gets stale and start smelling very quickly. Even in Winter, it is better to have freshly cooked khana instead of reheated ones. Though, for working woment, cooking twice a day, becomes a problem yet health matters.

We often have idlis in breakfast but the rava idli gets hard if we keep it longer. Of course, I have never refrigerated them. Will try now. And the coconut chutney is so yum. I wich I could make that at home.

Today's generation relies more on hotels and restaurants for food. Cooking, according to them, is a dispensable function, either to be delegated to the ma-in-law or sis-in-law who are housewives or to the paid cook who can dish out something gulp-worthy as and when required. In our childhood days, we were told that cooking is an art. But now no more. Rgds

Oct 21, 2013
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Idlis
by: vimala ramu

Thank you Lakshmi for your comment. Resteamed idlis taste as good as fresh idlis.

Oct 21, 2013
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Useful tips
by: Lakshmi

An expert's guidelines - very useful. I didn't know idlis can be made and kept in the fridge and later they can be microwaved. Next time I will try this method.

Oct 06, 2013
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reheating
by: vimala ramu

Dear Sneha, idlis should be kept in the frig as soon as they are made and 'steamed' when needed. If you keep in 'freezer' probably they last longer.Anyway all this is subject to some expert opinion.

Oct 06, 2013
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Ah ..
by: Sneha

Aww, Vimala ... I always have been adviced not to have reheated idlis... Bacteria can grow very easily in 'em. Nonetheless, advice noted. . . loud and clear!

Oct 01, 2013
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Guidelines can be given by anybody. But how many will follow is the question. Thanks Pankaja for your usual prompt response.

Oct 01, 2013
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good
by: nuggehalliPankaja

Fine guidelines for housewives! and as usual writeup
quite interesting!

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