Dotting the i's and Crossing the t's
by Vimala Ramu
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. *****