Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another question for the desis

Again this question can be answered by anyone, just thought the desi folks would relate!

Maybe some of you don't get bothered by this, but I really mind the system of making food in traditional indian households. I know everyone has their own system and that I'm generalizing, and as the number of kids increases or work schedules the logistics of dinner can change, but I've seen this system in both my Mom/Dad's side of the family and in G's family in India.

What I'm talking about is the lady of the house cooking fresh chappattis (indian tortilla bread) and serving them hot off the stove as they are being made. This means the lady has to stand at the stove while the rest of the family digs in.

This bugs me. I enjoy eating with everyone in the house. Together. On the table. Having someone at the stove makes me incredibly guilty and I can't enjoy the food I'm eating. It's almost as if they are a hired cook who do not deserve to eat first. And I do NOT like the idea of "switching." This means that one lady stands at the stove and cooks chappatis while the second lady eats, then the second lady switches places with the first lady while she eats. I enjoy sitting together & eating together, even if it means the chappatis are slighly less warm than they would be hot off the stove. Hello, there is a reason we have those plastic dishes with the lid that keep chappatis warm!

And it doesn't just apply to chappatis. I've seen it done with pakoras (fried veggie fritters) and all sorts of foods that require one to stand at the stove for sometime.

My MIL has talked wistfully of her desire to have me at the stove making chapattis while she eats. I don't mind serving anyone, but the idea of feeding everyone and then sitting down makes me feel odd...during the course of a meal I can get up and hand things/get things, but eating seperately feels weird. Of course, the man of the house (son, husband etc) is never expected to stand at the stove! And if they do, all the ladies should scream in delight.

One day, when Om is older and realizes what is happening around him, we will all eat at the table together. I will not allow chaos in my house with one person on the laptop, television blaring, another person in the kitchen cooking.


Priyanka said...

These are very old-fashioned ideas, basically from my grandma's generation. My aunts who live with their MILs still follow it.
Everybody eating at the table together is what we do as well.

Munchkin said...

It's not really a traditional thing, but more taste centric. Not all families do that. Most of them make all the chapatis before hand and then the family eats together except people who are sticklers for "fresh off the stove". It's a personal quirk.

Mama - Mia said...

yeah its one of those old things! and some people still follow it! we? we microwave the chapatis! :p

ofcos there are times when there is something like puri et all which has to be had eaten really hot for best results! :p but in our home, my dad used to fry em while mom rolled em and we kids ate! :p



Me said...

Priyanka - Thank you! I knew they were old fashioned and just needed someone else to say it!

Munchkin - Hmm you are probably right it's a taste thing...some folks like crackers in their soup, so why not hot chappatis...

Mam Mia - Having Dad and Mom do it together doesn't seem as bad as just having one person cook! Then it becomes a family afair.

Hurricane C said...

I know this is an older post but I had to comment. It is very irritating since it's not easy either way when it is MIL who is at the stove making chapattis. Happens with dosas too at my in-laws!