Love through the tummy – Ninitha Koya
My husband and I are not the most traditional of fans of Valentines Day. In all the years we have known each other, we’ve never celebrated the day. We’ve never written sappy notes or gifted each other Hallmark cards proclaiming undying love. No bottles of wines or boxes of chocolates have been exchanged and no flowers have ever made an appearance at work. Not that I would mind if they did, it’s just that I don’t mind if they don’t.
Yet both of us are the biggest suckers of Valentines Day cause every year on this day, thanks to some weird twist of luck, both of us fall in love… with a new dish. That’s right we romance and fall head over heels in love with a bowl of something or a plate of yummies every Valentines Day. So this year, I thought I would do a platter recapping all the wonderful dishes that has come to mean Valentines Day to us. Like my instant no churn ice cream. It was my first year of marriage and Ansar was leaving for UK. I was set to join him soon after yet here I was less than a month from marriage, ready to experience the angst and pain of a long distance relationship.
Within days of our wedding I had figured out that the way to his heart was definitely through his tummy and so when it was time for him to leave, I decided to given him a token of my flimy style undying love. The only problem was how, up until then my kitchen and I had shared a very cold relationship. We kept out of each other’s way and with good reason too. I knew my dish would have to be minimalistic and it would have to be quick too and definitely sweet to offset the saltiness of our tears. (Corny, I know! But then what is Valentines Day without corniness?) I wish I remembered who it was that suggested the recipe cause thanks to them, this little wonder has become a staple at our house. Needless to say the ice cream was a roaring success and till date Ansar claims that he hurried the visa process only to get to eat the ice cream again. Humph!
Cut to next year and I had shed my novice status as a cook. I was experimenting in the kitchen and baking had become my friend. That was also the year my husband started an affair with cinnamon rolls. He would eat them for breakfast everyday. There was this little café en-route to his work and he would stop there EVERY day. Naturally I was threatened. I did not want to lose out to a measly café but I also knew that I was no match for the cinnamon rolls. I had to retaliate and so began my little affair with Google. Together we searched high and low, until one eventful Valentines Day’s eve, I stumbled upon my Cinnamon Roll flavored muffins. He still falls for the Cinnamon rolls every now and then but now I know exactly how to win him back. Then there was the year I got pregnant. The baby played hide and seek with my taste buds and all I would and could eat without throwing up were biscuits, Oreos to be precise. I wanted to eat better, I really did but the bub would hear none of it and biscuits were all I could digest.until, Ansar took matters into his own hands and tried to fashion Oreo style pancakes. He insisted that it was all in my head and thought he could trick my psyche into eating. It was a good shot, I gotta give it to him, too bad it did not work. Still, over the years the Oreo style pancakes have stuck on and become a Saturday morning pick me up!
The final item to make an appearance on my platter will have to be the Caribbean Cocoa tea. Last year when we had only just moved here, the cocoa tea had come as a lifesaver. Caribbean was a world away from India and England. The lifestyle was different, the weather was different and the people were different. We were desperately trying to soak in all in. There were things we loved and things we hated. We were torn and were going through a curious mix of homesickness and excitement, when a friendly neighbour forced cups of Cocoa Tea on us. If there is an elixir of life, then this is it. It also helped that the tea came into our life right on schedule, on Valentines Day.
I don’t know what special dish will spice it up for us this year but I do know that the past will be making an appearance on a big brown platter.