January 26, 2012 § 21 Comments

i was thinking about it, and i really think it’s the carrot.

the carrot is just the sexiest vegetable there is. you bung it in anything and it’s fantastic. (at this stage, let’s assume you’ve made your obscene allusion and i’ve commended your wit. moving on.)

my mother makes me pasta whenever i go home. i don’t give her recipes of things i like because she does not ever follow recipes. we usually let her come up with what she wants to come up with, and then we eat it. if we like it, we tie her arms and legs to bedposts and threaten her at knife-point until she promises to write the recipe down and leave it alone.

so –  it’s an insane pasta and i freely admit to being the only person in the universe who likes it. what it is, is, it is any old pasta in a white sauce, with carrots. but the difference between your white pasta and my white pasta is that mine is rita hayworth and yours is paula deen.

in my pasta, there isn’t that puddle of ugly cheesy gloop that passes for a white sauce in restaurants; there’s just a suspicion – a rumour, if i may – of milky smoothness about the penne, just enough for you to know it’s there. you see it in a creamy mist in the distance, teasing you, so you run after it. you keep thinking, god i wish there was more sauce, but you don’t actually want any more, because it is the restraint that is sexy. little coquette!

and my god, the carrots. every little round carrot piece has a golden caramelised halo from being cooked very briefly in olive oil, and that muted, softened sweetness that you anticipate when you bite into it.

 anyway, i told my mother that this recipe was an Unfuckable and must be reproduced faithfully when next requested. so of course, the next time she made it, she replaced the carrots with beetroot. let me just come out and say there are way too many things i don’t quite get about that woman. (do you know when she needed a username online, she picked the title of a rock hudson movie from 1961? who are these people we live with????)

the incredible thing is, i loved the beetroot pasta even more than the carrot pasta. i was alone in my joy. my sister point blank refused to eat it and made many cutting statements about the relative merits of various root vegetables. my dad looked at the pinkness of it and ate something else. there wasn’t any damage done, because over a period of one and a half days, i ate just over an entire kilo of the pasta on my own. *burp*

messing with recipes reminds me – maggi. some people like their maggi fucked with and some people do not like their maggi fucked with. i do not like my maggi fucked with. in fact i SO like my maggi un-fucked with, that i want it to be made in a beautiful meadow far from corrupting civilisation, by a nordic cook armed with only ONE packet of maggi and ONE packet of tastemaker.

(i don’t have to mention water because of course there’s a spring of crystal freshwater in the meadow. of course, you lumpen lack of imagination. did you not read the right storybooks growing up?)

i like there to be a goodish deal of what i call ‘juice’ that i can eat with a spoon after the maggi is gone. i do not like your juice-free maggis. i do not like your butter or cheese or masala or onions or whatever it is your mummy put in that made your maggi nice. your maggi is not nice. when you eventually find your bodhi tree, you will make maggi like i do and then we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

but (if you look closely you’ll begin to see a pattern) i do like carrots in my maggi. i assure you i have no idea why. like i said, bung em in anything and you’re looking at a better dish.

children’s storybooks remind me, you know how everyone says enid blyton was their favourite author growing up? without prejudice to the quality of that opinion, i just have one question –

where are the mentions of russian storybooks?

as i the only one growing up in a sea of mishas and valyas and the young pioneers and byelorussian blockading and azerbaijani horse races? not even folk tales, my friends? not even a handful of stars or the adventures of dennis or raggitty and the cloud, likely my three favourite children’s books of all time?

the thing with russian children’s stories is that they never talk down to you. please read the adventures of dennis here online [i apologise for the painfully terrible formatting]. not every story has a plot or a readily discernible purpose. some stories are bittersweet for no reason, just like some days are. blithely recorded are several stupid decisions, broken promises and vast quantities of regret, but there isn’t a moral in sight.

 and dennis, dennis is only seven years old. in comparison, darrell rivers seems to have had the emotional range of a pimple.

i think there is a small but important difference between nostalgia and love. nostalgia is the missing of the days you were in love, but love is ageless.

i fell in love with my russian books for what i believe are excellent reasons (not that you need any). i truly believe that their like has not been seen since they quietly disappeared from public imagination.


i miss them and i wish they were still around.


§ 21 Responses to *koff*

  • a traveller says:

    Oh my God you’ve read The Adventures of Dennis?!? NO ONE I KNOW seems to have ever read that book! Wasn’t it *brilliant*?

    And yes, total agreement on the how Maggi should be piece.

  • Sow says:

    I want to say a bunch of things to this post. I’ll say two.
    1) Welcome back.
    2) I eagerly suggest Misha as a name for all newborn baby girls I know. Imagine telling the child she was named after a beautifully printed, colourful, delicious smelling children’s magazine.

  • BuntyCobra says:

    Welcome back frand. :) Very clever hyperlinking to Paula Deen’s Wiki page, i must say.

  • @traveller – a dennis fan! come to my arms, obelix; let us mourn the fall of the USSR together.

    @sow – OH MY GOD you know misha too! do you know i once wrote a letter to a potential pen-pal (last page listing), but either it got lost in the mail or she never replied.

    @cobra – thank you especially, sab aapki kripa hai. ;)

  • Karthik Sivaramakrishnan says:

    These lines take the carrot:
    “i wish there was more sauce, but you don’t actually want any more, because it is the restraint that is sexy. little coquette!”

    I just hope blogging wasn’t your new year resolution.

  • Sroyon says:

    I used to read Misha when I was small. Because of the Communist connection, you could find lots of extremely cheap Russian-published books in Calcutta, especially on College Street.

  • Raktima says:

    As a person who has always hated eating and doesn’t even know what hunger feels like, this seems to be a strange new experience. A bit like an asexual person reading about sex, maybe, trying to understand, wondering how it must feel.
    Can anyone possibly FEEL all that while eating!? I must be missing out on one of the greatest experiences in life by being asexual to food.

  • @karthik – ha! not really, but i promised someone i’d try to blog. it’s not going well, evidently.

    @sroyon – yet another reason to go to calcutta (again). i found me some gems the last time around too.

    @raktima – hate eating? don’t know what hunger feels like? is this the alien invasion? i have a history of talking about food though – go here for more astonishment.

  • Sroyon says:

    Hahah, I love your reaction to Raktima’s comment. Your other post, where you talk about the strawberry cooler, reminded me of this poem.

    To be honest, the College Street bookstores are now dominated by books on computer programming and IIT-JEE prep material, though you can still find the occasional gem. It pains me to admit this, but these days Bangalore probably has a better second-hand book scene. Still, there is no shortage of reasons to go to Calcutta!

  • Raktima says:

    ^What? Bangalore does!? *growls*

    *continues to growl*

  • relativelytruthful says:

    @sroyon, raktima – actually i spent only 2-3 hours outside NUJS and i saw as much variety in a morning on free school street than i saw in bangalore in a couple of months.

    bangalore has some bookstores (blossoms, bookworm) that focus on secondhand books. avenue road used to be about this stuff but is now all about coaching/engineering books as well. roadside vendors on church street have mostly pirated novels but the occasional secondhand book crops up. roadside vendors in central bangalore as a whole have good but not great stock. fountain in bombay easily outclasses all of bangalore in this respect i think.

    free school street had no street vendors but the little shops selling these books were in the tens, and gave me excellent deals. and that’s only one street in all of cal.. am i missing anything re bangalore’s secondhand book scene? i probably am. where should i go?

  • Sroyon says:

    Oh, I was also thinking of Blossoms and the roadside stalls in the streets around Cubbon Park. Think you’ve got that covered.

    I guess Freeschool Street, College Street and Golpark in Cal are still not bad for an afternoon of bargain-hunting. But I try to maintain a facade of objectivity about Cal and not gush too much because I’m cool like that. :) Also, I tend to undervalue second-hand bookstores in Cal because I can’t help comparing them with the stalls that were around when I was a kid, and as everyone knows, everything was better in the old days. Apparently you could find even more amazing books in the sixties and seventies, but that is only hearsay. I must admit I have gone to College Street more often for the food (what would I not give, at this moment, for a Putiram kochuri) than for books.

    However. In Class 8 I was researching for a newspaper article about the record stores of Freeschool Street (those were the days when I could still write article-length pieces). At the time, there were many more record stores than you see now. I was interviewing a stall-owner, and he kindly took me into his backroom. The small windowless room was stacked from floor to ceiling with LPs. Dusty Springfield, Cream, Steppenwolf, names of myth and legend. And remember, these were pre-torrent times, when mainstream music stores had a very limited selection of Western music.

    My interview notes at that point became garbled, but I will never forget that room. It was like Narnia, El Dorado and Ali Baba’s Cave, all rolled into one.

  • Greetika says:

    so do you still think carrots are sexy? i mean, after you sent me the link to “guts”…i don’t think carrots are sexy at all. (always remember, you did this.)

    • relativelytruthful says:

      carrots are still sexy because i blacked out halfway through guts. :P good to know you made it through.

      yes.. palahniuk is nothing if not a good conversation starter. blog kar please.

      • Karthik Sivaramakrishnan says:

        @rt ji: Apne dormant blog ke comments pe kisi aur ko blog karne ko bolne ka irony aapko suja hoga main maanta hoon :)

    • Karthik Sivaramakrishnan says:

      @Greetika: Yes, this woman has been terrorizing the squeamish world with ‘Guts’. I’m a victim too :)

      • relativelytruthful says:

        the difference is of course that greetika here still has much to say, whereas i most certainly do not. :)

  • Karthik Sivaramakrishnan says:

    @rt: Really? I don’t believe that. If you can find coquettish restraint in pasta(or was it spaghetti?), surely your lawyer eyes are seeing (physically or in the mind’s eye) things worthy of sharing? Must be some kind of time/work pressure I suspect. Touche’ W.H. Davies.

  • vishvak says:

    please explain how to pirichify the mabbu and non-mabbu post? also the most corricta pasta is in pindy bazar briliant kaiyendhi.free

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