Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Junk food and a cast-iron stomach

I'm stuffing my face with this rubbery kheema naan right now from Anand Dhaba (on Kasturba Gandhi Lane). It's usually pretty good when we order it at the joint, but gets a little chewy by the time the Ramuboy runs down with it.

I used to have a very "delicate system" as older female relatives put it.
And then college happened.
Specifically North Campus, Delhi University where there's something incredibly unhygenic yet incredibly unavoidable on every goddamn street corner. Be it the bhel puri guy outside St Stephen's, Chacha's chole bhature in Kamla Nagar, the bhel puri guy next to the Mother Dairy outside the Arts Faculty, the oil and chutney-drenched samosas and bread pakoras at Tom's outside Khalsa, the scores of 'nimbu-soda' guys peddling all over the place, the kheema naans at D-School, .....
Stomach's rumbling again....

After college, it was the call centre.
Sure, we had a well-equipped cafetaria, but then who wants to eat chips and boring mayo sandwiches when you have a trans-national buffet happening in the parking lot!
You could choose between momos (with itty bits of dust but otherwise edible) stuffed paranthas of every vegetable possible, bread pakoras, kulfi, bhel puri, gol gappas, and more than I can remember.
The main meals in the call centre were catered by some flight caterer. Not much difference in the quality, but eat-all-you-can.

Really got to experiment with the boundaries of gastronomy when I was with the travel mag. Usual junkets meant jumping interstate buses, inter-city trains and grabbing shelter in the middle of the highway when stuck hitch-hiking.
So meals were sometimes leftover dhaba food somewhere before Bilaspur, fresh buffalo chaach somewhere after Gurdaspur, slightly stale missi ki roti and sarson ka saag when the bus broke down once on the way to Kapurthala, and the most incredible honeycomb dessert I've ever had in Farrukhnagar near the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. Don't try driving after you eat this.

When one lives alone and has a maid with no concept of punctuality, one has to be innovative so as to not go hungry and broke at the same time. Can't keep ordering out, no matter how convenient it is and after a while basic rice and dal becomes tedious to consume.
Since the folks run a Goan restaurant (see later posts) and supplies come regularly from the home state for them, we nick a few goodies. Like a couple of packets of chorizos (spicy Goan sausages) and a couple of bottles of cooking feni.
Trust me, the most insane omelette you will ever try will be a chorizo-feni-cheese combo. You can't think..you have to concentrate and eat!


Spread oil evenly on a frying pan and put on low flame
Dice sausages and remove skin. Add to fire
Crack three eggs
Slice half an onion length-wise
Take two cheese slices and break them up into small chunks
Add onions, salt (to taste) and cheese to eggs
Whip till frothy
Add a splash of milk
Whip some more
Pour mixture on fire
When the upper part of the omelette starts to cook, lift and pour a capful of feni below, directly on the frying pan.
Watch out because it might sizzle and burn your hand.

Forget the ketchup, have this one with Dijon mustard for best results

People are so fussy when it comes to food. Some won't eat brinjal or cabbage or meat. Some won't drink milk, some can't eat on Tuesdays, Fridays, Thursdays....
Some are diet conscious, most don't give a fuck..

Good food is a completely different drug to be on. And you know good food, the second the first morsel touches your tongue.

The only things I won't eat are the mouth freshener that restaurants give you when you're paying your bill and public peanuts on bar counters.
Now that shit is just gross.


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