|Liam helping me peel the blanched tomatoes|
|Analee helping me with the food processing.|
She's thinking, Mom, you're nuts if you think I'm going to eat that.
So after an entire morning of trying to get this meal together (plus taking care of a baby, a toddler and homeschooling a four year old), I finally had everything in their crock pots by 11:30am. Just in time for lunch. Hurray, another meal.
However, after coming home from Liam's French class at 3:30pm, all my previous feelings about never wanting to cook another Indian meal vanished. The most glorious smell of cooking curry hit me as soon as I opened the door. It filled me with good feelings and memories of my Indian grandmother who taught me how to cook Indian food.
Ok, that's not really truth. I wish I could say that my Indian grandmother taught me how to cook because it sounds really cool, but actually I don't have an Indian grandmother and she only tried to teach me how to cook. I probably would have learned more if she would have been able to speak better English.
When we lived in South Denver, I nannied (or at least that's what they called it) for an Indian family and had some of the worst experiences of my life. I actually was an underpaid tutor for a 13 and 16 year old and was treated like a servant, but I felt like a slave because I couldn't quit. I was constantly belittled and threatened with being fired, yet I was bound to this job. I had to help support my family and this was the only job that had the hours and pay I needed. The. longest. 9. months. of. my. life. Have you ever heard of a nanny job where you are held responsible for the kids' grades?? Kids who only got these grades because their previous nanny did the work for them! Yeah, that bad. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. I may have very well escaped purgatory with that job if only I would have been able to offer up my sufferings without complaining so much! The only good thing I got from that job was my love for Indian food. That, and free Maroon 5 tickets!
Where was I? Oh yes, Indian grandmother. Granny, whose real name I don't remember, came for the entire summer to live with said family. She treated me as respectfully as I would imagine she treated her servants in India, which was a lot better than I was being treated by my boss- the Mom. UNTIL she started getting really sick of the way her daughter was belittling her too. You see, the mom was a tyrant who ran the house and held everyone under her fearful reign. Even her husband was helpless and told Granny that he didn't know what to do with his wife. How sad. Anyway, Granny started confiding in me because she had nowhere else to go. And so started our odd friendship.
We managed to organize a night out of the prison where she would teach me how to cook Indian food. I still smile when I think about how we snuck out spices from her daughter's cabinet. I didn't have all the right ingredients that are needed for a good Indian meal, and there was no way the mistress was going to be as kind as to let me have a few grams of spices. So Granny carefully wrapped about five different spices into napkins and stuck them into my pocket when the kids weren't around. She was a sly one! Before we left for our fun night, the mom had to threatened me one more time. "If I find out you've been talking about me or my family, You will be like gone!" I remember her spitefully saying.
Granny ( insisted her American grandchildren call her this funny name inspired by the Loony Toons Granny. I considered myself one of her American Grandchildren) tore up my kitchen like no other bossy old Indian woman could. "Now sweep!" she told me as she pointed to the mess we made in my kitchen. She may have been old, but she sure was lively. When it was time to eat, we sat down together with my son and my husband, but Granny didn't want to eat. She'd rather watch. After we took the first few bites, Granny not so shyly, said, "well....compliment me!" Actually, I don't remember her exact words but I remember her funny little way of asking for some praise! It was the most awkward, interesting dinner company we ever had. It was fantastic! The food was good too, but not as good as the food Granny made in her daughter's house where she had all the right ingredients and tools.
So that's the story of my Indian Grandmother whom I fondly called, "Granny" mostly because I couldn't remember the correct pronunciation of her name. When she left, she secretly gave me her email address, and I secretly gave her mine, though I never heard from her again. I was too chicken to email her either. I was still under the fearful reign of mommy monster and I didn't want anything to get back to her. She told me I should visit her in South India. Boy, would that be a trip!
And here's my Indian meal I made the other night.
And here's what the kids ate. After two hours of slaving over hot crock pots, they eat pizza. Normally, I make them eat what we eat- whether they like it or not- but the curry was way to spicy for them. I was being nice this night.