Sometimes even a simple plate can spark off a blog post

The last surviving quarter plate.
Thanks for the jam Rushina


I Instagrammed a picture of toast and jam from breakfast today.

When I looked at my Instagram feed, the plate caught my eye. I have used this plate before too while putting up other breakfast pictures such as French toast or cheese and toast. This is my breakfast plate. On rare days when I eat breakfast at home.

We bought this plate while setting up our first house before we got married. In case the moral police (read my mother) is reading, I moved in first and K did after we got married.

I remember that we had gone all the way to Crawford Market to buy our first plates. K's mom had told us that you get good and inexpensive crockery there. So K and I went one evening to Crawford market and went into a shop deep inside.

Don't ask me the name of the shop. I have no idea.

Did we have cold drinks at Badshah? No, we didn't. The food media wasn't so evolved then. Bloggers didn't exist. Mass media folks rarely wrote about small places in those days. 

I am talking of the early 2000s. I hadn't heard of Badshah.

We indulged in a rare, in those days, cab ride to bring the plates home to Bandra from Crawford. This was a kali peeli Fiat way before Ola and Uber.

Bandra didn't have the huge number of shops selling dinner sets as it does today. 

We bought a set of pretty dinner plates and quarter plates that evening at Crawford Market. Both with blue borders but not from the same set. And some glass bowls.

One of the two remaining dinner plates
Chicken pulao cooked by Bunkin & Breakin Banu


We were happy that we got we seemed like a great deal. Playing house was fun. I am not sure if we had bargained.

In the run up to our wedding we went and bought a set of two plates, bowls, etc from The Bombay Store. Expensive, but chirpy. And a little beanie soft toy dog. We called them our wedding plates. Not the dog!

Our first kitchen was very small. As was the apartment we rented in Khar.

The 'kitchen' was actually a narrow verandah. So tiny that the two of us didn't actually fit in at the same time.

That kitchen's where I learnt cooking. After a year of dating and eating out every night, and a personal loan on a credit card (what was I thinking) to pay for the deposit of the house, we couldn't afford to go out to eat anymore.

We started our kitchen with a hot plate and a toaster that K's mom gave us, then got a gas connection and finally bought a microwave with our wedding money.

We had decided to spend the money we received from the family for our wedding on setting up house rather than on throwing a wedding reception. So please don't sulk if we didn't call you to our wedding. Only 5 adults and two pre-teens, our immediately family here then, were invited. Wedding at the Court at Asiatic Library. Buffet lunch at the now shut Starters and More. Dinner at Gallops.

Yet, we wanted to eat well even though cash starved. At least I did.

K would print recipes from the internet at work from food sites. Blogs didn't exist then remember? Nor did YouTube.

She would print these in pink and yellow sheets for some reason.

Well, her mother did call up her office and ask for 'creative Kainaz' (true story).

I bought a cookbook from a vendor in a local train. Glossy paper. Pretty pictures. Only 30 bucks or so.

K bought Nita Mehta's chicken recipe book.

We cooked from these recipes after work. We would take up kitchen duties on alternate days. I would look forward to them and would wait impatiently, on days K was in the kitchen, to get the stove back.

She would diligently cook each recipe teaspoon by teaspoon when she cooked.

I would follow recipes once, then internalise and improvise.

We were young and with precariously low, and at times non-existent, bank balances. Yet we ate very well.

We have changed a few houses in the last decade and a half. Got bigger kitchens.

#BunkinBanu came into our life and we eventually made her our cook too. K happily gave up kitchen duties. I give out instructions on the phone to Banu on what and how to cook every day (when she shows up) and she goes 'jee saab', 'yes Marco'.

I cook very very occasionally now.

#BunkinBanu is also #BreakinBanu.

Thanks largely to her, partly to me and to many house shifts, all the wedding plates are gone.

Most of the Crawford market dinner plates bowls have been shattered into the pages of history.

The plate in the picture is the only one remaining from the Crawford Market quarter plates.

Frozen in memory thanks to Instagram.

I guess it's time to brew some fresh memories.

Please follow me on Instagram
@TheFinelyChopped

3