You live to cook another day in the Finely Chopped Kitchen. Jamesh Bong. Covid Lockdown Journal 38

Kolkata French toast mornings in Mumbai


Breakfast today was 'French toast' once again.

It could be the heat, but I was exhausted last night and reached La La Land the moment I hit the bed, while K did all the housework I am afraid. 

He settled on the bedside table beside me after ages this morning.
We later realised why he was calling me. He had a gift for me!

I woke up at 6.30 this morning to let Loaf into the bedroom, petted him and fed him breakfast. He was meowing again at 7.30 am and I fed him again and then he settled down on the bedside table beside me while I went off to sleep. Then K patted & cuddled him and he wanted a 3rd breakfast at 8.30 am. We later realised that he was trying to tell us something while we kept feeding him. Talk about a generation gap!

I woke up at 9.30 am. Still feeling knackered. Was tempted to call in for breakfast from Candies when I saw their insta post showing the menu.

Then I reminded myself that I had plans for breakfast last night . I was going to make egg rolls with 2 leftover rotis & 2 eggs that were in the fridge. We are all for supporting restaurants, but we try to cook as much at home as possible and love it to be honest. Even K!

For reasons of physics, I had to change plans midway. The rotis were too fine and thin to be rolled.

Lessons from my mother's kitchen

Thankfully there was bread at home and I made French toast for us, the savoury one my mother used to make me in Kolkata.

I cranked out an espresso, passed a plate to K who was on a work Zoom call, and then sat to eat myself.


An unexpected burger windfall

I set out to get lunch ready a bit later when the phone buzzed. The folks at Burger King and Culinary Culture had sent a gift pack of food. Many burgers and fries. The chicken in the tandoori chicken one was tender and tasted of a good tandoori. The patty in the lamb one was juicy and flavoursome.

Surprise sauce on a day when my back felt stiff and body a bit tired.

I portioned out the food in time for us to eat and for K to then take up stations for a TV panel discussion that she was recording.

Eye of the tiger

Rocky Loaf

As I heated the food, K told me about how playful she saw Loaf was last night when I was asleep. She had gone to the kitchen and saw Loaf playing hide and seek by himself. In Carrie Mathison or Doron mode as we jokingly say after the Homeland and Fauda series.

Then I realised why. I spotted a tiny mouse. Baby Rambo Loaf had drawn first blood. K's cat owning friend T told her that a mouse could be a gift for me. Well he did keep it outside the kitchen and the the kitchen and the study are the two spots that he associates me with.

Clean up Mumbai

K scooped it up in a box as rats freak me out. Then I junked it in the garbage and came back and mopped the whole house using a Gala spin mop that K had ordered from Amazon and a floral scented floor cleaner from Big Basket. Feeling happy to have contributed to the housework as K does most of the heavy lifting while I work on strengthening my lower back.

I felt a bit stiff in the hip after this but was at peace with myself. All 3 of us like a clean house and I had cleaned the floors, dusted the furniture and mopped the window sill too. Plus the platform outside my study desk where Loaf rests. I had awakened my inner Monica (from FRIENDS) you could say and for a change, not just in the kitchen!


Flavour festival

In the evening I made myself an amazing tacos/ roll with a thepla that I had bought from Punjab Sweet House a few days back. The leftover Burger King fries. The Soam green chutney and Heinz ketchup. It tasted so good.

My reaction made K say, "you are the only person who fixes himself a snack and then keeps smiling in happiness!"

I was also smiling as I knew that dinner was taken care of.


Thai biryani

Yesterday chef Seefah had sent us a few of the lovely sausage milk buns that she made based on memories of her childhood favourite dish from the supermarkets of Bangkok. K and I shared that last evening and loved it.

Seefah had also sent a curried chicken and rice dish called Khao Mok Gai. It belongs to the Muslim community of Thailand and can be called a Thai biryani she said. With the lockdown on, she's making dishes which remind her of home but are not on the restaurant menu.

The 'Thai biryani' is much lighter in spicing than the Mumbai one. More like the chicken pulao of Kolkata. It is no wonder that I had felt that Bengal and Thailand shared the same food continuum after K and I went there in 2005. I had gone there in '78 too but I was too young then to analyse the food and had barely tasted any Bengali food then as we used to live abroad.

This was my dinner tonight along with the lovely chicken stock soup. I relished it even though it was a day old.


K does not eat rice. So I repurposed the leftover Khane Khas shahi paneer gravy for her. No, I did not make 'shahi chicken' as I usually do. We were out of both chicken and eggs today, so I made her a shahi gajar shimla mirch. K loved it.

Well, as my Jamesh Bong self would say, 'you live to cook another day in the Finely Chopped Kitchen.' 

Loaf often joins us for dinner in between naps with a visit to his litter
box after that and then a few nibbles more! He always has to announce
before and after he goes to do his business with a meow. Dramabaaz!