Sonal Ved's Tiffin

The lockdown has been unpleasant for so many of us.
  • It' been an extended vacation (where one cannot step out of their homes) for some. It has been overwork for some others.
  • It has been more cooking for everybody. And sweeping and mopping and dusting - chores we conveniently left to our househelps on most days.
  • There have been pay cuts, slowed businesses, stressful nights figuring out logistics...
  • Several sects of people have found it difficult to merely step out for groceries. Therefore, several people have stepped in to pay for basic groceries for them. Government rations are one thing, of course. And I'm happy to get into an argument with those who wish to, but there are many who are unable to access even that.
  • The news all over has been devastating. The fake news around it has been annoying (and frustrating).
  • People's older relatives have died and their nearest kin have not been able to make it to funerals. I hear one such case every few days and my heart breaks more for not closed ones not being able to travel to the last rites than for actually feeling grief for an aged passing away (and feel free to call me an idiot).
  • People dying of covid-19.
And in very very very sudden news, towards the end of March, Chef Floyd Cardoz passed away from covid-19 related complications.

So we just rushed things that weekend to pay a tribute to him. A few of us cooked from Sonal Ved's Tiffin that weekend. Because for many of us, that is really the best we CAN do.

For the uninitiated, Chef Cardoz was the brainchild behind The Bombay Canteen (and subsequently O Pedro and The Bombay Sweet Shop) and also a co-owner. He had an illustrious career in USA. And a huge fan following in India. For people whom he had interacted with, it was a huge huge loss. And for folk like me who had always aspired to meet him someday, this was the best way we could pay our respects.

He'd also written the foreword for Sonal's book, so it seemed fitting. We picked Goan recipes from the West India section of her book for obvious reasons.

The Essential Goa Cookbook

by Maria Teresa Menezes

April was also Easter (and Good Friday) month. Plus, we'd cooked Goan towards the end of March. So we thought we'd just continue in the same spirit (of cooking). The other thing is this - we thought that if we're going to be in lockdown for a few weeks, we'd rather make the most of spices or meats we have at home. Cooking regional Indian food is probably our best bet then. Goan, Parsi, Andhra, Kashmiri... I think the options are plenty, rather than picking an internationally published book. Not that internationally published books mean a wider range of ingredients or anything. It's just that those books have epubs or PDFs that we can get online. So everybody who wishes to cook can use their own copy at their own convenience. With Indian publications, often, one of use owns the book. And makes photocopies of it and uses Dunzo to send it across the city. Or then we diligently share pictures of recipes on WhatsApp. Not really optimal. But it is the best we can do.
That was the last few weeks. May 2020 will be fun too, I promise!

More later!
Until then!
Nom nom!
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