How to be kind to fat people, Kindness challenge

How to be kind to fat people

I started the kindness series a while back with the intention of sharing stories of kindness. I was hoping it would spread some positivity and set off a chain of kindness. If you have a story of kindness whether given or received that you’d like to share with the world, please write to me: jayanthi.padmanabhan@gmail.com. It need not be Nobel peace worthy. I am talking about little everyday acts of thoughtfulness, sensitivity and kindness. I’d love to highlight your story on foodbetterbegood. While I wait for these stories, I thought it might be a good idea to intersperse it with short “How to be kind to X” posts. Last month it was about “How to be kind to hung over people“. Today it is all about being kind to fat people. Feel free to share this post with friends who need this. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to be kind to fat people or anybody else. Who else could do with some kindness? Your comments, feedback are most appreciated. Thank you! Stay happy, stay kind!  
Enchilada salsa verde

Enchilada Salsa Verde

One of my favourite scenes in the movie “Sindhu Bhairavi” is the one where J.K.B (played by Sivakumar) calls his wife (played by Sulochana) a “gnanasoonyam” because she ran her mixie on full throttle when he was passionately listening to music. Stung by his words, Bhairavi sniffles “Will Lata Mangeshkar make paruppu podi for you?” J.K.B feels even more contempt for his ordinary wife. I love this scene because it is beautiful and brutal and honest. On seeing this scene, if you pity Bhairavi for being a simpleton, you are just being a kinder J.K.B but still a chauvinist. If you see the simple truth in Bhairavi’s words you’ll realize that if the wives, mistresses, mothers did not make them their paruppu podi when they were travelling, if they did not remember to pack their jattis and lungis, if they did not steal the jeans away for washing once a month, if they did not pack their lunches, if they did not deal with homework, dinner and emails while they caught up on matches and Sunny Leone on whatsapp, if they did not remind them about their mother’s birthdays and anniversaries, if they did not fuss about making the dosai just the way they want it – crispy or browned on one side only, then the J.K.Bs will realize they don’t have the veshti for the kutchery, their stomach’s upset from eating out and they’ve run out of jattis. And if only women practice less perfection, women may finally find some time to listen to music, read the paper and have a conversation with a friend. I have tons of things I’ve been meaning to share on the blog here but haven’t got around to – Project50k (my weightloss journey), my trip to kodaikanal, a few stellar recipes I tried over the last few weeks and plenty of big small things. I’ll share these on the upcoming posts. Enchilada Salsa Verde I have a scrumptious enchilada recipe to share today. I knew I wanted to make Enchilada salsa verde when I saw lovely plump green tomatoes in the grocery store. I made a large portion of salsa verde that I used for this recipe. I still have a jar of leftover salsa sitting in my fridge. I took the lazy route to making this salsa as you would have come to expect from me. I didn’t roast the veggies. I...
Pesto paneer sandwich

Pesto paneer sandwich

When I hear some people complain that they’re too overwhelmed, that they’re overworked and super busy, I feel like Manick Basha caught amongst “Naanum rowdy thaan” rowdies. The real dons, the real rowdies, the worker bees go about their business like the professionals that they are. They don’t have the time nor the need to tell everyone how busy and important they are. I learnt though that this is not as obvious to the world. The world believes the “Naai Sekhars” more than “Manick Basha” or “Velu Naicker”. Strange world. When men tell me they’re too busy, I feel especially amused. Single men, you don’t even qualify. Really? You are busy whatsapping in the toilet for an hour, reading the paper, taking your own bath, dressing up yourself, eating, putting on shoes on your own but having somebody bring you your socks and going to work. By that standard, my 6 year old is overwhelmed and super busy too. What do ya call the mommies and wives who cooked two meals, packed several lunches, got the kids ready for school, made the morning coffees and teas, set up the washing machine, straightened up the house, did the morning poojai, bathed & dressed (nobody brought her socks or panties) and drove to work, worked all day, answered calls in between to tell folks where the cello tape is, where the cough syrup is, came back home, straightened up the home, cooked dinner, lost her temper during homework time and made up during bed time? I call them the real rowdies. The professionals. No snivelling, no complaining, no publicity, no projection. We simply get the job done. Next time some “Naai Sekhar” complains to you about how busy he is, remember who you are. Basha doesn’t go about telling people he is Basha, until it is time. Pesto Paneer sandwich I have an incredibly easy but flavour bursting pesto paneer sandwich recipe for all you real rowdies out there. Read on for the recipe.   The key to a good pesto is good olive oil and a generous amount of it. I love a good pesto (check out the pesto recipe here). I love it so much, I’d willingly slather it on toast, stir into stir fries and toss my pasta in it. I suddenly realized last week that I hadn’t made pesto in a long long time. I was in luck,...
Mocha kottai rice

Mocha kottai rice

You know the saying “Never try to buy the mother-in-law a gift”. Never try to buy the mother-in-law a surprise gift It’s something I forget from time to time, hopeful idiot that I am. I learnt long ago to keep the receipt intact whenever I am buying her a saree because she will one hundred percent want to go and exchange that. Somehow the one I’ve bought is the most wrong saree, the one saree she wouldn’t have picked from the entire store. She’ll take me along with her and ask my opinion on the saree she selects. By now I realize my role. I have to agree with her but pretend that it’s my opinion. I promise myself I will never buy her a saree for a gift, ever. I once buy her a saree and pitch it to her. I show her how it’s just like the one the woman wears in the advertisement, how it is a style and colour she doesn’t possess. She takes it and doesn’t ask to exchange it. I must be a natural at sales I begin to think. The next week, I see that her mother is wearing the saree I so neatly pitched. I promise again. For a recent birthday of hers, I take her to the saree shop and ask her to choose her gift. She chooses, I agree. She declares it’s one of the best sarees she’s received recently. I agree. You’d think I’d have everything sorted out now. It happens that I am a slow learner. Last week at the book store, I see a good collection of tamil books on alternative medicine. I immediately think of the maamiyaar, an avid acupuncture, reiki follower and pick up a couple of books on siddha medicine and home remedies. For a brief minute I see her enthusiastically taking the books and saying how useful they will be. I stand in line to pay for the books. I shake off my little reverie and see exactly what she’s going to say. I still go ahead and buy them. I tell myself that my intention is pure. I give her the books and I see zero surprise. I pretend to be unaffected and flip a few pages, pretending to read. I look down at the book and actually read a few home remedies because I don’t know what to say when I...
Paneer fried rice with kerala style matta rice

Paneer fried matta rice

You’ve woken up late, want to pee but you’re late, so you hold it in and wake up the kids pleading and threatening in turns, switching off the fan, rushing to the fridge and then to the kitchen, all the while shrieking to make sure the kids are in the bathroom, shifting from one foot to another, prepping the veggies, washing the dal, pouring batter into the idli plates, calling out to check that they’re bathing and not sleeping by the bucket or water-fighting, setting the pressure cooker on the stove and looking to steal a few mins to go to the bathroom but one of them demands to know the lunch and the other can’t find the tie and by the time you’ve sorted that, you need to check on the vegetables, you remove the hot idli plates from the gundaan and tie her ponytails while the idlis cool, you pack the lunch, give them a plate of idlis to share, change from the nighty into the shabbier three-fourth pants, slip on someone else’s slippers and walk across to the bus stop, help them into the school van, wave bye, walk back home, check the stove to make sure everything is switched off, go to the bathroom and lock yourself in and sit on the toilet, close your eyes in a kind of accomplished relief and you hear through the bathroom door – “Where is the towel”? It’s as if somebody has snatched my award-winning moment from me. I therefore believe mothers tend to have greater holding capacity. I also believe bathroom doors need to be sound proof. The bathroom is the last refuge, my me-time of the day, my meditation space and I want no interruption there. It’s my Mount Everest. “Every mommy needs a sound proof bathroom”   You’ll love this Healthy twist to fried rice – Paneer fried matta rice Everyone needs to make this paneer fried matta rice to believe how tasty matta rice can be. Kerala matta rice is a kind of red rice popular in Kerala and Karnataka. The uncooked rice grains are brown coloured. Once cooked they turn white with thin red streaks. They’re chewy, nutty and incredibly filling. This paneer fried matta rice is an ingenious way to include a healthy alternative rice into your diet. You get to relish your favourite paneer fried rice sans the guilt. This rice takes...
hung over clipart

How to be kind to hung over people

Wish you a very happy new year! May all your dreams come true this year! Wish we all show more kindness to each other this year. I received exactly one email from a dear reader – Aarthi about my kindness challenge who rightly pointed out that people might not be comfortable sharing their stories of kindness, in blowing their own trumpet. She also suggested that it might be easier instead to share stories of kindness that they have experienced from others. I think that’s a great idea too. I am still open to highlighting stories of kindness in this space, whether given or experienced. So please feel free to share your stories with me; you can mail me at Jayanthi.padmanabhan@gmail.com. In the meantime until the kindness stories start pouring in, I thought I’d pepper the series with a “How to be kind to x” post each week. This week it is all about being kind to hung over people. Let’s jump right in: How to be kind to hung over people Hung over people are in a bad state. They’re already regretting the previous night. Harder than being hung over is pretending not to be. So please make it a little easier and save the sermon for later.  If you’re the spouse, parent, child or sibling please wait for the next day to say anything. If you’re anybody else, it’s not your business. Avoid judging them by way of innocent sounding questions about their family, kids, drinking habits and such. You need not approve of any of those. If the hungover person is a woman, avoid snide remarks trying to shame her. It is still not your business. Avoid judging her by way of innocent sounding questions about her family, kids, drinking habits and such. You need not approve of any of those. Draw the blinds. Provide some food, a big jug of water, a combiflam or the preferred tablet for headache and let them sleep in. Give them their sunglasses if they find it too bright when moving around the house. If possible, cover for them. Try to take care of their chores or commitments for the day. Lend a patient ear if they want to explain or talk about the previous day. Hear completely and try not to say what you would have done in the situation. When they’ve recovered, objectively list out your problems, your expectations and a...
Easy, delicious and filling mocha kottai quesadilla

Mocha Kottai Quesadilla & some fun new year resolutions

Wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year! Hope you had a good holiday break! Harder than waiting for the holidays is getting back into the grind after the break. I usually spend the last day of the holiday entirely on worrying that the holiday is getting over. In fact I feel better the next day when I am back to the daily grind. I am that serious a worrier. I am sharing a super easy, yummy mocha kottai quesadilla recipe and some of my family’s new year resolutions. Lists, lots of lists When I am anxious I make lists. It’s my way of allaying fears and resolving uncertainties. I made plenty of lists and lists of lists. Among the many lists was a list of books to finish reading, list of recipes from cookbooks that I have to try and resolutions for the year. I also drew up a weekly timetable to designate some time for writing, reading and cheating on my diet. When I did an inventory of the books, I discovered that I had 15 books that I had yet to read. I immediately added a resolution to my resolution list to not buy another book until I finished reading these 15. I think it’s a really good exercise because it helps you quantify your backlog. You can then estimate how much effort and time may be involved in actually reading them all. You’ll most likely over-estimate. You may not complete all the books within your expected timeframe. But it’s a good start. Kids’ resolutions I am not sharing my resolutions this year because I have something more interesting to share – Hasini’s resolutions. I had Hasini and Yuvan write down their own resolutions too. Hasini really took to it and went on to write 30 resolutions. What you see here is a small excerpt of that. What I loved about their resolutions was that they were all quite simply about having fun and feeling happy and doing your thing. I also discovered a thing or two about their interests I wouldn’t have guessed earlier. I didn’t know Hasini was into juicing or sun news. One of yuvan’s resolutions was for me to play cars with him every day. I was touched. I immediately added that to my own list of resolutions. Do ask your kids to write down their resolutions, plans, aspirations for...
chocolate cherry cake

Dark chocolate cherry cake | A thank you note

Cake making is always a serious affair for me. I approach it with fear, anxiety and nervousness. I have slightly more confidence than I had a few years back but I am still a nervous wreck when I have a cake to be made. I recently made this Dark chocolate cherry cake with whipped cream and chocolate toppings for Hasini’s birthday party. I must say, I outdid myself. The recipe itself is unbelievably simple and fuss-free, it’s very hard to go wrong. That this simple and unassuming a recipe yields such a wondrously moist, deep chocolatey cake makes me wonder why I’ve separated eggs, beaten them separately & folded them gently in the past. I doubled the chocolate cake recipe from Bakingamoment site. It is a keeper. Lesson: A more complicated recipe is not necessarily a finer one. Sometimes a simple one is just as good or even better. Keep it simple.   Don’t be put off by the number of components to this cake. They’re each quite simple on their own. Together they make a beautiful Dark chocolate cherry cake that’s perfect for a birthday, a celebration or a special occasion. Here are some images from the birthday celebrations. We had a cooking theme birthday party. Hasini and her friends made their own pizzas and decorated sugar cookies with royal icing. My Mamiyaar stitched custom aprons for all the kids. These aprons were the birthday favours. The kids wore these aprons while working on their pizza and cookies. Yuvan, the lone boy wore the blue apron.   The party menu was short and simple – pizza that the kids made, Dark cherry chocolate cake, French fries and ice cream. I used my mandolin slicer to make short work of about 3 kilos of potatoes, fried them and froze them a day before the party and then fried them just before serving time. The kids relished the pizza more than usual because they had made them with their own hands. I hadn’t thought of that but was glad it worked out that way. You know how our women always head to the kitchen in the host’s house to help, to offer a lending hand, to ease the pressure. I always loved that solidarity. As a mommy who has successfully conducted another kid’s birthday party I have a thank you note to read. I need to thank all the women who...
cabbage paratha

Cabbage paratha | A kindness Challenge

Tell me it’s normal to not want to read the newspaper because it makes you sad. If you’re here for just the cabbage paratha bit, please feel free to jump right down to the recipe. If you have a bit more time, please read on. I cried last week when I read the stories of the wives, mothers of fishermen from Kanyakumari who are waiting, praying for a miracle after cyclone Ockhi. They are fighting despair as each day passes, hoping that their loved ones would return alive somehow while also wondering how to make ends meet, how to explain to the little kids at home who are asking for their “Appa”, how to pay back the loan they took for the new boat, how to pay the school fees. I pray for all those families. I urge you to pray too, for them. I am a huge believer in the power of prayers. I think it can make a difference. It is hard to be kind Too often we underestimate the value of a kind act, a small prayer, a tiny favour. We’re doing these things so rarely these days because we’re very busy being enraged about the news. There’s rarely anything positive or happy in the news anyways. I can barely contain my despondency when I read about another rape, another hate crime, the lifelong court trials that suck the life out of the people before tilting in favour of the powerful. Add to that, the self-righteous, sweeping generalizations and twisted up narratives that people serve up on social media attacking their favourite people to hate. I don’t know if everyone has an Aadhar card, if everyone has a bank account. Everyone sure has a group they hate. Women, men, hindus, muslims, Christians, low-caste, high-caste, brahmins, devars, non-brahmins, Sanghis, Commies, Congis, Leftists, Thalapathy fans, Thala fans. It is hard to be optimistic. And precisely because it is so difficult, I think we need to try extra hard to stay hopeful, to be kind and to do good. Kindness, generosity and cheer are like muscles. We need to work them constantly so that we can put them to use when we need them most.   Goodness There was a friend in school who complained about being left out from the gang and acted up from time to time being frosty and even rude. I remember being miffed by the...
Chicken cutlet, easy make ahead party appetizer

Chicken cutlet

After “EPIC” being used to describe the most non-epic everyday things – the morning omelette, the bun from the tea kadai, discounted buffet spread with the groupon coupon, the 127th selfie against the brick wall, your new haircut, the son’s first drawing of an elephant that actually looks like a car, three friends meeting at the coffee shop, the family wedding that others don’t really care about except to see if you’re fat too and the dress you ordered online that looks nothing like Deepika Padukone’s outfit, I don’t know anymore what people intend when they say “EPIC”. Then what are Mahabharata and Ramayana? I thought those were EPICS. My most hated word of 2017 It shows a certain laziness, an unwillingness to look for the right word, and an almost obnoxious need for attention. I thought “awesome” was overused and irritating. But “EPIC” has surpassed that. “EPIC” is my most hated word of 2017. What words do you think are most over-used? Which are the ones you can’t stand. Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear. The new year is coming up fast along with plenty of holidays and parties. If you need a delicious make-ahead party snack, look no further than this chicken cutlet(try these chicken vadai too). This chicken cutlet recipe will come in extremely handy as it ticks all the boxes for a good party appetizer – it is absolutely lip-smacking, it is crunchy and deep fried and it is 90% make ahead – you can make these days ahead and freeze them and fry them up before your party. Make Chicken Cutlets if you want to feel sophisticated Hasini and Yuvan absolutely dig these chicken cutlets. They ate these all week. I loved the feeling of having read-to-fry cutlets in the fridge. It made me feel all sophisticated and prepared and in-charge of things when I really wasn’t any of that. If you want to feel sophisticated, make these chicken cutlets and stove them away in your fridge. Let me know how it feels later on. Just try not to say “EPIC”.