I am officially jet-lagged. I am dozing away early evening, at night and waking up late too and finally that seemed to be acceptable. But someone told me that sleeping any time of the day is actually extreme laziness being passed off as jet-lag. I pretended to be falling asleep when ‘someone’ was still talking. I am very mature.
I spent the last month in US of A but resisted the urge to change my Facebook location. Don’t worry guys – I made sure to visit Niagara. Indian travelling to east coast is not allowed back in India if they don’t produce their Niagara floaters. I did what I had to.
I ate my way through chicken salad sandwiches, quinoa bowls, Burritos, orange chicken, Japanese bento box lunches, pancakes, cheese burgers, Greek Gyros, pizza, Bao buns, eggplant parmigiana, pot-pies, ravioli, grilled chicken and Spanish tapas – and everything with a large order of fries and coke.
I forget Bud light Lime.
I lost myself in the food aisles of Walmart – ready to cook pot pies, Lasagne, pasta sauce in jars, canned beans, tortillas, minced garlic, pancake mixes, puff pastry, breaded chicken cutlets, biscuit mixes. Why would I chop vegetables, knead dough, roll out dough, soak beans? I lost reason for effort. I picked up some bare essentials as a back-up for hungry times, for lazy times. Strange that I went looking for garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala and basmati rice for my back-up. I wanted to be equipped to make biryani when the need arose. Now that I am back in India I want to make croissants.
I loved the stick sized butter and the tbsp. measurements on the wrapper. Third world me, I’d spend 5 whole minutes trying to mentally register all the snacks in the snack vending machine before choosing.
I met some old friends, among the sweetest ones while I was there. Nisha made us dosa after crisp dosa along with a fiery hot chicken curry. It was around the first week when everything seemed all wrong –
“The steering wheel is on the wrong side”
“The vehicles are on the wrong side of the road”
“The restaurant tips will bankrupt me”
“Stop making small talk with me – “check out person”, “store lady”. I have no ability for that.”
I was sure I hated the place. It was around this time that we visited Nisha’s place. Those dosas will be among the tastiest dosas we’ve ever eaten. We ate, talked, laughed. I felt like I wasn’t alone in this big new place. I had friends. Nisha made a big glass of piping hot kashayam for my cough. It was so soothing. And then she did the unthinkable.
She emptied her entire batch of dosa batter into a large box and handed it to me!
“Wha.. ? Me? This entire batch? For me.. ? I.. You.. I don’t know what to say. I am getting emotional.”
It was precious.
I managed to catch up with Niranchana, my school friend I’d not met after school. We exchanged stories and discussed all our classmates and their lives over Pizza and Coke. It was such a fun evening.
I took the train every day to work. I read all the drug ads on the train. I noticed that no one looked at anyone. They were reading, listening to podcasts, checking email or playing games but never just sitting. I stood in queues feeling overjoyed instead of silly. I saw mommies or daddies with two or even three kids in strollers, buckled carriers on their morning jog or out shopping with no entourage.
I rarely cooked and when I did cook I was done in 20 minutes. I drank rosé at happy hour and bud light lime while cooking dinner. I stumbled home woozy and feeling friendly with the world. I spent hours at the bookstore and half a day at the antique market. I learnt to talk to the squirrels at the park. I lay down on the grass while Hasini practiced Bharatnatyam and Yuvan went beckoning the squirrels. I couldn’t make peace with toilet paper though.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have had a preview of my Boston experiences, you may have also had an overdose of me with my aviator glasses. I am more frequent on Instagram than on my blog. If you want more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram. Instagram followers, if you want fewer updates, you can follow my blog.
The recipe I have for you today is in spirit a very American one – it is quick, simple and super easy. This Bombay toast is a distant Indian cousin to French toast but I didn’t make it up. This is my Ammama’s recipe and she was making it long before I ever heard of French toast. You’ll need just 4 ingredients – Bread slices, milk, sugar and ghee. We love eating it as a snack or for breakfast. It melts in the mouth when warm. Enjoy!
- Bread slices – 6
- Milk – 1 -1/2 cups
- Sugar – 4 tbsp (adjust as per taste)
- Ghee – 4 tbsp
- Banana – 1sliced into rounds
- Sugar – 3 tbsp
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- In a shallow dish, pour milk and stir in sugar until sugar dissolves.
- Heat a pan/tawa to medium hot. Dip the slice of bread in the sweetened milk but quickly so that both slices of bread soak up the milk but quickly so that the bread slice doesn’t break up.
- Quickly place the bread slice on the pan and drizzle ghee all around the slice. Cook on medium heat till the underside is golden and nicely toasted. Use a thin spatula to flip the bread slice and cook the other side till golden and toasted. Remove from pan and cook rest of the bread slices in the same way. Serve warm.
- For the banana topping, melt butter in a pan. Add sugar and let it melt. Toss in the banana slices and cook for a minute or until you have a syrupy consistency. Top the Bombay toast with caramelized bananas. Serve warm.