Joint Family – Part 2 – Guide for Daughters-in-law

After my hugely successful first post on Joint Family, I’ve decided it’s time for another one on Joint family. Isn’t that the formula in cinema? Make a weak sequel to a decent film and hope that one promotes the other (Billa – original, 1,2). I live the joint-family life everyday (every-&*$@-day), so it’s only natural that the subject is close to my heart and I feel so much about it. This post will be an invaluable guide for girls on the threshold of marriage and a ready reference for dumb DILs (daughter-in-law) like me who learnt everything the hard way, the wrong way. It is the accumulated wisdom of generations of DILs in one place. 1.      Don’t ever ask the husband to put away his clothes, take the kid to the toilet or even get you a glass of water, at-least not in front of the MIL (mother-in-law). Mothers don’t take it lightly when wives come in and get their sons to do a little work after they’ve spent their whole lives training them to do nothing. The wife shalt not disturb the husbands operating the TV remote. 2.      It may be just a simple omelette or rava upma, but everything ought to be done their way. So whether you know how to make it or not, ask the mother-in-law to show you how. Believe me, they’re not looking for Masterchefs, they want Adimais (obedient slaves). All those ads that show the MIL in awe of the new wife’s cooking prowess is total bullshit. Sue those companies. 3.      You think only Infosys has an in-time/out-time record? Every MIL has the wake-up time/enters the kitchen time record. Waking up late is a cardinal sin in the joint-family setup. I am a serial offender. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the bench, if you can’t start anything without the MIL’s directions. Just be there on time and act helpless. 4.      However beautiful the saree may be, however much time you spent picking it, the MIL will 100% want to exchange the saree you so thoughtfully bought her as a gift. She may after going to the store, and inspecting every saree decide to buy something much uglier but she has chosen it, remember! So always take her to the store or if you still want to surprise her and humiliate yourself, keep the bill. 5.      Successful mothers-in-law rarely have a sense of...

Chicken Korma

The chicken korma here is a classic, most basic chicken korma. The chicken is the hero here along with the coconut milk. This chicken korma is creamy, luscious and perfect with dosas or rotis. There’s no ginger-garlic or green chillies in this korma but you won’t miss any of it. This is how we make chicken korma at my husband’s place. At my mom’s place we grind together whole spices along with ginger-garlic and green chillies for a fiery hot, masala spiced korma. I like both versions. I have to, itsn’t that the ideal marumagal formula? Blogging Marathon #33 week 3 calls for food with fiction and I am going to tell you my own story. If you’ve read my post on Joint-family you’ll already know how deeply I feel about the joint-family setup. Oh, I do. In a joint-family setup food choices are well, non-existent and I’ve come to realize the gaping differences between our families – mine and my husband’s. They couldn’t have been more different and this one dish – chicken korma is symbolic of that. My family is mostly vegetarian, my husband’s family is like Raj-Kiran in “En Rasavin Manasile” – hard-core, die-hard non-vegetarians. Idli and Dosai are the staple at my husband’s place, the bottom shelf in the fridge is the designated Idli/Dosai batter shelf (How come refrigerator ads always show a big black forest cake, cut fruits, tall glasses of iced coffee all left open by the way, but never idli batter or yesterday’s rasam? Extreme dramatization is something I am never able to take lightly).  Idli/Dosai is just another tiffen at my mom’s place. We love Upma at my mom’s place but it’s hated vehemently at my husband’s. We don’t even use the same kind of rice – puzhungal arisi (par-boiled rice) at my husband’s and pachai arisi (raw rice) at my mom’s. Thick creamy payasam, light non-tangy sambar, bulls eye and bombay toast are beloved at home. At my husband’s place however payasam is always thin and runny, sambar is tangier, it is omelette rather than bulls eye and toast is only for those sick ailing days. My husband and I are no better. We cannot decide on a restaurant even if Godzilla were chasing our car. We drive around arguing which place to go to and we come back arguing about the place we went to. Ours is a love marriage – Can you tell?...

Joint Family

Happy Independence day to all of you! I don’t have an orange-white-green coloured food recipe yet and I don’t have a patriotic speech either. I am happy we’re independent; better to get under-paid, out-sourced work than having them here. And I am really glad for the holiday. Some time with family. You know how I go on about my joint-family in all my posts. I thought it’s time for a little piece on joint-families. Don’t have women living abroad fool you into thinking joint-family is a sweet, dream-like, people filled Hum apke Hain Kaun set. Liars! Living in a joint-family is messy, tough but convenient and fun (rare times) at times. Here are the top 10 things that happen in a joint family. You know you’re in a joint family when 1.      Your husband likes Fried rice, others don’t. Others like vegetable biryani but your husband doesn’t. So you make a compromise, you make Lemon rice which nobody really likes. And that my friends, is why they say “When life gives you lemons, make lemon rice”.   2.      Everybody watches Vijay TV Super singer but on their individual TVs in their own rooms.   3.      Everybody pools in, but nobody saves. You have multiple sets of everything – TVs, cars, newspapers, pickles and podis but never enough eggs.   4.      You never get to read the day’s newspaper.   5.      Family Dinner: There’s a huge dining table where Prakash-Raj sits at the head of the table and the whole family joins him around the table and they eat together. Never! You never eat together. And rarely at the table. You eat in batches in front of the TV, by the stove and sometimes at the table if it is visible under all that clutter.   6.      The 5th Cheese ball dilemma: You know when there are four of you (friends) at a restaurant, you’ve ordered cheese balls and the waiter brings 5 cheese balls, the 5th cheese ball sits there while everybody is being nice to the others. The 5th cheese ball phenomenon happens all the time in joint families. You’re always fishing for tiny dabbas (boxes) to shove that one gulab jamun and the 2 spoons of chutney into the fridge. Like the 80:20 rule, bottom of the pyramid and other seminal principles, the 5thcheese ball is my contribution to the theory of joint-family dynamics.   7.      Always ask...

Jayanthi Who? Why?

An absentminded, recipe-jotting, over-ambitious, slightly creative, totally unorganized, working mom of 2 wild things, I love to cook. I am Jayanthi. When cooking for family (especially my joint-family –  don’t get me started on this one), there is always at-least one person who doesn’t like the dish, one who doesn’t like it the way I’ve done it and another who’s just not in the mood for eating (usually my son).  So the food better be good (I had to somehow work in the title somewhere)! It’s a wonder that I even muster the courage to cook every morning in this hostile territory. I envy all those other bloggers whose families always finish off their cakes and then they’d make a second one. It’s like those cutesy Karan Johar movies.  It’s never that way at our house. My family is too honest, bigoted and picky or I just don’t cook that great or both. But for readers who think this blog is a “cooking gone wrong/worst dishes ever” kind of thing, I’ll have to tell you this. I am not a great cook, but I am good and I am learning every day. This blog is my OrdinaryHomes journal that will chronicle my kitchen exploits, home-organizing efforts and joint-family life. I work full-time although I do doze off sometimes and what with my little ones, I do not get to cook as often or as much as I’d like to. When I do cook, it’s amidst a riot, my 1 year old son sitting atop the counter and cooking his own special curry and my 3 year old daughter emptying the salt packet on the floor. My husband works from home most days and is well, mostly working. He does help with the kids (I have to say this or he wouldn’t call out for me when they’re acting up!). I live with my husband, kids and in-laws in Chennai.  I enjoy shopping for our kitchen (not my kitchen, joint family remember) more than for my wardrobe. I like to make lists, plan menus and parties, buy gifts, decorate the house and all the other cool Martha Stewarty things. I can’t finish a sentence without a Tamil cinema reference, a bit like Sowkar Janaki in “Yethir Neechal”. This is how we talk among friends and we’ve got so used to it that it’s tough to talk any other way, which may...

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