From that first blob of homemade applesauce she fed you when you were a toothless infant, right upto keeping up with your ever-shifting, eclectic food choices over your growing up years, be it vegetable stew or egg curry, butter chicken or crab croquette, fruit custard or gulab jamoon, it’s Mommy who has always known best. She’s never complained about the nicks and burns she’s endured while slaving in front of the stove to appease your palate. The burnt toasts that she chewed and chomped on furtively while you relished your perfectly browned, buttered ones, won’t even get a secret diary mention. Thus and so, it’s easy to get simmered in a mushy stew over Mommy. Yet, one must rise above the mawkish mood when it’s time to say thank you in as minuscule a manner as one possibly can.
And it’s that time of the year yet again..but even just talking about whipping up breakfast-in-bed for Mom seems prosaic. The very mention of eggs Benedict or bhurji, French toast or chutney-glazed sandwiches, pancakes or dosas, hot chocolate or a cup of regular old coffee..abrades the ears, even if you’re a Mom hoping to be dazzled by the culinary trials of your hubby and children. The thought of dragging poor Mommy, who possibly just wants to roll up her cozies and sink into the snug layers of down in her bed, out to a fancy bistro where tall martinis are served with lavish pesto-creamed cavatapi..sounds a trifle too theatrical. The Tadka Moms had to get on the case for this one, and while we’re secretly wishing upon our stars that our hubbies will take a cue and don on their chef hats, along with their little helpers in frilly aprons for us, we’d like to raise a toast to our Moms and to all the Moms in the world who have always known best.
Just as Mommy is whisked away to the backyard or garden and handed her gifts, she could use a drink to chill and revel in the precious initial moments. Perhaps a string of jade will set the right tone to the fandango playing in her head, even as this Ber-mango quenches her thirst, drop after luscious drop. Or maybe a cook book she’s always had her eyes on will fetch the Daddy-kiddy gang some extra points, along with this very merry mocktail they’ve whipped up in a jiff. While Daddy peeled and cut up a ripe mango, the kiddy gang gathered a handful of freshly washed blueberries, throwing them in the blender with a splash of orange juice, some rock salt, a couple of mint leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and some cold water or ice. Daddy then put in the mango and pureed it all up, while a tall glass was readied for a fill up to let Mommy kick-start her special day, and the rest divided among the members of the hardworking team.
Designed to keep Mommy company while she gathers her bouquet and feigns deafness to the clattering in the kitchen – crunchy little canapés put together by the littlest hands in the family. They may need a stool to reach the sink, but they sure can scrape up – every trace of grit from half a dozen spring onions, a firm tomato and two green chillies into a bowl (unless Mom is heat-averse) – all minced finely by Director Dad. The bambinos coolly take charge – tearing up a handful of cilantro to itty-bits, mixing it all up with grated mozzarella, salt, pepper and cumin powder. Showing off newly-acquired scissor skills, they then cut open a package of Ritz or Monaco crackers, arranging six of them on a microwave-safe plate and topping up each with spoonfuls of the mix. With a little nudge to punch the right buttons..30 seconds of nuking time..to melt the cheese and hold it all together, they create these tiny masterpieces for Mommy to wonder and exclaim over.
A festive salad that’s as easy as ABC for nimble-fingered pre-teens to fix all on their own. As Mommy unravels the knotted ribbons on another present, and takes a whiff of her perfumed-wrist, the lads and lassies shave up a skein of colorful streamers from tender carrots and slender zucchinis, using a regular vegetable peeler (stopping when they reach the knobby or spongy vegetable centers). Sparingly dressed with Mom’s favorite vinaigrette or maybe just salt, pepper and lemon juice, it could pose strikingly on the side of the main entrée. Not quite as pretty as Mom, but then..what is?
The main course is sumptuous and satiating for health-food-conscious Mommy, while she smiles back at the handpicked flowers tucked in a handmade vase, even if they’re slightly wilted, after a l-o-n-g walk through the Nature Center the evening before. Grilled organic chicken portions from the Fresh Market deli or even Mommy’s dinner batch leftovers from the night before are sliced up by Daddy while the little troops bring out a bag of lowfat shredded pepperjack or cheddar and the hot sauce. On a griddle, Daddy toasts up Mommy’s favorite multigrain tortillas with a little bit of light olive oil drizzled on either side, with the small hands pitching in by filling up the chicken and cheese in the middle. Then, they’re folded over and cut in half..and served with hot sauce. The outcome? Finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ goodness!
A fitting finale..a chaotic concoction of all things decadent to indulge Mommy’s sweet-tooth. It’s down to the wire, as Director Dad and his little helpers huddle up to debate over her favorite sundae mix-ins – cubes of pound cake, crushed cookies, whole berries or sliced bananas? The winning morsels are then submerged in vanilla ice cream in a long-stemmed goblet, topped with a cascade of chocolate sauce, showered with toasted nuts and crowned with a white truffle from her freshly unwrapped gourmet canister. When it is presented with a messy flourish to Mommy, she must have the last word – handing out spoons to everyone, and in a flurry of delight, tasting, teasing and applauding..it’s scooped and smacked up to the last drop.
We’re linking up our sweet Ber-mango with -