My Sunday Lunch...
Weekends are long awaited in our household. They are isles of freedom, the hours precious to the second. Every Monday as I sit down on my office chair my eyes inadvertently goes to the calendar on my desk where a rabbit family is prancing about in a meadow, and my mind races to the letters in red. The double ‘S’ – Saturday and Sunday. A time to unwind, sleep late, watch movies, go birding. And food, glorious food.
On weekend mornings, as we sit down leisurely to a breakfast of fluffy hot rotis and runny potato curry cooked by my father-in-law (yes, you heard it right), our talk turns to lunch and dinner menus for the day. The little brat loves fish and we love meat. So we decide to have both. Vegetables have had their fair share during the past five days, so it is their turn to sleep off the weekend – off our menus.
I love cooking for the family but the weekdays usually see me cutting corners and resorting to several short-cuts. Weekends are when I turn my kitchen into an adventure zone and lazily stir the pot while checking on the brat’s tantrums from time to time.
A typical Sunday will see me preparing a whole chicken, to be oven roasted. I would generously rub the spice mix and butter over the chicken, all the while inhaling in the flavours and dreaming about that holiday in Kerala. The chicken would then be tucked inside the oven for an hour to roast, giving me time to carry on other chores unobtrusively. Just then a little tornado would come into the kitchen riding his tricycle and turn everything upside down.
I would hear the fridge door open and a petulant voice would come floating to me.
“Mamma, want egg.”
That would be an order and there’s no other option but to drop whatever I was doing. As I put a frying pan on the stove, the brat would appear by my side, scraping along a chair. He would get up on the chair to look while I cooked the egg just the way he wanted.
He loves to watch the butter sizzle on the hot pan, the egg cracked against the kitchen counter and finally the splash of yellow and white on the pan. He would accept the egg, sunny side up, and sidle away to his own corner to savour it. I love the look of wonder and joy on his face when he nudges and breaks the egg yolk, releasing its soft contents. He would then scoop up some of the buttery, golden yellow yolk in his tiny spoon and wave it towards me.
“Look, Mamma. Egg!”
The house would, meanwhile, be filled with the delicious aroma of the chicken roasting away in the oven. A ‘ting’ from the oven would tell me that our Sunday lunch table was ready to be graced with the roast. Leaving the chicken to rest on the tray I would arrange the table. The chicken would then be kept at the centre of the table as the Pièce de résistance, beside the bowl of steamed white rice and lasooni dal. Another bowl would have a salad of thinly sliced onion rings, cucumber and tomato, with a squeeze of lime infused into them. A few green chillies would lie in anticipation in a smaller plate.
I would ask the husband to do the honours and he would slice through the slightly charred, crisp outer layer and the tender, moist meat eagerly. A large chunk of the succulent meat would be placed on each dish and I would then proceed to drizzle some of the roasting juices, packed with tons of flavor, over the roast. This, mixed with rice, dal and the fresh, zesty salad would make our Sunday lunch a magical one.
“Uff, bohut khalu” (loosely translated, it would mean “I ate too much today.”) would be our common refrain as we get up from the table.
And then, after such a hearty yet simple meal, we would nod off to Sleepyland, dreaming of the next weekend and yet another Sunday to relish more food. Glorious food.
How about your Sunday lunch?