"Buttermilk is very good for summer"
March 9th, 2017 was a momentous occasion in the Pramadh household. It was our turn to make home lunch for Ira and her friends. A fabulous concept at Jackfruit House where the parents get the opportunity to cook a full meal for their child and his/her classmates. We are diligently told when our chance is well in advance. We then have to fill a form, mentioning what we are cooking: Starter, Main course and Dessert options. The home lunches previously done give all of us some clue about what works for the kids and we all create our permutations and combinations depending on our cooking skills and comfort levels. We have seen some super creative cutlets and colourful paranthas, uthappams with paneer and corn and paddus. While the kids must be having a blast, we mommies always wish we were invited for the home lunch too (It is mostly mommies who do the home lunch. In some cases, the papas are also there). Prashant and I love cooking and can easily dish up a meal for 15-20 people. Culinary skills aside, our love for food initially made us feel more ambitious. I wanted to make carrot paranthas for the kids. Making 40-50 parathas should be ok. Then we were told that we have to cook for 35 kids. Yes, 35! Suddenly, the thought of making 70-80 parathas seemed super ambitious. Sanity prevailed and we decided a simpler menu that we both can manage between us and reach school by 11.30am. We made cucumber, tomato, green moong sprouted salad; Buttermilk, Corn and Peas Pulao, Papad and Grapes for dessert (on the request of Ira).
All cooking done and we were all set by 10.30 am. We reach school and are told food time is 12pm. I guess the 11.30 time is to avoid late latifs. Discussing whether the kids will like what we made over vada and coffee, Prashant said that while we have cooked for foodie friends and passed the test, the moment is stressful in a strange way. We walked in with all the dabbas and paraphernalia. The teachers announce what the menu for the day is and the benefits. Eg. Buttermilk is very good for summer.
The excitement and the chaos creates a musical cacophony. Hands go up asking for more butter milk or pulao or papad. The blatant honesty of kids is what makes this experience of dining unique. Kids tell you what they liked and don’t. While some took multiple helpings of the buttermilk, many said they don’t drink buttermilk. Some wanted us to remove the sprout from the salad and some wanted extra corn to be separated and served with the pulao. Conversations accompanied the food and the hour went by pretty quickly. As we wrapped this home lunch and walked out of school, we began talking about….what shall we do for the next home lunch?! Ira, of course was happy to have mamma papa at her school and when her teacher offered to feed her because she was taking her own sweet time, she said, “No! I want to eat by myself”! Another Iraism we feel happy about. Wonder what Ira will request for next year!
Till then, the first home lunch memories are here to stay.