From skillet to swing bin

My missus had kept a vessel full of batter in the fridge for making idlies before leaving for Madras for hardly a day to attend her nephew’s thread investiture ceremony.

Game for trying my hand at making Idlies, I placed the cooker on the gas stove with each cavity in the idly-plates filled with the batter and lighted the stove. After about ten minutes I poked the handle of a thin spoon into one of the idlies to know if it was ready to eat.

What came sticking to the spoon as I raised it was the raw batter itself since it was only partly cooked. The lid of the cooker lying beside the stove was an indication that I had forgotten to close the vessel. Soon covering the cooker with the lid, I turned the gas on. When I returned to the kitchen after about 10 minutes, I found it hard to insert the spoon into the idli, as the stuff had by then turned too hard to be pierced, compelling me to discard the whole stuff. A Maggie snob, I changed over in short order to a packet of Maggie and had it cooked.

The next day, for a change of taste I made a bash at preparing rava upma. Even the thought of the dish prepared occasionally by my wife made my mouth water.

I poured a tumbler full of water into a skillet, placed it on the stove and turned the knob on. When the water began steaming, I put in it a tumbler of rava, added chopped onions and green chillies to it and left for the main hall to read the daily. Fifteen minutes later I returned to the kitchen, took a big tablespoon, filled it half with refined oil, added a pinch of mustard and heated it on the stove till the contents started sizzling and crackling. Emptying out the spoon tout de suite into the rava, I stirred them well and kept the skillet on the kitchen platform for it to cool.

Tongue hanging out to eat upma, I came back to the kitchen after a few minutes and shoved a perforated ladle between the frying pan and the lump of what was supposed to have turned into upma.

As I made an unstinting bid to scoop up a bit of the substance with one hand while gripping the pan tight with tongs, up came the frying pan together with the solid stuff — supposed to be upma — contained in it. Digging into the hard substance with a spoon, I picked up a blind bit of it to feel how it tasted. It clung tight to my palates like a stick jaw forcing me to try different means to free my mandible.

The skillet landed in the scullery. I had to keep it soaked in water for hours before I could try to separate the clingy stuff from the pan. Slices of bread dunked in coffee substituted my cherished upma for breakfast that day.


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