Sunday, June 26

cooking for dummies

Dummy=Me. For the first time in my life, I felt VERY clueless in the kitchen, but I guess that's to be expected when a) it's not your kitchen b) there's an extreme language barrier between you and the usual chef and c) you had to wing it with the ingredients. HOWEVER, once I got over all of this, it ended up being one of my favorite experiences so far (and I made a new friend).

So the plan was to make quesadillas. Easy right? HA! I have no idea how Bakkiam (the usual cook) does it every day. Besides being 100 degrees outside, add mincing vegetables and standing over a stove for two hours and you might as well have boiled yourself on that stove. Of course while I'm panting and perspiring, Bakkiam is completely calm and hasn't even broken a sweat. Embarrassing. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We started the feast preparation at 5 p.m. I had every intention of doing this by myself, but now I REALLY have no idea how I'd have done it without my sous chef and new bestie, Bakkiam. First, Sister Gertrude came over and taught me out to make parota, probably the best thing ever, similar to a tortilla but much softer, completely homemade and slightly greasy (YUMS).
Making parota with Sister Gertrude... what a process! But I'm definitely bringing this recipe back to the U.S.!

After those we done, I began the chopping process, chopping peppers, mushrooms, onion and garlic. During this step, Bakkiam told me about her husband, who is sick and her two kids who are in college now. Polaih, who is the gardener here, also came by mid-quesadilla making and he talked at me and Tamil and I responded with some charades and sign language and lots of smiles and finally understood that Bakkiam and Polaih were siblings! I told Bakkiam that we should go sari shopping together because she was wearing a very beautiful one! Not sure if she understood, but we spoke the language of food and cooking, and that was enough to bond us together probably forever.

When the chopping was completed, we "shredded" the cheese and assembled the quesadillas. The nuns TOTALLY loved them and Bakkiam did too! I was a little disappointed in the cheese (it's just not that popular here!) but all in all, pretty darn good if I do say so myself. The nuns want a repeat of that dinner, so that's really all that matters!

Finished product. Not bad!!

Presenting the quesadillas...

The rest of the day, I watched TV... I felt bad just sitting around but the nuns insisted there was nothing for me to do. Thankfully, there was a Friends marathon on (scoreeee!) so I didn't mind. I brought a lot of colorful string from home and assemble and knotted them all together so that next Sunday, we could make bracelets with the kids! I'm hoping to come up with some other ideas and implement "Crafty Sundays"... I think the nuggets would like that.

Sister Hilda and I
Happy nuns, full bellies!

Disclaimer: Excuse my hair and face in these photos; I have decided that there is no possible way to look good in India with this heat. Although you can't tell, I tried.

'Tis all for now! Lots of love!

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