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‘Come summer season, I’d ask for a taller field of sandwiches, to have the ability to take greater than the same old two’

‘Come summer season, I’d ask for a taller field of sandwiches, to have the ability to take greater than the same old two’

One superb day within the early ’70s, my era of city children and their moms took to sliced white bread as if it was the one factor that had been lacking from their lives for generations. I suppose it was, actually.

And when it arrived, it knocked out all different nutritious and home-grown school-tiffin choices from many a house. My older siblings might have a dim reminiscence of being given poha, upma, sabudana khichdi, chappati roll, however by the point I got here alongside, steel tiffins had been quickly changed with plastic ones. And white bread had stolen a march over a number of the indigenous fare.

There we had been then, strolling the varsity compound in the course of the 15-minute recess, or sitting in tight little cliques — we had been maybe the forerunners, the precursors, to later generations of imply women — taking part in out delicate techniques of inclusion and exclusion. Everybody had one factor in frequent although: the tiffin field was held in a sure method. The lid was all the time positioned at proper angles to the underside. I don’t know who taught us — college parampara maybe. This was perhaps a carry-over from the times when consuming in public was a self-conscious and uncommon factor. So that you positioned your meals in such a method that it was not within the direct line of imaginative and prescient of anybody. The lid served as a protect — from what? Hungry eyes? Prying eyes? Evil eyes?

Nobody is self-conscious about consuming within the open anymore. That fell by the wayside some a long time in the past. In our and different households, consuming one thing whereas strolling dwelling from college or out on a stroll was thought of wanton, brazen, shameless, hoggish, mannerless, craven — you select the adjective. Perhaps a kinder catch-all phrase can be ‘inappropriate’. However our moms weren’t vulnerable to utilizing kinder phrases. ‘Even canines take their meals to the facet and eat it, and don’t stroll alongside and chat with pals khaat-khaat (whereas consuming),’ we had been advised. To which, if you happen to had been within the temper to start out a thrust-and-parry with an elder, you may give you the argument that the buffaloes strolling on the highway to the close by pond most actually walked khaat-khaat. To which you can deftly be put down with an ‘Okay, then be a buffalo’.

However I digress. A few of us grew to become confirmed jam-and-breaders. Each college day. And so, an excellent barter system then fell into place. In some houses, bread had been saved firmly out. My South Indian pals nonetheless bought ethereal idlis and two scrumptious chutneys, my North Indian classmates introduced layered wheat parathas with a bit of pickle that despatched out saunf and onion-seed aromas even earlier than the dabbas could possibly be opened; there was a smattering of luchi-aloo carriers too. As all of them hankered for jam-and-bread (all the time with that startlingly vermilion-coloured ‘blended fruit’ jam), whereas we had been hallucinating about idlis and parathas earlier than the recess bell went — the barter labored for us all.

Come end-March and April, I’d ask for a taller field of sandwiches, to have the ability to take greater than the same old two. Jam-and-bread can be pushed apart by a seasonal, extra Indian, avatar. Uncooked mango and white onion chutney sandwiches. The white onions at the moment would come into the market in nice large hanging bunches from Alibaug to our suburb of Chembur, Mumbai. A latest go to to Alibaug noticed me coming dwelling laden with them. However they’re obtainable in all places within the season, now.

Delicately soured

My mom would make this sensational chutney in her newly-acquired Rico Mixer — somewhat twister of a dry and moist grinder. The earlier evening, she would have taken every week’s price of top-of-the-milk cream (malai) which she had collected within the fridge, and added a dollop of curd (dahi) to it, maintaining it out to set in a single day, such as you would any selfmade yoghurt. Within the morning, she would churn it (hand-mixers had not come but, she would use a wood churner) with some chilly water. Snow-white butter would rise to the highest, leaving delicately soured buttermilk under.

On the threat of sounding most parochial and beginning a riot, I’ve so as to add right here, that this type of butter, for me, wins palms down over the Coimbatore one, and every other contenders from any maakhan-chor area. And, after all, business yellow butter simply is not going to do, on this explicit sandwich. (In a phrase: Meh.)

The sandwich is then assembled so: A beneficiant portion of white butter that has been drained properly of its water content material by hand, in order that it doesn’t make the bread soggy, is unfold on one slice of (unabashedly) white bread. Then a pleasant thick patina of kairi chutney is unfold on the opposite slice. They’re each put collectively. An open and shut case.

For the few weeks of faculty earlier than the summer season holidays started, the prospect of consuming these sandwiches severely interfered with our capacity to imbibe the three Rs earlier than recess. On high of all of it, the looks of uncooked mangoes hijacked any scholastic leanings we would have had, by inserting the thought bubble: if kairi is right here, can aam be far behind?


Summer season’s Right here Kairi Chutney


1 kairi (uncooked mango) cubed

1 medium white onion roughly chopped

Small lemon-sized lump of gud (jaggery)

1 tsp pink chilli powder

Salt to style

1/2 tsp any Maharashtrian mango-pickle powder (non-compulsory)

1/2 tsp entire mustard

1 tsp oil of your alternative


1. Put right into a grinder, kairi, with the pores and skin, in case your grinder is sweet, peeled if it isn’t. Discard the stone or seed half.

2. Add the chopped white onion, or pink if white is just not obtainable.

3. Add the gud or jaggery, damaged.

4. Add pink chilli powder.

5. Salt to style — I like to make use of the ‘khaday-meeth’ crystals — and the mango-pickle powder if obtainable.

7. Twirl in mixer by pulsing, and this fashion maintaining it barely grainy and never utterly pasty.

8. Mood with mustard seeds popped and crackling in heated oil.

(This chutney tastes implausible atop khari-biskoot, inside a chappati roll, with rice, with bread sticks, crisps, cutlets, vegetable wedges… and even if you happen to’re horribly wholesome in your consuming habits, do strive it with white bread and white butter. Add some sliced cucumber or lettuce if you happen to insist on a wholesome twist.)

The author is a novelist, counsellor and music lover.


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