Preiti’s Cooking Show!
Neena’s cousin Preiti starts making bread in the morning. There’s not enough counter space in the kitchen, so she does some preparation on her bed. Here, she gives us an education on the various breads of India:
She adds different ingredients to the bread to spice it up:
In the kitchen, Preiti mixes vegetables with flour and some other ingredients to make the roti (bread) in her kitchen. As you can see, she’s very fast in patting out the bread from a ball into a flat pancake. When I tried to do it, my bread was all misshapen and lopsided — and I was so slow at it! Obviously, it takes practice. Preiti has had a lot of practice; as Neena and I noticed, in India, it seems people only cook the amount of food they want to eat that meal. They don’t generally seem to eat leftovers. I think they’d be horrified at how much food I buy — and subsequently throw away — in the United States.
With all the homecooked food we’ve been eating, I’m constantly amazed by how such delicious foods are prepared in what we might consider a small space in America. Here, Preiti shows us “where the magic happens”, giving me a tour of her typical Indian kitchen. Notice that the biggest cabinet in her kitchen is the huge spice cabinet.
Neena explained to me that her family’s houses are what would be considered typical middle class homes in India. She says, unfortunately, what we see in America in the movies is either the super-mega-rich which is only about one percent of the population, or the poor shantis and slums. She says most of the people in India tend to be middle class. What’s interesting is that, even though the homes might be considered small by American standards, they still have the luxury of having maids come to their homes to help clean. Neena’s cousin had a woman come in, and so did her aunt and uncle in Delhi. She tells me labor is relatively cheap here, and the middle class can afford it and take advantage of it.
Back in the kitchen, Preiti also made homemade Indian tea. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful this tea smelled, as she was cooking it. She added mily, water, cardamom, ginger, sugar, black tea leaves (ground up) and what seemed like some other magical ingredients to make the best tasting tea I’ve ever had. It tasted like a combination of tea and a sweet creamy sugary drink. Delicious!
After we cooked (I mean, after Preiti cooked) we took out feast up to the rooftop and had a picnic in the warm, Kolkata sun. Preiti’s 5-year-old daughter Kushi had just gotten home from school and sat with us, coloring with her new markers Neena had brought for her from the states. She’s so cute, the way she was so into her new art supplies!
It was such a fun mornng/afternoon! Then we were off for a really fun afternoon/evening…