Hot and Spicy!

And they love it that way!

But let me start at the beginning. We took the girls out for lunch on Sunday. We went to Eden Park, which has been a long-time favourite for Amit and me. Amit has been an irregular but faithful client for twelve years! It was one of the first restaurants he took me to, when I came to Bangalore ten years ago. The best part of it is, it hasn’t changed at all in all these years. I’m not even sure that they’ve had the upholstery redone, and certainly nothing significant on the menu has changed.

Eden Park is an Andhra food restaurant. (It lies somewhere between the office of the Hindu and Minsk Square, in case you don’t know it.) The many times that we’ve been there, we’ve almost always had the veg meal, but there are plenty of non-veg side dishes on offer. The veg meal here consists of heaps of steamed rice served literally steaming; three side dishes, always the same three on Sundays and Wednesdays; sambhar, rasam, curd, buttermilk, papad, and a whole variety of pickles. Oh, and ghee. The “plate” is a banana leaf, cutlery comes only on request, but the sambhar, rasam, curd, and buttermilk are served in little steel bowls.

Andhra food is always reputed to be ultra hot (=chilly hot = spicy =sets you on fire) but Amit and I have a fairly high tolerance level so we never really noticed it. It was only when we actually mixed up the food to feed the kids, that it struck us that for them it might just be a tad spicy.

They loved it, though. Tara, after a couple of mouthfuls, started letting out a lusty scream if Amit was at all tardy in conveying the next bite to her wide open mouth. Mrini was more sedate, but initially she was also quite enthusiastic. After a few minutes, however, she suddenly realised that it was the food that was making her eyes stream and causing little beads of perspiration to form on her upper lip. What it was doing to her insides I can only guess. From then on, curd, buttermilk, papad and even plain rice would do nothing to appease her – she wanted water, water, and more water. She went through a whole glassful (must be 200 ml) and held it out for more, saying “pati-pati” clearly to eliminate any possible doubt in the matter.

At the end, we got them ice cream. It was the first time we were giving them ice cream, and they didn’t seem to take to it very much. It required a bit of persuasion to convince Mrini that it wouldn’t cause tears or perspiration and in fact might be quite cooling and nice. Tara didn’t require much persuasion, but she also didn’t think it was anything to be overly excited about. Amit and I ended up finishing it – not that I was complaining about that.

I was all prepared to spend Monday in a continuous state of diaper-changing. I even thought it might start by Sunday night. Amit said he would take Monday off, so that each girl could have her own, sole, allocated butt-cleaner. The girls had their own ideas about that, and surprised us by digesting it all and sending out rather normal waste. Phew! They must’ve inherited cast-iron-clad stomachs to survive that onslaught. And now, it’s back to safe, innocuous, home-made food… for a few days, at least.

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