I know the exact moment the insouciance turned to cold fear. It was in the "Pork for Non Muslims" section of the supermarket when one of my keepers* said with great enthusiasm: "Why only half a kilo, let's get more." I see. So expectations are rather high then. We were buying ingredients for pandhi curry or Coorg pork. To be made by me at my own insistence.
It's not even that it's a laborious thing to make; most important of all is the fact that devotees of it do not handle disappointment well. Sure I've made it before, but that was for me and more for amusement than sustenance. Cooking for others is a nightmare. My brother and sister-in-law will testify to this with a certain arid lasagne as Exhibit A. (I doubt it was biodegradable so it's probably still there, lurking dangerously in a dark corner, biding its time). The brother probably also has stories from much further back.
In anticipatory panic this afternoon, I actually picked up the phone to call the cook in California whose recipe (and therefore, responsibility) it is, to demand the exact percentage of colour in "really black". I didn't make the call because I was in the middle of roasting the spices and didn't want to miss the good bit where it went from really black to too black. Also, it would have been five in the morning there.
But as with all elaborate cooking, the process relaxes you and you start to enjoy yourself. I strongly believe it comes from the same root as the satisfaction you got from stirring the squelchy stuff on the edge of a puddle with a stick.
Three and a half hours later, I have such an excellent pandhi curry that I wouldn't believe I made it if I hadn't witnessed it with my own piggy eyes. And cooking with a maid to clean up after you and a grocer who delivers to your doorstep is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
*Another post, another time.
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