There are expressions that don’t translate into English with the same oomph they have in Urdu. “Gari mein thhoosna” is one of them and it is a hallmark of the Pakistani experience. It basically means to stuff yourselves into the car, and I mean stuff. Somehow in English it doesn’t capture the enthusiasm of children piled onto adults as the 25 people in the house pack themselves into two cars to head out for Chinese food. We would arrive at a Chinese restaurant decorated in the traditional red and gold, places that always knew how to put together enormous tables in minutes. Then soon enough it would be time to inhale the mellow smells of the Chicken Corn Soup (a must) when it arrived and wait with considerable enthusiasm for the “sizzlers”, the beef dishes served on hot plates, literally sizzling and smoking as they make their way over. Someone always burnt their tongue sneaking in that extra charred piece. I may or may not be that someone trying to subtly steal a piece of the Beef Chilli Dry.
Three. That is how many Kashmri Chai posts I have written and not published. It seems that every time I about to I find another recipe, another technique, something with a pink that pops far more than mine and I go back to the drawing board. I have played with the quanities of tea leaves, the time it takes to cook, etc and time and time again I find myself back here, happily sipping away at this incarnation.
“Mama are we really really having a feast today?!” exclaimed my 4 year old when she saw this big gorgeous bird on the table. My 8 year old ran out and followed suit with an enthusiastic “woohoo Thanksgiving!” Since we are all friends here I will freely admit that this didn’t exactly happen on Thanksgiving since I am sharing this recipe with you a few days before! It did however give me a serious pause and I began to wonder why it is that although Canada Day, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc have so naturally become part of our lives we had yet to adopt the tradition of a Thanksgiving dinner. We value family and spending together, we teach our kids to express gratitude for blessings big and small. Yet, yet…
For the longest time my daughters would insist they don’t like qeema. I try not to take this personally but for someone who grew up on Aaloo Qeema and Daal this was hard to stomach. Then one day we were at a friends house for brunch and she had made a chicken qeema and lo and behold they were gobbling it up. Naturally I smiled and was all like “look at you,that’s great!” but inwardly I had that ugly moment that every mom has had. That “what’s wrong with my qeema” moment.
To this day I am not sure what the answer to that question is – I will stick to my guns on my making of a really good Aaloo Qeema as well as a good Chicken Karahi Qeema. However, I have discovered there is something about the quick magic of Methi Qeema that my kids really like.
There is a kind of summer afternoon that is almost magical. The afternoon that is neither too hot nor too cold, pleasantly breezy, and magically mellow. As I sit and type this I hear the gentle swishing of leaves and branches, the lake water lackadaisically lolling against the dock, the kids quietly painting, and Coke Studio in the background. We are up in the Kawarthas for our annual cottage vacation. The first time we came up here my little one wasn’t born yet and now she is the one who is most enthusiastic and will plunge right into the lake on overcast days with an infectious glee.