Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday Night Dinner, and the proceedings thereof

As a responsible diaryist, I know I should be recording events for posterity that will throw light on cultural thought, intellectual discourse and the mindset of the people who make up this great country. I went to a dinner party instead.

It was hosted by two very dear friends, both bankers and most of the other invitees were bankers too. There were a few exceptions such as me (formerly, automotive industry. Now, decorative piece) and some from the apparel industry.

Firstly, everyone not connected with the banking industry was keeping a keen eye on those connected with it, because there was an open balcony and the temptation to jump off it must have been strong. But since it was only about 15 feet to the ground, the wily bankers refrained from jumping, knowing that they would only injure themselves. "Nothing less than a hundred feet will do" was the refrain heard. I took my cue from this because, since I am connected with the automotive industry (I supply parts to it) jumping off the balcony is very much part of my general strategy.

But truth be told, I'm too much of a coward. I hate jumping off things or drowning myself (our hosts' flat overlooked the sea). My idea of killing myself, if ever the need should arise, would be to eat Shankar's cheese sandwich morning noon and night. The idea of course is that in about thirty days of this, one would die of a heart attack.

But let me not depress you with these morbid thoughts. And anyway, no one jumped or drowned (the beach was too far away and moreover it was low tide) and in the end, we had a nice time.

My host had asked me to make a risotto, a skill I acquired recently when experimenting with carbohydrates and other banned substances (such as cheese and butter). With my usual nose for science, I immediately discovered

The Laws of Risotto Making

First Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the cheese you put in it

Second Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the butter you put in it

Third Law: The taste of the Risotto is directly proportional to the fanciness of the name you give it.

Thus I created, with the active assistance of my host's cook, Risotto Con Funghi, which is Italian for "Rice dish which cheats fungus".

The modus operandi was simple. I would tell the cook to chop onions and report, in which meantime I'd go have some beer. When he reported that the said task was done, I'd tell him to chop the garlic and report, in which meantime I'd go have some more beer and so on.

One of my apparel business friend's wife told me to make the bankers eat first, the idea being that if they keel over(an idea she seemed to have formed watching me have the beer while cooking), the rest of us would stay away from it. Her logic, of course, was that bankers would be grateful for being sent to the Great Mortgage House in the sky while the rest of us still had things to look forward to.

Nothing like that happened, of course. The Risotto turned out great, though the rest of the food was better, but since I had followed the Laws of Risotto Making, everyone loved it.

By this time, I spied some Laphrohaig, a nice single malt whisky from the Islay area of Scotland, sitting forlorn and unloved on my host's shelf. Never one to tolerate insult to Scotland, I sprang towards it and ended up getting a mite polluted. The rest is a bit hazy. Sheela drove back, taking care to drive around such vehicles as crossed her path than through them, and consequently I am alive to tell this tale.


chutney said...

I envy your happening lifestyle :(

Lol-ably good, as always. :)

maxdavinci said...

I second chutney here, wat party sharty life you have sirjee!

Great Mortgage House in the sky

ROFL, I'm gonna use that in my unintelligent convos with teh womenfolk from now on...

Anonymous said...

LOL @ 'Great Mortgage House in the sky. I hope it isn't another case of sub-prime 'sending'! :p
aND Waah! You're a pseudo-cook too? *applauding :D

Partho said...

Your tips on risotto making were well taken. If I remember correctly, Sheila aunty had also written something in verse on your first practice sessions. Now if only you'd move on and enlighten us on the secrets of cooking lasagna.
And yes, you're sure living it up in these hard times, Sire! In no time Barry Obama might call you up to chip in for bailing out the father of the automotive industry.

desigirl said...

As chutney said.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post!
The smiles don't stop till I write the comments: something very bad for crows' feet and wrinkles!
BTW, if you put rice in risotto, would you piss in it after all that beer (and I suspect your recipe would have called for just that!) and call it a pisotto?

Anonymous said...

I came back to say two more things (in order of importance):
1. It is NOT Laphro-Haig, it is Laphroaig.
2. If you made risotto without putting in wine, then you should have made a pisotto: the alcohol is needed, dude!

narendra shenoy said...

@chutney - Thanks! When you finally get out of the March-November cycle, you should join a bank. Provided they're still around.

@max - Thanks!

@stitha - Some day you shall taste my cooking. I do a decent pan-seared fish too, in case you're a non-vegetarian.

@partho - Sheela has a lot to say about my cooking, most of it too hot to print! And welcome back, btw.

@desigirl - Thanks!

@rambodoc - You ARE well informed! It is Laphroaig indeed! And you're spot on about the wine thing. I didn't put the wine because it seemed like a shame to waste fine pinot noir on a chef of most dubious credentials. LOL @ Pissotto!

Anonymous said...

The trick, Naren, is to keep adding the wine in small spoonfuls as you fry the rice, and stirring it. Once the wine gets absorbed and the rice becomes dry, you add some wine again. Do it again and again till you get drunk from the vapors.
Laphroaig is one of my fave malts, incidentally.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Great Mortgage House in the sky
As maxdavinci said, this is going to be used by me as well.

Damn, copy right for such lines :P


narendra shenoy said...

@nikhil Thanks!

@doc - Laphroaig's awesome! Just found out it's available here, though at a forbidding price.

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Rule... N : The taste is directly proportional to the time after which you eat it.

Maddy said...

well well laphroaig eh? how many pegs before you conked out? did you join the club and get your square foot of land on the island? if u did not know about that suggest some research on their website!!

Vivek said...

The laws of FANCY food!!
har har har
Nice one as always!