Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The day, the cake and the lesson!

Image Coutesy of SOMMAI at

Usually I take some time to write a post and publish it. I do proofread it a couple of times and yes every time it definitely gets better. Today I have decided to type away a post at one shot and publish it.  The moments when the mood to write and the availability of time coincide seem to be quite less. Hence I have decided to just write, read once and publish. To grammatically err is human!

December is a month of birthdays in my family-My father in law, my brother and both my kids. My children have their birthdays in the same week - his on the 26th and hers on the 30th. So besides the festive mood the whole world is in, we actually get into a special family celebration mode.

I don't bake frequently but I do experiment once in a while with a small oven that I have and an eggless chocolate cake is something that usually gives me satisfactory results. After filling my seven turning eight year old with enough excitement about it, I put all the dry ingredients in the sieve , mixed them up together and thought of turning the oven on for the preheating part. Plugged it , switched it on and Lo! The lights, fans, TV and every other thing dependent on electricity for life went off. The switch in the power circuit breaker box had tripped. Switched it back on  and tried again and it tripped again! Tried switching off some other appliances possibly causing the overload and yet it tripped again. The oven had decided to absolutely not cooperate. I have an oven that is super cool. So cool that it simply refuses to heat or even preheat for that matter. Sigh! Grrr!!

The immediate thought was to throw away the mix into the dustbin and go buy something at the nearest bakery. I was disappointed, frustrated , irritated and mad at the oven. The birthday boy was actually cool about it but the birthday mom was getting on the nerves of the rest of the family members. Anyways I decided to discuss with Google about other alternatives. Pressure cooker? Microwave? A couple of youtube videos later - microwave seemed to be not bad an option to try.

I put in things in the recipe and those not in this recipe but other recipes supposed to work best. Milk, baking powder, lemon juice and God knows what else i added. Poured it into a suitable vessel, put it into the microwave and started praying.

Six minutes later when I took it out, the results were YUMMILICIOUS!!!

It had the same taste and texture that thirty plus minutes of baking in the electric oven would have given me. In fact it was a teeny weeny bit better. The cooking was much more uniform.

We did have a home cooked cake after all and day two - the plate is clean. No cake left and we did eat it all.

No the cake in the image is not mine. That is someones whose oven never gave trouble. Yes, the art of making a cake lies entirely with the machine and not the humans that prepare the mix ;D

SO time to enter 2017 with a philosophical lesson from an eggless chocolate cake.

Things may not proceed as we expect. But going ahead with possible alternatives instead of grumbling might give us better results we never ever imagined.

If your plan does not work out, see whats in the big plan for you. It may be a much better option!

I can't think of any philosophy to explain a new bread-making baking tin and a couple of ingredients that I had purchased on a become-an-expert-in-breadmaking whim.  Thats a different story!! :) Happy New Year all !

Friday, December 2, 2016

It is contagious!!

Saturday morning! Here I am, sitting on my most favorite piece of furniture in the household - a wooden rocking chair, holding my cup of filter coffee and letting myself go in its aroma. But wait - The reflex act of opening one's mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness creeps from inside my being. In other words I am letting out a big yawn and resisting the wild urge to get back under the sheets and cuddle away into my world of dreams.
Image Credit

A yawning kitten is an absolutely adorable sight. Babies too!...For that matter, any yawning baby, puppy, kitten, cub, calf etc. looks amazingly cute...err!...wait a minute!....Do calves yawn? I have seen kittens yawn and the wide yawn of a lion is an oft-repeated sight on the likes of Animal Planet and Discovery channel...But horses? Cows? So I meditate upon Google baba and he enlightens me...Except for maybe teeny weeny insects, most animals do apparently!
Image Credit

Yes there are places where yawning can be really dangerous. Like in the classroom, for instance. The Biology teacher would be cursing his fate for having to explain the human respiratory system to a bunch of obviously uninterested teenagers. Yet, a practical display of the same in the form of a huge yawn can drive him bonkers. I had one teacher who used to keep telling us in Tamil " Athu kottaavi illa , athu ketta aavi" ...Well kottaavi is yawn and ketta aavi is bad spirit/ghost. So it kind of translates to "Thats not a yawn, its a bad ghost" . I know it doesn't sound that amusing in English, but in the native tongue, it did have a nice rhyme to it. 

Office Meetings of course! Especially after one decides to make it the cheat-the-diet day of the week, and gorge on a lunch solely to satisfy the taste buds. The sales forecast graph on the wall begins to look like a stroke of Ravi Verma's brush. The recently devoured biriyani begins its anesthetic reaction. The words coming from your boss's mouth transform into musical notes and gently float in the air - all nervous links from the ear canals to the brain, totally numbed in your stupor. Some Ilayaraja song that the morning fm in the car implanted in your consciousness starts playing in your head. The body reacts to all this - your mouth opens wide without listening to you and you let out a massive yawn. God bless you if you do it without any noise, and are aware enough to stifle it as much as humanly possible. Especially when the bespectacled guy next to you is listening with rapt attention to every word being said and is equally particular about  venting out a flurry of relevant ideas, in his desperate attempts to secure a place in the next promotion list.

The most contagious thing on this planet is not influenza or cholera or chicken pox or bird flu. Its not even a disease or an ailment. Its this simple everyday bodily action this post is about. One person lets out and almost immediately the other person would repeat and its a classic example of a chain reaction. I had no idea that it could spread without face to face communication until a few days back, when I was talking to my brother on the phone. As we were discussing a whole lot of mundane things neither of use to us nor anyone else on earth, I heard his words getting garbled by a yawn and I followed suit in almost a nanosecond. In fact I was just browsing the net trying to find an image suitable for this post. Just the sight of all those people and lions and hippos and dogs and cats yawning somehow infected me again.
This thing is really dangerous!