The wedding posts are not over (I have two more days to cover!) but I need a mini break, so– here is a post I had lined up for later…
P’s family loves food. Daal Bhat (lentils and rice) to be specific. P’s mother spends a decent portion of each morning in the kitchen, and I often wake up to the sound of the pressure cooker whistling at 7am with their lunch already cooking.
His parents also have pretty set times that they eat. In the morning they have a cup (or three) of tea and perhaps some biscuits, around 10am they eat lunch—daal bhat and usually some sort of taarkari (veggie curry), between 3-5pm they usually snack on something—more tea, biscuits, fruits, nuts, puffed rice, etc., and around 8pm we have dinner—more daal bhat, taarkari, and maybe a meat dish every once in a while (for P and his dad).
During the work week, this is no problem, since I’m out of the house anyway. I’ll get up, have a bowl of cereal and be out the door before 8am. Eating is less stressful when I have control over what I can eat for lunch and how much food is put on my plate at dinner time (which certainly wasn’t the case the last time I was in Nepal). However on weekends, sometimes my food plans and their food plans clash a bit, which can sometimes be a bit comical. If I get up at 9am, I’m not ready to eat curry at 10am. I’ll sit at the table with a bowl of cereal while they eat rice, explaining “It’s too early for me to eat rice.”
“You don’t like?” P’s mom will ask.
“Rice once a day is okay for me. Rice for dinner.” I’ll answer.
“Daal bhat, our national food. What to do?” she’ll say.
But then last Sunday we had the American/Nepali 10am meal showdown.
See, I’m a big fan of waffles. A few years ago I was gifted a waffle maker for Christmas and waffles became my “guests are over for the weekend, let’s make a fancy breakfast” go-to option. I used my waffle maker enough that I literally wore it out, and was delighted to get a new one as a wedding gift (a double decker, so I can make two waffles at once!) with various guests coming and going around the wedding weekend time period, it made sense to me to have “waffle brunch.” But a 10am “waffle brunch” coincides with Mamu’s 10am daal bhat lunch. With two determined women in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, what do you think happens?
A 10am meal with waffles and rice.
When our Irish friend RH was flying out on Sunday after the wedding I told Mamu the night before that he was coming for breakfast on Sunday and I was making him waffles (“sweet American roti”). However RH is famous in the P family for his epic appetite, and his ability to eat the mountains of rice that Mamu happily offers him. How could Mamu let him go without a rice send off as well?
She looked a bit puzzled and said to P, “Sweet roti… and rice?”
“Mamu no, you can’t eat waffles and rice. They don’t go together.” P explained. However Sunday morning she already had daal bhat ready before I even started making my brunch food.
We set the table; I put out butter, maple syrup and a giant stack of waffles. P, me, D and RH sat down and ate through the stack while Mamu and Daddy watched Hindi serials in the living room. Once the stack was gone, Mamu brought rice and taarkari from the kitchen. “RH, you eat rice, okay?”
RH had already eaten 4 giant waffles, but he grinned and said, “Okay.” And took a heap of rice and daal.
“You had breakfast, and lunch within 5 minutes of each other… what time does your plane leave? I think if you give us another half an hour we can arrange for you to have dinner before you go as well!” D joked.
So, if anyone has a hankering for waffles and rice, just let me know, I think we can hook you up.