Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Each time i go to this road called Pantheon Road which boasts of the largest number of small eateries i never miss out to grab a bite of the grilled cheese and vegetable sandwich from the vendors out there.Not that i can't prepare that myself at home but my chutneys don't taste as piquant as theirs and no matter how hard i try, i am unable to slice cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, boiled potatoes to that perfect thinness/thickness that is a key ingredient of a delectable and oh ! so ! filling sandwich.
Of course that requires some skill and a lots of practice but observing them while they get busy with their orders and doing their jobs casually in a jiffy chatting with their assistants about mundane matters requires not only a sincere sense of entrepreneurship but some secret ingredients and definitely some specific tools .
Maybe i am saying this to console myself.As though if i had those tools and the secret ingredient was known to me i would stop being a street food lover and perhaps become the best sandwich maker who might put Balaji or Manoj out of business.Now these two gentlemen can never forget the ever so hungry me who they greet with a smile and offer with great delight all their new varieties of sandwiches. And much to their chagrin i go to them for my standard Vegetable Cheese non grilled but original piquant chutney laced and gently spiced sandwich.
But honestly i was very fascinated with the knife that they use to chop the vegetables into that perfect slice. And to my amazement the best sweets and snacks outlet in town Sree Mithai also has a sandwich corner apart from all types of chats where i noticed the proud seller using the same knife happily cutting roundels of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, boiled potatoes to the ever increasing order of his plain or grilled vegetable sandwiches.
The lovely cooking shows on Travel and Living channel on TV leave me high and dry when i see Kylie Kwong using a special knife to match her skills while Nigella Feast only makes me more hungry when she uses her bare hands and lots of i should say erotic sounds from her mouth and whips away to God's glory with her sophisticated kitchen equipments.
Then i try to remember the ever so humble Yan who always said,'' If Yan can cook so can you" and convince myself to keep trying.
i finally gave up one day and instead ran to Balaji/Manoj , the sandwich maker and asked him to tell me the secret of his chutney and pleaded him to get that special knife for me.
The secret he divulged too quickly and without fuss for which i am grateful to Balaji. But there was a funny glint in his eyes like that of a prankster who knows the outcome already and is laughing within himself and trying hard not to give it away.
Regarding the knife he said that he would have to place an order and that i should come and collect it later.
Judging my sincerity he explained that the knife is made to order and it actually is a ''hashhaw'' blade.
Trusting him to get the knife i left after having my fill and reminding him once again that i shall be back for my hashhaw blade next evening.He nodded and got busy and i thought i have achieved partial success as i was already loaded with the chutney recipe while the blade was on it's way to help me prepare that perfect slice of cheese vegetable sandwich.
For that tool is just the perfect weight and size to do what i need it for.Just like the hacksaw blade which is indispensable for these sandwiches so is this highly utilitarian tool of mine which was originally meant to be a bottle opener.
Broken at the usable end but not on purpose but only because of wear and tear and still having a strong head this piece of tool is indispensable for what i do with thrown away fused bulbs.What i do is nothing original but how i do it is what i am so proud of. i know many of my friends have tried it but have given up just like how i gave up on those sandwiches. And just like how i still run to Balaji/Manoj for my perfect sandwich so do my friends come to me each time they want the used bulb object d art and they never ask me for my tool to try it for themselves because they know that only i have perfected that art of the perfect pressure with the help of this tool that sees their bulb in full piece without any damage to the glass or to the holder but made beautiful enough to hang them around the house.
Why i had to tell all this is because this post is a prequel to my next post which should be the sequel of my earlier post ' My Collections-I '. i somehow felt like sharing all that i do for the simple reason that i feel happy doing these things and i know if it makes me happy it will surely make others happy too.In a way this post of mine should be considered to be a tribute to all the street food chefs , their indigenous tools and secret spices.Together they have not only made eating out fun but also given us satisfaction and loads of joy.
And so has my tool kept me satisfied for the last twenty years ever since i found a good use of it as i picked it up from the trash can into which my husband had thrown it after it was broken and was considered unfit for any use.
i just thought that since i talked so much of the sandwiches and that special blade in this post of mine that it is only fair to introduce the great chefs and their best.So in manner of sequence:
i know i meant this post to be something else but it wrote itself. i had not intended it to center round sandwiches but sadwiches stole it's way into my post and so did Manoj with his hasshaw blade and his ingenuity.So all i can say for the time being is BON APETIT...till my next post.
Posted by shivani singh at 8:02 AM