Anyway, it is no secret that I am a women of considerable talent at irritability. I delight in my crabbiness and set, sarcastic ways, and contendedly contemplate a Betsy Trotwoodesque disposition in my riper years.
Therefore, predictably, I have found several things to be irked about in food and food writing. My irritation with genetically modified, picture-perfect, utterly-tasteless vegetables and the absence of Calcutta street-food everywhere in the world is well-documented [why doesn't the world have MY street food?]. But what's clawing at the top of my mind right now is the use of 'combining' in context of solid, unmixable ingredients. How on earth does one 'combine' diced chicken, minced ginger and crushed garlic? Does the author perhaps mean, 'marinate'? Or, in the case of a cooking process, 'add'? Or, 'fry together'? Or even 'toss in'?
One shall never know. It's destined to be one of those eternal mysteries.
And if that wasn't bad enough... what is this practise of adding fruit to main courses? I have been brought up to think of fruits as an after-lunch essert (no fruits after sundown, my ayah was very firm on that) or daytime snacks. The latter, especially when mixed with kashundi (hot mustard relish), black salt, and a dash of tamarind water or lemon juice. Oh, slurp!
So what's with baking green apples with ham and expecting me to eat it? 'Cause I'm saying it now and I'll say it forever, I'm not going to eat baked fruit with meat! Or with vegetables. That kind of anarchy is not allowed on my plate. Take your deviant tastes somewhere else!
*fire, brimstone, and flash-floods*
Okay, I admit. Most of my fury is really thwarted desire. I have a deep, aching crave for a light, puff-crusted pie, filled with succulent meat and tender vegetables in a thick, dark, savoury gravy. Sauteed in melted butter and simmered in a peppery, garlicky, stock. I can almost taste the smell, I'm craving it so much.
And so to twist the knife, because I'm fascinatingly masochistic that way, I decided to look up recipes online (Americans apparently call them pot-pies. What a lovely word. I might adopt it) and guess what I found? A call for 'combining' unskinned chicken legs, carrots and celery in a saucepan, pouring water on it, then boiling it.
Chicken with skin on, boiled without so much as a brief marinade or sauteing with garlic or onions. With carrots. And celery!
Anyway then, I am instructed to heat butter in a skillet, toss chopped onions in it, add the carrots, whole chicken legs--still with skin on, I presume--and celery, toss about for a minute with salt, then dump it into a pie crust WITH CHOPPED GREEN APPLES. Then it requires me to pour the reduced water that boiled the meat and two veg, ha ha, into the pie crust, seal it all in with the top-crust, and bake for 25 minutes at 400F.
The world is a travesty. And I shall soon commit metaphorical murder.