Delicious days out

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Chapter 1: A strange reason to be happy.
(by yaminy, added on 26 October 2012 04:36 AM)


5 past 11. Only ten minutes left for the van’s arrival. Can it pass through all the signals and get there in time?? The crew was aware about the punctuality; however, the Handyman felt doubtful. It was 20 past 11 when the van made it to the spot. “Why of all days are you late today, handyman?” enquired CPG politely but stiffly. “Well, either we ought to stop being the regular customer for fresh vegetables in the market, or else, pay the retail cost even for the bulk purchase. You tell me what to do, or, allow me to bring as soon as possible, standing in the crowd and pay for fresh goods at wholesale price.” Remarked Handyman unloading the packages from the luggage compartment. “Don’t worry, we shall work efficient and fast to meet the day’s agenda.” Declared Mixy, carrying inside 4 bags at a time. “By the way, I believe I am happy today.” Remarked Aata, opening refined flour container. “Why so? Indeed, you seem to be undecided of being happy?” enquired Veg, unpacking a sack of potatoes. “Yes, I am actually uncertain about the reactions after hearing my reason to be happy.” Declared Aata, adding water to dosa batter. “Oh, Aata, tell us, please? Why are you happy?” enquired CPG, mixing whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. “Well, first tell me, today’s potatoes one batch should be hard-boiled and the rest soft, right?” asked Veg, placing water-filled vessel on the stove. “Yes. Today’s order consists more of cutlets.” Replied Handyman consulting the menu chart. “Oh, and the hard-boiled potatoes are as per Monkey’s instructions, right?” questioned Mixy, recollecting the day’s bookings. “Ah, do not remind about today’s evening, please. My nerves go all jittery thinking about it.” Remarked CPG switching on the oven. “Aha, that’s right. You’re taking leave from your duties as the chief-cook and enjoy with friends. Hmm?” interposed Handyman, changing the chandelier above table number 15 with a small hanging lamp. “Umm, I suppose so.” Stated CPG, taking out the cookie-moulds from the drawer. “What would you say, if my reason of being happy is connected with the evening’s events?” enquired Aata, measuring corn flour. “Huh? How indeed? Are any of your friends joining today?” questioned CPG, smearing oil on the pan. “Well well, Handyman, coffee powder is almost empty. Have you brought more today?” questioned Mixy, filling ice cream scoops into cones and cups. “Of course, here you are.” Replied Handyman deftly handing the tin of coffee powder. “Oh dear, Mr. and Mrs. Faltu are scheduled to arrive in the evening, right?” intervened Veg, chopping the hard-boiled potatoes evenly. “That’s right. Can you believe, they wish this to be their last meal before applying for diverse?” enquired nut-cracker, making an informal entry into the kitchen.

“Hallo, nut-cracker? How was your day today?” asked Mixy, mixing chili-powder and salt. “Sometimes, breaking coconut seems easy, compared to correcting the homework of the school children, who care more for studies rather than enjoyment.” Replied Nut-cracker pealing groundnuts. “Ho, what a comparison my lad.” Said Handyman, replacing the table-mats. “Did you call him my lad, or my lord?” asked CPG curiously, removing the freshly baked cookies from the oven. “Umm, why my lord? None is in court now.” Declared Veg, chopping onions. “Even the kinsmen and noble mistresses used this phrase as per Shakespearian language?” commented Aata, “remember Desdemona’s way of addressing Othello? She says, your wife, my lord, your true and loyal wife.” “Perhaps, Mrs. Faltu may declare the same while testifying for the diverse; just a small replacement of R instead of L; Your wife, my lord, your true and royal wife.” Observed Nut-cracker, breaking open a coconut. Heartily chuckling at this speculation, everyone tasted roti prepared by CPG. “Well, you do know how to cook. And by the way, I said my lad and not my lord. Ok?” confirmed Handyman, testing the speakers at table number 6. “Ah, yes. Aata, you didn’t disclose the reason for your joy.” Said Veg, mashing boiled potatoes and groundnuts simultaneously. “UH, that, we get the chance of addressing CPG as ‘ma’am’ in the evening, right? First time in my whole service, I’ll call CPG as madam!” exclaimed Aata rolling roties rigorously. “Oh no you’ll not.” Declared CPG, dismayed.

* * *

“Individual’s outlook” or the former “parkers’ eatery” is a café located at parkers’ lane. The food joint earned fairly less profit compared to the bribery received by the parking inspectors. Admittedly, the eatery was then auctioned and mysteriously, it fell into the hands of the present administration. A few heads decided to model the eatery to something unique - - - one of its kind. By naming the eatery as “individual’s outlook,” the eating place was modeled like a café; only evening service. Consequently, crisp, efficient and fresh became 3 stirring words. The cookery unit decided to prepare everything on the same day, except batters which are to be fermented along with ice creams and other chilly products that need setting. CPG or the chill pill girl plays the role of the chief cook, who does not just supervise, but partakes in cooking too. The rule is to taste and test the food before serving others, for checking miscalculation of flavor. Every working-hand’s opinion is valued in this regard. In lieu of not relishing the food, pre-booking menus per group became the policy. This strategy opened many avenues to serve formal or informal conferences or gatherings. “Do taste, but do not waste” is the slogan the café follows. Unlike other eateries, “individual’s outlook” prepares the amount of food necessary only for the day. Often, chores occupy just a little while; staffs are thus mostly employed in other part-time jobs as well.

Creation of artificial atmosphere to go with the demands is another trait the café follows. With the mere trickery of lighting, a charismatic suitable ambiance is fashioned; candle-light setting to suggest romantic background, cheerful tiny bright lighting hinting a business environment, colourful dim-dip lighting signifying birthday party, simple plain illumination suggestive of friendly air and so on. Handyman, the retired photographer is skillful in this regard.

The amount of work differs everyday. The kitchen mood is always cheerful with well-organized job division and friendly gossips ranging from news to views. There is however, one slight hitch. The chief-cook insists everyone to address her as CPG and not by her name or madam; be it a colleague or client. It is thus a dear wish of many to call CPG as Ma’am in the manner of unmerciful friendly repartee.

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