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Curry Chicken Pizza Rolls - A Proud Parental Moment

Popularity 10Viewed 4908 times 2014-1-19 14:16 |Personal category:StoryTeller|System category:Life

Curry Chicken Pizza Rolls

(A Proud Parental Moment)



I reckon most parents secretly harbour a fantasy. They would live all their life for just one such moment.

Imagine.

Your child stands up on a stage to receive a worthy award – A Nobel prize, or an Oscar or a Medal of Honour or something on those lines, and makes an acceptance speech. Usually, the kids are older in life and you are aged, sitting in the front row and the camera cuts to you and your expressions as your child begins to say

"…And I would like to thank my mother (father) for all they have given me…"

Maybe your child chokes a bit, proud and happy tears stream down your face and you are smiling widely showing all teeth or your false set of teeth and wave to the camera setting aside your crutches or from your wheelchair, millions of viewers each wish they were in your shoes and many quietly wipe away a tear.

Well, a few of us parents can make it to that. But we can all have countless other moments that are just as rewarding if you feel the way I do.

I have two children, a boy and a girl, one a teen and the other a tween. As expected at their age and having grown up in these times Australia, near Melbourne (truly worthy of being called the Food Capital of the World), in this era of Master Chef, My Kitchen Rules, Australia Has Got Talent and all such reality shows, my children often exhibit upscale and upmarket expectations regarding the food on their table (or often the floor in my house where my native Indian habits persist).

The following are just some of the stated expectations of my little masters:

1) The food has to be tasty (as per their own definition), look good, smell good, presented ('plated' is the current fashionable operating word) like they do to the judges on the cooking shows. My daughter does a mean impression of Matt Preston chewing and commenting – she is the less demanding of the two! Plates cannot have traces of food trailing from knives or forks, they need to be wiped off clean. Different items on the plate should be well separated. Each plate presented should have a fresh knife or fork or spoon.

2) Each meal or snack has to be ‘appropriate’ as deemed by the esteemed judges – no mixing ‘breakfast’ items like eggs for lunch or dinner or vice-versa.

3) No mixing cuisines of different nations or cultures – I often Indianize ('curry' as the Aussies say it) many Italian or Aussie foods and it is a definite No-No! Even though many of my Aussie friends love the multicultural taste of my renderings.

4) My authentic ‘Indian’ dishes (that they do enjoy) are OK for eating at home, but not to be served when their friends (particularly white Aussie friends) are visiting.

5) No messy, wet or ‘Indian’ looking dishes, ‘gross looking' food, or ‘browned fruit’ to be sent as school lunches or snacks - their ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ at school make fun of them and it spoils their cool image among their colleagues.

6) No dish to be repeated ‘too often’, the definition of ‘often’ being the prerogative of the judges. Leftovers cannot be in the next following meal. They have to be spread out. This from the same kid who wanted chocolate spread toast for all meals when of single digit age, or from one who can eat at McDonalds or KFC or Pizza Hut for the rest of the life. Chips, pizzas and fizzy drinks seem exempt from this rule, but I use this same rule on those very items.

7) School lunches have to be elegant to handle, to throw away the container or package and not mess up their hand – apparently it has to be something they cannot use two hands for – that would be too cumbersome and ‘difficult’.

8) School lunches or snacks have to be designed to be consumed within 1 minute – else they do not have enough time to eat among all the play and more important activities they have to participate in during ‘lunch’ time.

9) The dish made every time has to take into account the preferences and taboos for each judge/tyrant at home – one will not each mushrooms, pineapple, or anything with chillies or the latest meat exclusion (this can vary weekly). The other will like chillies, but not eat carrots, pork or beef – only chicken, and wants food that does not need much chewing if affected by mouth ulcers.

10) The foods also have to reflect the seasons, weather and the personal moods of the judges, be healthy and balanced. Fortunately, a good salad seems to be an appreciated favourite with both judges.

11) All recipes should be authentic (not something made up by me). Basically it has to be authoritatively proven to be a ‘recipe’ either in a book or on the Internet. Anything, I come up with, is deemed ‘not original’ or ‘not authentic’, never mind the fact that I sometimes point out – "All recipes were made up by someone at some point!"

12) There has to be restaurant or café bought food in the mix of the kids’ weekly schedule with me. They spend alternate weeks with me.

As you can probably infer by now, I have, as a result of all these rules, a multicultural, dynamic kitchen that offers personalised service at all hours of the day and night, in addition to providing other essential services of banking (shopping), laundry, house cleaning, gardening, chauffeuring (I fail in some important expectations in this area, I do not dress smartly enough, I do not drive a cool car – but a clunky bus, that some kids do think is cool), homework support services, nursing and as a sparring partner in sports – boxing, dancing and tennis, even with my crook knee). But coming back to the food, I often do not need to purchase food alternate weeks when the kids are away and can comfortably live on the leftovers and food remaining and still eat well.

Still, I strive to provide ‘good, tasty food’ to my kids. I get brutally honest feedback. Occasionally, I am rewarded by ‘That was good, Dad, make it again", or "That was good, Dad, but don’t make it again this week, or too often."

There are even some of my own inventions that are regular favourites. These are some of the proud, parental moments that, I am sure, most of us are fortunate enough to garner from life and savour them.

If you asked my kids to give a rating from 1 to 10, as is fashionable these days on TV and they will do so willingly, about my cooking, I expect I will average a 5 out of 10.

But the other day, I knew I had scored a 10! It was a great feeling. After many attempts at variety and juggling with the list of expectations, I created my own ‘recipe’ - Curry Chicken Pizza Rolls. Did not tell my kids it was my own creation – just packed and sent it.

That evening the kids came back from school, not much said. Their lunch boxes were empty. I was relieved – no complaints from the judges either. If they did not like lunch, they usually let me know, even if they finished eating it "Dad, dont make it again!"

Later that evening, casually, as I was making dinner and asking what they would like for lunch the next day, my daughter came up to me and said, "Dad, if you make that pizza roll thing, can you make more? Put in an extra piece."

I was glad. My little girl’s appetite was increasing – she is growing up, I thought.

"Can I make it again tomorrow?" I asked.

"Sure," she said as she moved away.

"Great!" I felt relieved as another lunch was sorted and decided.

The next evening, my daughter again came by after dinner when I try and plan out the next day's menu.

"Dad, Can you put in another extra pizza roll the next time please? My friends like it, I share it and I cannot get enough."

"So, you did not get enough to eat?" I asked, worried.

"No, my friends gave me their lunch, but I did not get enough of my own lunch to eat and I want you to pack more so that I get enough. Also, please make them from Halal chicken meat since a couple of my friends do not eat other meat. They want to try it too."

Now, it hit me! This is the truest and highest compliment I will receive as a cooking parent! I felt honoured, privileged. I knew that I had arrived. I felt like the contestants feel in the reality show when the judges hold out cards saying "10!"

I don’t know if, one day, I will watch my child acknowledge me in his/her acceptance speech while being awarded a high honour, but that will not matter. I will settle for what I have received. This is good enough!

I went shopping with my daughter to buy some Halal chicken meat and made a batch of rolls for her to share with her friends. Its a great feeling that I now savour.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs
4

Flowers

Shake hands

Ray

Friends who just made a statement (4 Person)

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Comment Comment (9 comments)

Reply Report snowipine 2014-1-20 08:38
Make delicious dishes to serve family. I want to learn cooking.
Thanks for your selflessness in introducing  home cooking, thank you, kIyer !
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-1-20 18:27
You certainly turned some mundane realities of life into a relishing journey of fatherhood. Your kids are very lucky.
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-1-21 08:53
Your article has been recommended to the homepage. Thanks for sharing here !
Reply Report KIyer 2014-1-21 09:39
thanks for your comments - All - snowipine, Dr. Bill.Shen and voice_cd!
Reply Report sharonfr 2014-1-21 16:15
Your unselfishness and love for your children is amazing. From the article, I found the hardness of being parents, how prince-like and princess-like the children are!
Reply Report Ted180 2014-1-21 21:06
A good Daddy indeed! I'm sure this loving and happiness will ALWAYS warm your heart. And the kids will probably take good care of you as you age!
Reply Report KIyer 2014-1-22 09:50
my children are good kids - well-mannered and do appreciate what I provide even if they cannot say so in words. They are typical children and express their wishes and preferences freely after looking around at their peers. There is a balance I try to strike between letting them know they cannot be too picky and spoilt, and actually doing things to their preference with love and the happiness it gives me. I am sure this is something all parents wrestle with.
Reply Report wingless 2014-1-22 14:24
LUcky children with such a responsible daddy, well done DAD!
Reply Report tonysong2000 2014-1-22 16:26
cool!!!

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