On my plate
Last night, past midnight really, we found a small eatery and ordered South Indian dosa. It was crispy, light, about three feet long, and it was served without a murmur although it was past closing time. So, when I say I like being served it does not mean some fancy meal with starched linen and even more starched manner, although if the chef comes to the table and offers to do the flambé before my twinkling eyes, I really would not stop him.
As I had written once, I dislike the concept of buffet meals. Standing in queues with a heavy plate ladling stuff on it, mishmash is all you get. These days, it has become mandatory to have something Thai, something Italian, something Mexican and something Indian. A plate may often have a sneaky chunk of tandoori chicken peeping out from a mound of pasta while the hummus tries to trick its way into the heart of a corn satay.
The bread sticks look like soggy batons over a mushroom canapé drizzled over with a lamb curry, even as the Kanchipuram idli acts pricey in its pristine white sublimity and is soon deflowered by a dash of barbeque sauce that slithers its way and soaks it wet.
I think food needs a more cultured engagement because it is an everyday thing. When I eat out, I do like to be served. I like the idea of going through the menu as though it were a piece of literature, to mouth the phrases and master the tongue-twisters…to sip a drink – iced tea is a drink, too – and wait as the appetisers make their way and are slowly nibbled. Then comes the main course and finally the dessert. Just when you think you have had it all, you eye the last page and look at the array of teas and coffees. The aroma wafts before you. Your cup runneth over.