I grew up in a university town, where visiting faculty, external examiners were all invited to one meal to house as a convention. The spread then would formal.
There were standard departmental dinners and stuff like that. When I got married my husband decided from shift from marketing to teaching. My husband came from a background where unless people belonged to the immediate family they were generally not invited home, all official entertaining happened outside the house.
Any way I did manage to convince my husband that could handle a formal lunch for about 15 people quite comfortable. My mother had trained me well though like all daughters I have a tough time accepting it, despite the fact that she is seventy and I am fifty.
Then one time my husband’s college professor came to town with a friend of his. My husband invited him home. I knew that this professor was special my husband was very fond of him. I wanted the meal to be perfect. So eating the humble pie I called mom for suggestion.
I had ginger beer as first round drink with ivy gourd crispies.
Followed by tomato soup and bread stick.
Then the lunch proper. For lunch again I followed mom’s standard,
Bread+ something to with it.
Rice casserole with raita.
Plain rice with daal and curd.
1 savoury on the table I had made some leafy veggie cutlet.
1 sweet dish on the table I had made gulab jamoon.
Now I come from the west coast where our cooking goes slow on onion and garlic. We use lot of fresh coconut and very little cooking oil. Whatever cooking oil is used is usually coconut oil. But were not used to coconut oil since professor and his colleague was both north Indians I tweaked the menu to accommodate, potatoes, onion garlic which very rarely appears on our menu.
When the guests did arrive, the ginger beer and crispies went well; the soup and bread stick went well. When we approached the lunch I had opted for a buffet, very confidently I introduced the menu, when professor looks at me and checks
“Beta, we don’t eat onion and garlic.” I was at wits end. It meant I had nothing to give other than rice and daal, and maybe the dessert!!
My husband was fuming. And I was very embarrassed, of course professor said its okay lets eat out. For me it was a failure, but disaster management has always been my forte, so I put on my best smile and enquire,” I hope you don’t mind the coconut oil flavour.” Both the professors said well its something new we’ll try it.
I pulled out the previous day’s kathal ke saabzi, to go with the Puri, added Puliogare chutney to the plain rice left over from the previous day whipped up what we call as Uddinhittu and served it with deep-fried sundried stuffed pickles.
The day was saved and to the day when I visit professor he does ask me to cook some typical Udupi dish up.
As for my take away it was cook up something that you stew well , else it would be stirring disaster.
Yet if there was a way I could call up and order a jain meal probably it would have been very useful. This is where an app like Tiny Owl would be useful.
Having said that, I did visit the Tiny Owl app page, and it looked like a display board for the tweet on it, for a while i wondered what the site was all about but when I saw people placing their orders and responses to the order I figured I was on the right site.
But about downloading the app. I doubt if I will until they start in goa.