Master Chef Season 3 is full on now. I don't watch it regularly... I'm not much of a TV person... but I did watch all those auditions at Kolkata, Delhi and various other places. Was reminded of a certain cooking competition in Patna that happened couple of years before I took birth. You know... one of those incidents that become a part of your "family history", though nobody quite remembers the exact "facts" of that piece of history!
With one black-and-white photograph (that surfaced after considerable digging through the old family albums and random, unsorted pictures) and a couple of phone calls to some "old timers" (i.e. eye-witnesses to this "historic event" in my family tree), I was able to piece together the following story...
Most probably 1976. (Though grandma says it could have been 1977 too.)
Definitely 9th April. (It's mentioned in the banner in the photograph.)
It was either the New Patna Club or the Bankipore Club, in Patna... definitely one of the two!
My mom (as you all probably know, if you've been following my blog for a while) was an artist in the kitchen. She was apparently persuaded to participate in this cooking competition by family and friends, though she wasn't too keen about it personally. As such, she didn't prepare anything extravagant as her entry. She just cooked a can of tinned baked beans, and served them on homemade "bread-baskets".
So what were these "bread-baskets"? They were just slices of ordinary white bread, cut into circles by inverting a steel glass on them, then dampened with water and set in an aluminum tart tray (which I always thought to be a weird idli tray, 'coz it didn't have those customary "holes" for steaming!), with some bread trimmings stuck across on top to form a "handle" for the "basket".
Once baked, these "baskets" were filled with baked beans, garnished with some grated cheese apparently, and arranged in a serving tray, along with 2 fancy looking empty medicine bottles (acquired from a doctor friend), filled with tomato sauce and chilli sauce. And this simple snack in a creative presentation was my mom's entry for the competition.
The other contestants had spent many long hours/days in their preparations, and it was apparently visible from their dishes. So my mom had absolutely no expectation of winning any of the prizes. As Dad tells us, she was just circulating around, simply enjoying herself... until she discovered that her entire tray (complete with the beans baskets and the sauce bottles) had gone missing from the table where it had been placed!
Think "angry mom"!
Think "frustrated mom"!
Think "ready-to-kill mom"!
Think "almost-in-tears mom"!
"They took my tray and my sauce bottles too!"
Dad recounts that she was simply unpacifiable... until someone finally informed them that her "entry" had been moved to the winners' table!
Yupp! She won the first prize in that competition - a new Bajaj round aluminum oven, just like the one she'd made her "baskets" in!
LOL! Some legacy, huh! I really REALLY wish at times, that she was still alive to experience these rapidly changing times... watch Master Chef on TV... maybe even participate in it !?
This is my second post for 2013 April Spring Cleaning Challenge.
Link to the previous post: "Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho"
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