I was walking down the Crawford market, a place for the freshest and a variety of ingredients available in Mumbai, thinking of something very innovative for the Continental menu I was planning for college when a usual vendor slipped me a small plate to taste.
It had something whitish yellow on it…it looked soft and creamy.
I ate it.
It was Butter.
But it wasn’t any kind of butter. It was so soft. It was sweet…a tad-bit sour with the freshness of dairy spreading through the mouth and nose reminding you of fresh cold milk. It had a tinge of yellow color…more like a reminiscent of golden.
I immediately told him I wouldnt mind buying some for an experiment and he sighed,” Biwi ne banaya tha sahab. Dibbe mein leke aya aur socha aapko accha lagega. ( My wife made it for me.. I got it here for lunch…thought you would like to taste it).” I was amazed at this and asked him if he could tell me how it can be made?
When he began telling me I felt myself blush.Ashamed. It was one of the easiest low-tech processes one can undertake. Beat cream till it curdles. Expel liquid and hold it cool and hey presto! you have the butter!
What the hell was I doing thinking of Jellied Consommes, fruit caviars and all kinds of techniques like sous vides and CMC injections when I didn’t know how to make simple butter?
An idea hit me spontaneously, a dish of simple ingredients…focusing on natural flavors of ingredients. How about a thick fresh rice-yogurt pancake, topped with spiced sizzling garlic chicken and a dollop of this fresh butter that melts slowly on the plate?
This not just opened doors to new and simple ideas to culinary innovations but left me thinking about how same is the case with our lives?
We often think of so many complex things. We plan everything, hope it would be perfect and go the way we plan it; our happiness rests on how well it is executed according to our plans. But we forget the simple nuances of life- The happiness of waking up and looking at the sun…the warmth of the early sun-rays that hit us in the face in the morning…the happiness of talking to someone special…the pleasure of listening to the music that we love the most…the delight of eating delicious warm food when we are horribly hungry…the smile that bursts while getting wet in light showers of rain…the cool feeling when waves of the sea shower you with tiny droplets of water..the freedom when fast wind hits your face while riding your car with your window open ( and not breathing the stale conditioned air).
I wonder when we would begin to realise this. I agree life is not simple. But it is laced with simplicity. And understanding this would open doors to the contagious spread of smiles and true happiness.
“Life is simple, we make it complex” is what I had heard from many philosphers, but it took me a simple vegetable purveyor to make me realise and believe in this.
Sometimes epiphanies come in strange packages. Mine came on a paper plate with a plastic spoon handed by a purveyor in a busy market. And it changed my life…it simply got simplified.