the daughter has her vacations going on. she ails from the typical teenage
ailment - boredom. there is only one wail i hear all the time... i am bored!1
today she was in a slightly compliant mood when i returned home after a particularly hard day. i was served a steaming cup of kaapi, along with 2 slices of warm toast, the toast generoulsy slathered with mixed fruit jam. i felt blessed.
within minutes she came squealing excitedly..".see what ajja got for us today... this is fr you."
i took the box she proffered.. "Cream Roll" it read.
my eyes lit up. but the cynic in me took over... oh! this one can't be a patch on the kharadwadi cream roll.
my mom and dad rose up in defense... "just bite into it"
Naah, i said..i have been disappointed too often
the Milansar bakery of Kharadwadi pimpri near Pune
the cream roll ....................
a ribbon of fine phylo pastry... twirled into a conical roll. you could see and run your fingers along the firm braids .
the cream roll - as long as my palm. a plump one. as plump as a raddish.
the cream roll... filled generously with sweetened thick cream,
the top of the cream roll would be dotted with a fruit jam.
i would polish off the the jam first. then delicately poke my tongue inside it and suck out a blob of the sweet cream filling.
a bite into the roll.. ... it would crumble slightly.
the crunch would alert the kittens in the house and they gladly polish off the bits on the floor. my grandmother would yell out a warning - 'red ants in your bed tonight'
food memories....... pune memories... happy memories.
most of my vacations during the school years were spent with my maternal grandmother, my maternal aunt and my cousins in pune.
My cousin brothers were nearly 15 yrs older to me. and I was pampered to the hilt. At my aunt's place I could do everything my father forbade me from doing. I could wake up when I wanted to, I could go to a library... browse. I could pick books of my choice, I could watch as much TV as I wanted, play as long as I wanted to , I could wear a pony tail . Everything that I wasn't allowed at home, I did at my aunt's place.
Each evening my aunt and me , we went to the fish market outside their colony, to buy fish for their household, or fish for the cats. at any time there would be atleast 3 cats in her home.
Three buildings away from the fisher monger's stall, was the Milansaar bakery, the wooden counter with glass panes were like any other bakery... laden with toast, nankhatai, khari biscuit, cakes and the 'eggy' tasting pastries frosted in a garish pink or a yellow. They would invariably sport a flower in a cream garnish. I particularly liked the pastries with fluorescent pink icing adorned with a bright yellow flower and neon green leaves. I could visualise my father's horrified and disapproving expression as I bit in to the pastry.
The Milansar bakery of Kharadwadi, Pimpri, boasted of a delicacy - the cream roll. I had never seen this before. The bakery would have a huge thaal of cream rolls piled up in a pyramid. On most evenings we would return home with a pack of cream rolls.
"Amma....bite into it... it's good", I heard my daughter goad me .
In that 15 second walk from the kitchen to my room.... I had time- travelled 3 decades.
I gingerly took a bite of the roll. yeah, . it was flaky. I tried to lick off the cream from the top of the roll. i could not... after all, diet ka zamana hai. NO, not me, ... the cream roll was a slim one. seemed as if the cream had probably been injected into it with the thinnest syringe possible!!
The twirls were in place but they looked as if the roll had tucks at regular intervals.
Ummmm, I really must stop complaining, stop comparing...to give the bakery its due, it was a fair replication of the Milansar bakery cream roll.
i am one happy soul !