My best friend and my favorite cousin are going to have a baby in just a couple of months. I am incredibly fond of both these women but work and distance separates me from meeting them as often as I would have liked. It limits the opportunities that I have to tell their soon-to-be-born kids of how kick-ass their moms are. And how this is the one and only time when they can see their mom at the workplace, in meetings, experiencing the daily conundrum of life, be a part of everything that’s going on and still be aloof.
I want to tell those little ones (I am not sure what I should call them, the doctor also doesn’t refer to them as babies till they are born, so I will be calling them little ones), that –
“Mommy is incredibly proud to host you for 9 months as a part of her and this is the time when you will be undividedly hers, and she yours. Of course, later on you will be a priority too, don’t grumble in there, your mommy can feel it. But while you are cocooned inside, have a fun time. Your mom is eating different foods. I am sure you must be playing a guessing game of ‘what-mom-ate’ based on the tastes and smells you get. Yes you are right, there are a lot of different tastes, sweet, sour, salty, spicy, but momma is protecting you from the bitter taste, and she always will.
Little one, I have known your mom since she was a very young. She is sweet yet determined, organised yet crazy and loving yet stern. I wish to tell you these things because at times you may find she is talking mildly in a soft voice and sometimes as if she is commanding an army. Dont worry little one, it is just the situation that demands your mom to act that way. But in her heart she is always the soft girl.
It is still a few months before you arrive and yet all arrangements for you have been made. That doesn’t mean you should hurry up, oh darling, take your own time in there. Because you will be spending the next 100 years on this land, but just the nine months inside. So fully utilize this time, get in a lot of nutrition (mommy is really eating for two) and become a big fat baby while you come out. Recognize your mom’s scent, hear the way her stomach grumbles when she is hungry, feel the tremble of her shiver when she sees a scary thing and notice her goosebumps when she reads something emotional. She is your shield little one, and yet she will let a few things seep in so that you are not utterly shocked once you come out.
You dont know the concept of gravity yet, but when you do, you will be able to appreciate how your mom held you up in her stomach, and how her back must have hurt. Of course the version you are seeing of her is the slower one currently, because she has to protect you. Oh but let me tell you, she is one fire-brand. You haven’t seen her kick a football so hard that it goes out of the field or watched her get into a train full of people, where it seems not another person can get in. You haven’t seen her hop on a bike and zoom off with your dad or brave the snow and dashingly go off to buy groceries. And you will see how once you are 2 years old and running around, she can run behind you but way faster than you. She can toss you in the air and swoop you up, and you will feel as if you are flying. She will tickle the hell out of you and laugh so hard, that you will think this is the best moment in life.
She will do a lot of things for you little one, but you are doing good too. Your kicks reassure her, your swelling size makes her confident. Uncomfortable, but confident. Your movement makes her feel alive inside and the nudge of your toe lets her know you are eager and connecting. She can feel your heartbeat and that is what keeps her going.
Love you little one, more than you can ever know. ”
“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Stuffed chicken blankets
This one is again from that very old book “The Good-housekeeping” picked up from a flea market in Mumbai. I am in love with that book. Such delicious things with the simplest illustrations.
This is a simple way to bake chicken and it tastes great with the peanut stuffing. Dont miss out on the sauce, which is so full of flavor.
Serves : 2
What you will need :
- 400 gm (4-5) chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp butter
- paprika, salt to taste
- 3/4 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled
- 1/3 cup milk
For the stuffing :
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves mashed
- 3 tbsp salted peanuts, crushed
- chopped parsley/coriander/mint/basil
- salt and pepper
What to do :
- Wash the chicken breasts and flatten them with a rolling-pin. You can put it in a ziplock bag and hit it couple of times with a rolling-pin to flatten or tenderize it.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- Make the stuffing. In a pan, melt butter, add garlic and saute onions till translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients namely peanuts, some salt and generous amount of pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add chopped herbs. Take it off the heat and reserve.
- Take one (or two) flattened chicken breast and fill it int he centre with the stuffing. Wrap the sides over the stuffing and insert a skewer or toothpick through the chicken breast to make it stay wrapped.
- Lightly grease a baking pan and place the stuffed breasts seam down in the pan.
- Make a mixture with the 1 tbsp butter, paprika, and little salt.
- Brush the chicken breasts with this mixture. Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes till tender, occasionally basting it with the butter mixture and the juices let out by the chicken while baking.
- Once baked, take the fat from the baking pan into a saucepan. Heat gently and stir in chicken stock, plain flour and milk. Cook for a couple of minutes till the sauce thickens.
- To serve, remove the toothpicks/skewers and serve on a warm plate. Spoon over the sauce and garnish with chopped herbs.
- Chicken stock and butter all have salt. So be careful while adding additional salt.
- You can stuff the chicken with whatever you like, just let it not be too mushy. the peanuts here provide a nice crunch, and can be replaced with any other nuts.