Sunday, October 25, 2015

Potatoes, a humble vegetable that we Bengalis just can not do without. Our curries along with any kind of side dish imaginable, has this little buddy in it. I grew up this humble vegetable in all form since my childhood. I ate Daal (pulses), Bhaat ( rice ) and Aloo bhaja ( fried potatoes ) technically my whole life. I remember all my student days when my mother used to rush in the morning to prepare our lunch boxes and our breakfast before heading off to school, the breakfast always included these three items, as these are the simplest ones which she could manage to prepare at early morning. Still today when most of our lunches, snacks or dinners are either at the office canteen or at restaurants, when I want to dig in to my comfort food, yes, you guessed it right, it is the Daal, Bhaat and Aloo bhaja and I am a happy soul. By the way, this is 'The go to comfort food' for my whole family too. My father, brother and also my husband just can not leave without the humble Aloo Bhaja. Aloo Bhaja has been an integral part of my life and this is something that I can never grow tired off.

Flashback to the year 1999 during the month of December, I was in Delhi along with my father visiting my family. That was when me and my Dad was introduced to MC Donald's for the first time by my cousin sister. Earlier to that we had never tried burgers or french fries, used to only salivate by watching these come up on television. Our first encounter with the humble fries was a heavenly one and my father in particular just fell in love with them. He was so amazed on the crunchiness of the fries that he even asked the MC Donald's counter boys on how did they make it.

To his sadness, the reply came,
"Sir, we just fry them at a certain temperature, the fries comes to us already packed ready to fry"

My Father unaware of all the fast food hoopla, certainly a new thing for both of us, asked the boy again, " Can I buy a pack of these potatoes".

Again to add to his woes, the reply came " No Sir, we can not sell the packs".

It did upset him quite a lot but the poor man made it a point to visit MC Donald's daily for the rest of our stay in Delhi, just to order fries.

When we came back to Kolkata, he tried every possible ways to recreate them. We had no access to internet at that time, so my Father had no idea on the science which goes behind in making fries. I remember him hand picking potatoes only the large ones from the market, he would chop them in the same fashion, soak them in salted water and fry them but somehow they would not be as crunchy as MC Donald's, it would always turn to be soggy. He continued his experiments until the time he was quite happy with the results.

I am talking about a few years back now, when I was shopping with a friend of mine for house hold groceries in a super market and as I was about to get dairy products I spotted Mc Cain's whole array of lovely packaged ready to fry goodies and there it was the big bags of french fries. I just grabbed couple of bags to surprise my Father. He is a guy who loves going to the Bazaar and bargain and bargain some more to get the best value out of everything. He never liked super market, so never stepped inside one. He had no idea, that his beloved fries were available in the market and he can fry and savor them anytime.

I rushed back home and surprised him with the bag full of fries. I wish I could explain the smile he had on his face and the sheer joy in his heart. And that still is my friends, one of the best moments I had with my Father. I would never forget that moment, it would always be cherished. It's amazing how these simplest of things of daily life makes a bond stronger. His life has been whole lot simpler ever since.

Now, the big guy who hates shopping at a super market makes it a point to go there stock up his fridge with all the goodies from Mc Cain without fail, his current favorite now are the smiley faces fries. They indeed make everyone happy. And as to my mother, she still makes Daal, Bhaat and Aloo bhaja, but now quite often, I see french fries are being served. Yes, she is cheating on the effort of chopping and we have no complains.

Every time my Father would have get together's with his friends there would always be fries in the menu. With the access over internet now, he some times even add cheese and other toppings and impresses his friends. Mc Cain has been part of our lives and still continues to be the same. It's fast and simple. Rainy day or unexpected guests, stock up your refrigerator with their amazing varieties, and you are saved.

P.S. This post is a true story posted for a contest held by Mc Cain and

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