Members of the Alladi household met at the Ekamra Nivas dining room late Friday night to resume talks on the next day’s menu. Although there was much debate on whether Cook Lakshmi’s assessment of available vegetable quantities were accurate, Mrs. Lalitha Ramakrishnan, wife of the late Alladi house master Alladi Ramakrishnan, conceded that there was in fact, not an adequate number of eggplant for Ms. Lakshmi to produce enough curry for the following day’s meal. Ms. Lakshmi did, however, say, she would settle for making a sambar with whatever quantities of eggplant were available.
“If Mr.Prakash (E.N. Attendant) cannot get more eggplant from the market in the morning, we can use the eggplant for a sambar and resort to a cabbage side dish instead,” she said.
However, Granddaughter Ms. Amritha Alladi, reminded the cook that she had utilized cabbage in the previous day’s meal, and urged her to use a different ingredient, as a more diversified menu would appeal more the taste buds.
With regard to the status of the mangoes, which have often been by consumed by Alladi house members following each of the dinners, Ms. Lakshmi questioned their quality saying they seemed past the point of ripeness and on the verge of perish. Mrs. Ramakrishnan advised the cook to throw out the overripe mangoes rather than to serve it for the next day’s dessert.
“It is best we do not risk consuming bad fruit,“ Mrs. Ramakrishnan insisted. “Rotten fruit will threaten the security of our digestive systems.”
Both Mrs. Ramakrishnan and Ms. Lakshmi assured Ms. Amritha that they would continue their efforts to provide tasty, fresh, and varied meal combinations to ensure her stay Chennai be a pleasant one.
….ok, so maybe I got carried away, but every night its is the same discussion between the cook and my grandmother about what what to make for the next day’s meal, a domestic G-2 summit of sorts. I’ve often teased them about it, but then I have to remind myself, each person has his or her priorities, goals and daily challenges, and it’s unfair to dismiss their concerns and responsibilities just because they work in the domestic sphere.
Today I salute homemakers. Homemakers, whether wives, husbands, mothers fathers, butlers. maids, caregivers….. Without them, the household is bound to crumble. They take utmost care to ensure the happiness, health, and security of everyone else in the family, and all too often, they are forgotten amid stresses of work our personal problems. But, they complete the necessary errands and arrangements for which those of us working outside the home do not find time. They’re the backstage hands. We’re the actors. We think we’re the main attraction, but without that backstage crew we’re helpless.
We don’t appreciate enough the strategies homemakers use and the effort they expend in making the decisions that affect the well-being of the household, like what brand of milk, toilet paper, laundry detergent to buy, when to pick up the dry-cleaning, how to host the spouse’s boss for dinner, what games to play for the children’s birthday party, etc. In summary, the homemaker has to look after the interests of everyone else in the house, without being asked by anyone else, “How can I help you?”
In a way, the thankless homemaker’s job is the hardest, because it requires a full time commitment, with no bonuses, 401K or paid vacations.