Sushi, anyone?

Yes, I am back and yes, I was away and yes, I didn’t bother informing you all. But then I never planned on being away this long. I always thought I will put all that swirls around my head into a coherent post tomorrow,but somehow that tomorrow never came. Until today. After a year and half of my blogging life, I have realized that I am not very good at gelling my real life to my virtual one. That’s just it. Eventually, I may make more of an effort to do it. But, the past 3 months, I couldn’t get myself out of the inertia. There was no lack of material, though. As it is with family visiting, there was never a lack of food moments. Good food, family, serious discussions, lots of advice, spoilt kids, tears, laughs, joy, anger, exasperation …essentially all the hallmarks of a parental visit.

Although, for all the sentimental moments we had, the one moment that will always stick out in our minds is the Sushi episode. Let me lay some ground work for you. My in-laws, two people in this world, for whom konkani food is the beginning and end of their food journey. At the most they will go for restaurant fare of the Indian variety, once in a blue moon when there really is no choice, provided their next meal is staunchly amchi with lots of coconut or at least fried stuff thrown in. Enter a grown-up son with two kids of his own, who decides that it is time for the parents to expand their culinary horizon. So, every Friday evening, he decides to introduce a new cuisine to his parents. Also, adding some background noise and color are two toddlers who are delighted at eating out every weekend and a bemused daughter-in-law who is not sure what side she is on. And there were sides drawn as early as the first week, when a visit to the Italian restaurant with salads and pasta was enough for the FIL to know he didn’t ever want to eat out in the US again.

“Where’s the salt and chilli?”
“What’s so great about noodles in tomato soup?”

“Uh, Dad. That’s Spaghetti in Marinara sauce. And you can add some chilli flakes to it, if you want.”

So, every Friday, I watched them mentally ready themselves to eat a meal they were not really going to like just because the much-loved son wanted them too and they didn’t really have the heart to say no in face of such enthusiasm. In coming weeks, we covered Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, US-Indian. And then it was turn for the Japanese steakhouse. Here I must clarify that though the parents wouldn’t touch meat or poultry, they are great seafood lovers. The problem is seafood made amchi style is hot, hot and more hot. Obviously, our restaurant fare in any cuisine wasn’t. By now, the parents had come to the stage where they had decided that ignorance is not bliss and knowing about the kind of food to expect was a better thing. So,

Father : ” My Dear Son, what it is that is different in Chinese and Japanese cuisine? We already had Chinese, so can we not skip Japanese?”

Much-Loved Son (MLS) : “But Appa, you have to try Sushi!”

Mother : “Dear much-loved son, pray what be this sushi?”

Much-loved Son (with all the enthusiasm of a person talking to seafood and rice lovers): “Appa, Amma, it is fresh fish and rice all rolled together. It is really good, the fish is really fresh, they slice it thin and serve it with soy dipping sauce and wasabi which is hot, so you won’t even miss the chilli and the salt.”

Mother (Hopefully): “Really much-loved son, that doesn’t sound bad”

Father (not convinced) : “How do you know it is fresh?”

Much-loved son : “Appa, you know it is fresh because otherwise raw fish would stink”

Father and Mother (much outrage) : “Raw fish!!??!!! ”

Father : “Puttar, All these “paschatya sanskriti” (western culture) is getting to your head. Raw fish! What next?”

Much-loved son (much confused) : “But Appa, Japan is in the far east. What western culture?”

Mother (sad) : “Oh, how much you have changed, my much-loved son.”

The bemused DIL : “Why don’t I make some Dalitoy and Batata song for today?”

Hugs and kisses from Father and Mother and much glaring from the much-loved son to his once-much-loved wife later, we were wolfing down mirchi bajji’s from the local Indian restaurant along with the dalitoy and batata song. Of course, much-loved son wasn’t giving up. See, he is the kind of person that believes that if the horse doesn’t come to the well, then we have to bring the well to the horse. So next day, he visited the steakhouse and convinced them to let him take their sushi to go. Upon coming home, the much-loved son presented the sushi to the much harassed parents, who promptly retired to their room. Much hilarity ensued when the much-loved son, holding a piece of sushi in chopsticks, chased the parents around the house imploring them to give it a try and the parents, fed up of the gastronomical injustice being done to their soft palates, just announced in their most desperate voice,

“Anything for you, much-loved son, but raw-fish.”
“And pasta.”
“And half cooked vegetables.”
“And that blasted tofu.”

The much-shocked much-loved son came to a stand still and the parents taking advantage of the moment decided to go British on him and locked themselves in separate rooms.

[THUD] went the bemused daughter-in-law who fell on the floor doubling up with laughter.

[AHHHHHH,OOOOOOHHHHH] went the excited toddlers who thought the grandparents and dad were playing tag.

[chomp,chomp] went the much-loved son wolfing down the sushi.

[sigh, sigh] went the parents in total relief.

I now have visions of our old-age, visiting my son on Mars, going

“Anything for you, much-loved son, but food capsules”

“But, amma, they taste just like sushi…”


27 thoughts on “Sushi, anyone?

  1. Wonderful writeup Veekay! Must’ve been such a riot to witness.

    LL (or should I say ET? Now that conjures up some other images!), welcome. It was such a riot, especially as just the observer and not a participant. My in-laws couldn’t believe how much our tastes have expanded to enjoy some of the foods we do here. And, now my parents are dreading a visit…

  2. you are wicked. just wicked. lol.

    arre, I am not making this up. OK, so the dialogue between them was not exactly the same, but the chasing with sushi-in-chopsticks thing, I saw it happening absolutely live, in my own home…

  3. Hi,
    That write-up was so— funny that I fell of my chair with laughter! Very entertaining and refreshing on a boring work afternoon!!

    Hi Nalini, Careful there, please not to blame me for any injuries then. πŸ™‚

  4. yesss, yesss, that blasted tofu 😦

    Lets just say it is an acquired taste. My first tryst with tofu was not that great. But, I like it some preparations. Palak Tofu, with tofu instead of Paneer is good. Give it a go.

  5. Hilarious write-up, and so true…I am sure this kind of episode takes place in almost all Indian families in the US πŸ™‚

    True. I think it just highlights how much we have adapted to our new country and it’s life. For my in-laws, they are at astage in life where all they want is comfort food, the food they grew up on.

  6. hehehehe Vee welcome back and what a comeback post…I could just imagine that sushi chasing scene… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    ah, Sig. Imagine the most slapstick Indian comedy you can think of. It was that funny though the parents didn’t think so until two days later.

  7. oh my God Vee what a writeup, i just can’t stop laughing imagining the chasing with chop stick. i am gonna read again when i get back home. πŸ™‚

    I hope you re-read it and found it as funny. My husband didn’t think there was anything funny about the sushi episode until he read this post. Yes, sometimes, he does deign to read my blog.

  8. Vee,

    Nice to see you blogging.
    God that was so hillarious,and also recently when my sister’s in-laws visited them they had similar experiences, Totally understand and the post as usual was so nicley put there.

    I think my in-laws will be much more open to the food ( not necessarily Sushi) the next time they come here. the first time is the toughest. Once you know what to expect, then you are much open to that experience I think. But, I doubt, at their age, they will be craving for it any time soon. πŸ™‚ I totally understand your sister’s experiences.

  9. solid story….haha i remember when my DH tried this same thing with his mom.When we took her to try some sushi,we made sure to tell her not to use wasabi like chutney,but then we wanted her to have the “fire in ears” experience,which she did at the first byte and we both fell off the chairs laughing! Evil we are!

    Oh, that is so evil. But even that doesn’t come close to our toddler experience with sushi. So, there we were, at a steakhouse with our 2+ year old, and the sushi arrives. Suddenly Aayush is yelling as if one of the fish has come alive. Turns out he dipped his prawn into the wasabi thinking it was guacamole and put it in his mouth. Thankfully, he is one of those dainty eaters and not the type who puts the whole prawn in their mouth. So, a nice dose of milk from Anoushka’s (my daughter) sippy cup was enough to douse his flaming tongue. Man, we have some real sushi stories to tell.

  10. Sweetheart I hear you!!!! I am just reeling under a visit myself. My in laws were like, “sure we can eat out, lets go to udipi palace”!!! Strictly no thai, japanese or italian. They said “it’s got such unhealthy stuff like cheese”. But said my brave husband “we have coconut”. “Coconut doesnt affect us badly because we are genetically used to it!” came the answer. We had plenty of hilarious situations ourselves and it all ended of course with some ambat and sheet ;-D

    ah, the “genetically used to it” argument. How many times have I heard it from both my dad and Dad-in-law. But, you are right a good ambat and sheet is always a good ending. So, how soon before you come back to blogging and us?

  11. I am totally cracking up! This has been the scene in my household almost every friday, the last couple of months! Well, not so much the raw fish sacre but the fear of an obscure chinese sauce that tastes like..well, feet! πŸ˜‰

    I am surprised by how many people are having the same situations in their families and yet, on the other hand, I am not. I guess when you reach a certain age, you just want stuff that you recognise.

  12. πŸ˜€ All’s well that ends well! LOL

    And end well it did, thank god. we had an mexican encounter after that which went a lot smoother. I think they were just glad that everything was cooked.

  13. Wow!! To have u back and writing! i usually read ur posts and they r hilarious! wonderful way to pen ur ideas and events!
    Keep up the good writing work!;-) My mum usually is a strict amchigele…where food goes..criticizing all other food!:-) so i can relate to how ur in-laws react to other food! Monu tu gaayab jalli itle mahine dakunu! welcome back …


    priority change jallele go… πŸ˜€ Some amchi recipes coming up soon, I promise.

  14. hey V,
    your write up was simply SUPER !!!! do write more often ya…u r a gifted writer for sure…have been visiting regularly n was kinda disappointed when there were no new posts for a looong time..hope u dont make yr fans wait that long again…

    Hey anita,

    Thanks for the compliments. I try , you know. But that pesky real life of mine has a tendency to interfere. Am gonna try to write more often, though.

  15. LOL …. Hilarious! πŸ™‚ I remember mom-in-law having a little of pasta and then resorting to rasam and rice with a bemused expression …. The shrimp curry – she didn’t touch even one shrimp.. just the curry and that too, two teaspoonful! We tried Thai and the ‘Nasi-goreng’ went in, without much protest but, dang! pad-thai was taking it a bit too far.

    And Oh! How I missed you! So glad to see you back, dear Vee. Are you going to take pity on us and post that sinful stuff on the left hand corner, that you’ve been promising us… (Now, don’t you go telling, it was a tease!)

  16. are going to get me fired Vee….I can’t stop laughing…I can visualize the whole episode…hahaha….
    At my home…its my parents and hubby trying to feed them different food ;). Hubby dear can’t stand sushi, otherwise they would have left for India long back ;).

  17. Vee,
    Tu kaisa…badda gullll jalli…aaji aayitaru..ani tugele kasanaye update naa..amka vajjuche addiction laaunu pakkani bandh kellyari kasane jauka amgele?? Chike aalochana kari…pls b back soon!!

  18. That was soooo good, i still cant stop laughing. Reminds me of a similar scene my husband had with his parents when he trying to get them to try different cuisines. The episodes where chinese was just not what u get in india or the faces my FIL made when we ordered ravioli. He camee back home and ate bhaji-chappati.

    In the end we used to go to indian restaurants every saturday.

  19. Vee,
    You have great talent to create laughter and present conversational dialog, virtually I CAN VISUALize all the those scenes. and if you have presented this dialog in Aamchigele like Pattoli conversation with your mom on the phone, it would have been more hillarious and full of humor. You have more presentation skill than Monica Bhide !! Keep trying and one day your articles will be in Wshington post or NY Times mein chhapegee.
    Sorry for my this late comment as I read it today only.
    K.Boy, VastevuAnna

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