Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 44, Tuesday November 11, 2008



Dearest Diary,
The other day, my friend Minnat and I, were discussing whether we would like to be twenty-year-olds again. And both of us quite vehemently agreed that never again would we want to be those unfledged, gawky, naive, unsure, artless, natural, genuine humans again. (Gosh! Had to get my thesaurus out just for this.) It was simply too tough going through the whole learning and growing up process. Never again would we want to experience such traumatic life scenarios. But then again, we women do not want to age gracefully either.

Apple Pie
8 oz butter
1½ cups flour
1 egg yolk
water, as needed
For the filling:
4 large apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 oz butter

First make sure the butter is at room temperature and then add flour and the yolk to the butter. Add little water to the dough so it should have the consistency to roll out like a thick paratha. After the dough is done, make two balls out of it. One should be for the bottom of the pie and one to cover the filling. Meaning the top of the pie.

Now to make the filling, in a medium size pan put in the extra 2 ounces of butter and as soon as it starts to sizzle put in the grated apples and sugar. Cook till the apple mixture is soft and golden in colour and has reduced in size. Now roll out one of the balls of dough as the same size of the pie dish and lay it inside the dish. Now fill the pie dish with the apple mixture. Roll out the other dough ball and cover the apple mixture and make sure the sides are pinched close. Pre-heat the oven. The heat should be in medium. In about 40 minutes the pie should be done, although I use my own discretion sometimes. Over-baking a pie obviously makes the bottom crust go hard. So make sure the top of the pie is slightly brown to get a nice flaky crust at the bottom. Happy cooking.

When we were eighteen, we wanted to be twenty, and now that we are in our forties we still want to look like twenty-year-olds. Here...'look' ...is the operative word. So, what are we to do? Anyway, why I am on this age trip is because of an article I came across which was aptly titled, "the big 5-uh-0 ". Diary, I am really not into plagiarism, maybe an odd quote here and there, but I had to share with you some of the excerpts from this write-up. It was too good to just read it by myself and not share it with you.

The author says as her 50th birthday approaches, there is only one thing on her mind...that she is too young to be this old. According to her, inside every older woman is a younger woman screaming, "get me the hell outta here." In my case, there are two women inside of me. One is a thin woman trying to shove herself out before the young one. Go figure guys. Anyway, according to the author the best way to stay young is to get off the booze, eat only organic food, hit the sack early, lie about how old you actually are, and finally a good grip on maths. Split second mental arithmetic is required to re-calculate school graduation dates, exact number of wedding anniversaries, and not to mention the need to hire younger children. (Caution: Lisa, you are young enough. No need to apply this on you. Requires mathematical prowess.)

The author also suggests cosmetic surgery, collagen implants and Botox. But apparently, if too much of Botox is administered, not only can you end up with droopy eyelids, but your larynx can become paralysed by the bacteria and you stop breathing. Call me old-fashioned, but I have never really thought there is much point in being beautiful if you are dead.

So, the author finally, after exhausting all her options, was about to embrace the truth...and then apparently a strange thing happened. The more she thought about it and the more she wondered...did she really want to be young again? Did she really want to go back again to wearing slogan bearing t-shirts, or putting up posters, or to be a rock star? Thank goodness, good sense prevailed. Inspirational women as Kate Bush, Dame Helen Mirren, Madonna all were in their fifties and sixties, and look at their lives! Even our deshi divas pack quite a punch. Looking at Sara Zaker, Shompa Reza, Rokia Rahman, Bibi Russel one really feels that age is truly just a number. I truly believe that it is a case of mind over matter. If you do not mind it does not matter.

As FOF (fear of fifty) sets in, we have to remind ourselves how good it is now that we are where we are. Children have grown up and have become mini adults themselves. The stress of juggling kids, house and careers are over. There is so much of ME time. Now we have the option to do what we want and not what everyone else wants.

Lastly the author says, the grey thing which we now have is the very best thing about us...the substance between our ears. The only part of our anatomy, which keeps us young. Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional.

So diary, my advice to the girls are to accept the fact we are no longer spring chickens, but to grow old, DIS-gracefully. Feel free to lie a little. We might be approaching our fifties or our sixties...but nobody needs to know from which direction.
Have a good day the Sam Q. way.

Bake and grill

I am in the process of changing my lifestyle. Gone are the days of waking up late, rushing through the morning ablutions, chewing down some toast and tea and running off to work.

These days, I get up early and go for a brisk walk that lasts twenty minutes and is followed by some breathing exercises. Most unlike me! But at the same time, good for me.

When I actually started to get up early, it surprised my wife and mother no end. And they pretty much agreed that this fad is not going to last beyond a couple of days. Soon, they assumed, I will succumb to the temptation of sleeping in, what with the nip in the air and all.

But nay! The good tradition continues. Every morning, I get up, put on my spiffy walking gear and personify Johnnie Walker. Some small talk with friendly neighbours, a gentle pat on the head of the dog who shares the park bench with her elderly owner, deep intake of fresh oxygen laden air, some breathing exercises, and I'm home, ready to take on the world.

But the food habit remained as fried and starchy as ever. I can't seem to do without my daily dose of bhaat, mach, alu bhaja. And that was not helping my newfound regime.

I decided that matter must be taken in my own hands. Off I went one day, to the nearby electronics shop and bought ourselves a nice, multi function microwave.

This beast, I was told, does not just heat cooked food. In fact, that is the least of its functions. It bakes, grills, cooks, thaws, boils, broils, steams…

Just what the doctor ordered.

Now my food habits nicely complement my lifestyle. I take some boneless chicken, marinate for a little while with some olive oil, some herbs, salt and pepper, stick it in the microwave and grill. I also manage to add some diced vegetables with the chicken. What comes out is this nice, browned, juicy morsel, surrounded by charred vegetables, edges comfortably curled, ever so lightly blackened. Health on a plate. I do the same to fish fillets as well.

And that's not all. I also have perfected the art of making low fat brownies. I just substitute butter with cholesterol free margarine and regular sugar with natural brown sugar. Piping hot delicacy in 15 minutes without most of the guilt. Great with a steaming mug of fragrant coffee for early winter mornings. I intend to carry on this good work. Despite the notun gurer sandesh and the gurer rasogolla that tempts the soul so much, I will stick to my healthy bake and grill.

Wish me luck.

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To make your home a cockroach free zone, combine equal parts of boric acid and sugar, mix well and then sprinkle in the crevices. For corners, put the powder in jar lids and place the lids behind the fridge and under sinks. But be very careful to keep the mixture out of reach of children and pets.



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