Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Toast, Tavaa Toast #atozchallenge

Yes, the title of today's post is inspired by Bond, James Bond. If he's a man's man, then tavaa toast is a toast's toast, at least according to my taste buds.

Now that I've impressed you with all the tiresome Ts I've managed to thrust in the sentence above, let's move on.

To find out about tavaa toast, you'll have to travel back in time with me to the mid-1970s (when I was between 3 and 10) to Beji's (my grandmother) kitchen in Dehradun.

Double roti is how I was first introduced to sliced white bread that came wrapped in a clear plastic bag of shame.

Shame?

Bread?

Why?

Beji was the queen of her kitchen and my grandfather's heart. Her words were law and no one questioned her rules. She was petite and soft and never raised her voice, ever. I don't recall a single harsh word uttered by her. Yes, yes, I loved her, so I must be biased. But she ruled without force. Her way in the kitchen was the only way. No one complained. She was an amazing cook who was completely dedicated to feeding her family.

The firangi (foreign) double roti aka sliced, white bread had no place in her Punjabi kitchen.

"Shame on you for buying bread from a shop. Shame on you for buying any food that comes wrapped up in a plastic bag. How difficult is it to knead some flour, roll out a roti and raise it into a hot balloon on the tavaa? Huh? Why did God give us hands? " No, she never uttered those words. She just relayed the sentiments to us by her actions.

"Aye koi khaand dee cheez hai? Mareezan di roti?" (She had proclaimed sliced, white bread to be fit for consumption only by the sick or if your family had abandoned you and you were left without a kitchen--how else could one justify a food so lacking in taste and nutrients?)

Double Roti was contraband.

Time changed all that. Beji became older and weaker. Her son's wives gained more and more access to her  kitchen. Modern life with its modern rhythm introduced faster flavours and easier to prepare meals into our lives.

Then one day, my mother served us toast for breakfast, instead of paraanthas.

We didn't have a toaster then.

This is where the tavaa (flat pan on which we make rotis/chappatis) comes in.

Put the tavaa on a medium flame. Let it get hot enough for the thin slab of butter you're about to tip into it to melt. Then place your slice of bread on it. Scrape a few thickish shavings off the block of (Amul or home-made white) butter and spread them evenly on the side of  bread facing you. Make sure the edges get enough, too. When the air around you starts to fill up with buttery toast aroma, turn the side. If, like me, you like the edges kararaa (brown and well done) then wait a bit. You can always add a bit more butter by sliding it through the edges while the white slice is browning into a toast. Now slide the James Bond of all toasts onto your plate and enjoy. But,before you do, make sure that the bread is cooked.

Because, all through my childhood I was told that the white slices of bread that were sold at the bakers were kachaa (raw/uncooked/in need of proper cooking--Indian style).

"Aye haye kachee bread khaa littee...aye le...ajwaain khaa...sabar nahin bilkul ve ajkal de bachayaan noo."

If you were spotted eating white bread straight from the packet, chances are your mum or granny would take you to the doctors for you had just consumed raw, uncooked bread.

Don't ask me! I was a kid back then. How was I to know that the baker had baked the bread before wrapping it in a plastic bag? Baking wasn't done in my Beji's kitchen.  The oven, I knew and loved, was outside, in the veranda. It was called tandoor. 

I digress. Sorry.

My mouth is watering just typing the way my mom used to make tava toast for us. She would use ghee or Amul butter or home-made white butter, depending upon what was available or what one felt like having that day.

They are all superb. Yummy. And they all taste different. The ghee ones are kurkure (crumbly like pastry), the Amul ones are salty and the ones made with white butter are soft in the middle. You can crush some black pepper on top, or chilly flakes if you like, and Bob's your uncle.

When toasters came into our lives, we started toasting our kachaa slices of bread---white in the 90s, followed by brown and multi grain and then the gluten free kind.

Our trusted Tefal toaster sits like a king on our kitchen counter top. His courtiers stand in attention right next to him--bottled up and straight--honey, marmite, peanut butter and marmalade.

I use my toaster to toast pitta, naan, bread and bagels. And they all come wrapped up in plastic bags. Beji must be tut-tutting from somewhere up there in ether.
*****
How do you like your toast? Do tell:)

I have to thank Barbara whose post about skillets drew my attention to the tavaa on my hob.

I feel I need to add a picture of the other 'T' I was toying with before I read Barbara's post. 
It's tota -- parrot in Hindi.(the t is soft--falls between t and th)

Tota (this sounds like it reads) is also a modern Punjabi slang for hot stuff--
of the female kind, not bread.

Ahmedabadi Tota:)

 U and I will meet again:)

47 comments:

  1. "Beji was the queen of her kitchen and my grandfather's heart." This line if modified, could have read and sounded better.

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    1. Would love to hear your version with the modification. Thank you.

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    2. I wouldn't dare - but the sentence does feel it has a sort of abrupt end. You are left with a feeling of 'wanting more'. Difficult to explain.

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    3. Will have a look again next month...but I seriously don't mind. One only learns when one is shown new ways to do things:)

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  2. Now I want some toast! Happy A-to-Z-ing.

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  3. The foods our grandmothers made were the best, weren't they? You asked about "pigs in a blanket." It means cooked breakfast link sausage, which is usually a pork sausage, wrapped up in a breakfast pancake. Thus the "pig," the sausage, is inside a "blanet" of pancake.

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    1. Aha! I get it now. Sounds delicious.
      And here I was imagining little piglets in pink blankets:)

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  4. Replies
    1. I hear you Eva. I buy (70 %) and bake the rest:)

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  5. When reading I just wanted to try your Beji's breads. Plain white sliced bread is my least favourite bread. Sourdough from the bread shop and wraps in plastic from the supermarket. Thanks for sharing.

    A to Z Theme: Sharing Family History via #GenealogyPhotoADay By Fran from TravelGenee Blog

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    1. I do love sourdough Fran. Haven't had any for a while. Want some now:)

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  6. Arti,

    In America, I grew up eating white bread frequently usually in the form of sandwiches for lunch or toasted with butter and/or jam for breakfast. My favorite way to fix white bread is to make french toast. Are you familiar with this? Basically you dip the bread in an egg bath, then grill it in butter and while warm you serve it with pancake syrup. We prefer maple syrup. It's rather delicious. The only home-made bread that I make are biscuits. I love fresh baked bread but it's rather time consuming but it's a huge treat when I do make it. Thanks for sharing your fond memories & for visiting!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “T” (Treehouse)

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    1. We do love french toast:) I reckon it will be french toast for one of our meals today.
      I have this bread maker that makes baking really easy. All I have to do is measure and pop the ingredients in.

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  7. I hate sliced plastic bread! It is what American grocery stores have, and the entire place smells like sugar, and the bread tastes like a sponge. Ugh.

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

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  8. White sliced bread in a plastic bag is my least favourite, but then I do like to make my own! In the UK Pigs in Blankets are served with roast turkey at Christmas. They are small sausages wrapped in bacon!

    Another day in Amble Bay!

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    1. Now Amble Bay sounds even more inviting--home-baked bread and Arthur's ale:)

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  9. Your grandma sounds lovely. I'm only in my twenties, but sometimes I feel kinda like that with the kitchen I work in. Although, I'm fine allowing store bought bread and such to grace the counters. ;) I'm glad you have such good memories of your grandma!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. See My “T” post here: https://lydiahowe.com/2017/04/24/t-is-for-tenacity-atozchallenge/

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    1. Thank you Aidyl. I have only fond memories of my grandparents who filled my childhood with so much love. They're no more. I write about them so that my children can see how special they were.

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  10. Well, my tummy is rumbling and my taste buds are on overdrive Arti! I sometimes do that with bread - melt the butter on pan, dip the bread in beaten egg and place on pan and turn over and over - and when all perfectly bubbly and yummy, sprinkle some cinnamon and/or sugar on it - and enjoy! Tantalising post Arti thank you and also your memories of your grandma!

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    1. Cinnamon on toast sounds yummy Susan. I think I'll sprinkle some on my french toast today while I try to tackle U. Cheers:)

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  11. My sliced 9 cereal multigrain bread sounds dreadfully boring after reading your post, Arti! Even though I had a bagel not an hour ago, my moth is watering for some Tavaa Toast. Well done.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Tide Pools in Puerto López

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    1. Tavaa toast can be eaten anytime of the day or night, and we all need energy to finish this challenge, right?

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  12. I love a good toast. Sometimes we'd sprinkle a little bit of sugar and cinnamon on it. YUM!

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970's Billboard Hits

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    1. Yummy...love cinnamon and sugar, too:)

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  13. Oh, I love to jog memories in others! Beji was partly right about our fine white bread, it really isn't healthy. Yet it is what we are used to and what we eat. The tava toast sounds like what we call Texas toast. You can buy loaves of bread sliced slightly thicker just for making it.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead: #AtoZChallenge - Perspectives: Telephone Spam http://lifefaithincaneyhead.blogspot.com/2017/04/atozchallenge-perspectives-telephone.html?spref=tw

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    1. Cheers Barbara--for writing about your skillet and for this new food word: Texas Toast:)

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  14. I do not like white bread that comes in a plastic bag. I do allow other varieties in my kitchen. As I read your description of tavaa toast I was reminded of the toast we eat when camping, buttered on both sides and cooked in a pan over the fire. Now I want to go camping.

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    1. Eating toast next to a camp fire, out in the open--I'd love that.

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  15. We never eat white bread and never allowed to eat it as kids except when we went camping. When my mom wasn't around, my dad would make us sandwiches of sliced bologna, potato chips and white bread. Totally unhealthy but so delicious because of the memories wrapped up in a simple sandwich.

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    1. So true Toni--"memories wrapped up in a simple sandwich."
      So many fond memories are linked to food I had as a child and now we are making new ones with our children:)

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  16. i love the tava toast as well and that is how we toast bread (any sort) in our house even with the toaster oven standing right next to it..
    the toaster is only for bagels, warming up pizzas, frozen waffles once in a while, and for its toaster oven capabilities but never for plain bread (the tava is our way!)
    and i myself prefer the ghee toast while kids love their toast with salted butter (lots of it!)... and if it is sourdough bread, then we use olive oil...
    love the tota..
    LadyInRead @ MyRandRSpace - Day 24 & TooHardtoDescribe_T

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    1. You're a good mother and provider of food:) I tend to get a bit lazy and take the toaster option.
      I do like the olive oil option, too:)

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  17. I love this memory of your grandmother that you have shared today. I like toast with butter, or peanut butter.

    Phillip | T is for Teeth

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  18. I have the distinct impression that I'm never going to feel excited by anything coming out of my toaster oven toast ever again... My goodness, tavaa preparation sounds lovely!

    *goes off to scuff her shoes dejectedly in the dirt*
    ;-D

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    1. What do I say except I'll make you some when we meet....:)

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  19. What wonderful memories - they warm my heart. And the description of the toast - well let's just say my tummy is rumbling and my mouth is watering. Yum!

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  20. Hahaha! I could so relate to this, Arti!
    My Dad still feels the same way about this angrezi double roti in plastic bags! He, of course, has no choice now, but to eat it!
    I don't like kachchi bread either. We have a Murphy toaster on our kitchen shelf. And it is used daily. Tea and toast is our daily morning routine. With Amul butter, no less! :P
    This tavaa toast still happens when there are power cuts. And we make grilled sandwich toasts on tavaa too.
    Wonderful memories.
    So glad to connect with you during this AtoZ. Do visit mine sometime.
    Happy blogging!
    Chicky @ www.mysteriouskaddu.com

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  21. When I was little, white bread was considered THE bread for sandwiches, and if you brought your lunch to school, you probably had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. True, white bread doesn't have much personality, but it's soft and the crust isn't tough. Nowadays, I prefer whole wheat.

    Yours sounds much more interesting and tasty. :)

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  22. 'Mareezan di roti' - a perfect description which only your Beiji could've come up with ! Reminds me of my father's reaction to bread - he'd ask if anyone was ill ?!
    That's the kind of disdain with which bread was treated with in our home .
    And yes I too love my toast afte its sizzled on a tava and enveloped the entire house with its moth-watering aroma(drooling as Inwrite this Arti!!)
    An absolutely delightful read ! Hugs !

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  23. 'Tota' (parrot). We pronounce T by pressing our tongue to our upper teeth to get the actual sound of T to pronounce 'Tota'.

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