Anmma asked my sister-in-law Annu to dictate to my eight old niece Anita the recipe of the lovely wine Annu had made. Now Anita was wonderful with words, wrote impeccably and had a way with words. Whenever she copied or wrote down a recipe for amma, she’d add a naughty comment at the end of it which amma loved.
A couple of months later, amma decided to make the wine. She took out the recipe book and checked to see if Anita’s mischievous comments were there.
There were none.
The required ingredients were listed out to be bought.
“Looks like an expensive wine”, amma said. “For every litre, we need 45 pieces of cloves”.
The ingredients were put in the bharani (jar) and lid was put in place and made doubly secure. It had to be stirred every day for 20 days.
After 20 days, it was time to drain the wine. All preparations and the maddening sterilization of vessels, ladles were over and the wine was strained through a fine cloth which served as the sieve.
Then it had to be kept in the bharani for another 20 days before bottling. Before sealing the bharani amma took out some liquid in a ladle and poured it into a glass.
And she tasted it.
She nearly fainted.
She says she took just one sip and her entire gastrointestinal tract was on fire.
She called up my sister- in- law, who asked her to repeat the recipe. The former was horrified when she heard of the 45 pieces of cloves for every litre of water. She had said 4 to 5 when she dictated the recipe to Anita!
Now, I’ve not been able to figure out if, instead of the usual written joke that accompanied her recipes, Anita decided on a practical joke that once!
And I haven’t been able to figure out too how an expert cook like amma didn’t realize that 45 pieces of cloves per litre could be deadly.