Sandesh Story: When I Tried Cooking What Grandma Used To Make
The weekend that went by was a happy one. Finally, I was able to take out time and indulge in making something which is not quintessential ghar ka khana… the dal chawal, sabji roti, healthy immunity building stuff. I tried my hand at making Sandesh – the popular Bengali dessert made of cottage cheese. Indeed, it is a stressbuster to spend time in the kitchen when you are not doing run of the mill stuff.
For my own sanity, I had to make something which I could put on Instagram, as childish as it may sound but the drool-worthy homemade stuff people were putting up on an everyday basis on their social media handles was making me question my worth as the lady of the house. For long I tried to scroll past the posts, seldom have I given in to peer pressure but to this, I gave in. Also, there was the question of some extra milk packets which needed to be put to good use. So, what better than Sandesh in a Bengali household?
Indeed, it is a stressbuster to spend time in the kitchen when you are not doing run of the mill stuff.
I am not a dessert person but Sandesh always has had a special place, especially the homemade ones. It has a deep childhood connection; my grandmother and her elder sister were the best Sandesh makers in the world. During the winters they would be made with jaggery brought all the way from Kolkata. There is a fragrance which takes over the entire house when the Sandesh dough is just ready in the pan and to smell that all over again transported me back to those carefree days of childhood.
Once the dough comes to the room temperature you put them in the moulds to design them. I regularly did this with my grandmother and asked her questions about everything under the sun, she always had satisfying answers to all my questions. She was the first one to talk to me about periods, explaining why Draupadi was not present in the courtroom while the Pandavas were gambling, the first time. She was a force to reckon with, a woman ahead of her times, her dad was a single parent of six daughters.
There is a fragrance which takes over the entire house when the Sandesh dough is just ready in the pan and to smell that all over again transported me back to those carefree days of childhood.
Anyway, back to my Sandesh, I think I did a decent job because they didn’t last long. Sandesh anyway doesn’t last long. I discovered that various household articles can be used as a moulds thanks to the DIY cookie-cutter videos on YouTube. The familiar shape and look were comforting. It was like being able to relive some of those familiar moments from childhood in times when everything around is uncertain. A month into this lockdown I had come to terms with the fact that my best bet is to pull through this drudgery of staying at home and not try to ace it. But if something can push you to better yourself even if for the sake of social media likes, is it a bad idea to try it, once in a while?
Oh, and when I told about my attempted Sandesh story to my aunt, she promised to save some Kolkata jaggery and send it to me once the lockdown is over. And my Father-in-law has promised some moulds which were probably once used by his mother. I will come back with Sandesh 2.0 story using all traditional ingredients, once the lockdown is over.
The views expressed are the author’s own.