Posted in Food

Simple, Boxed and Wholesome

Living the life of a college student teaches one many of the practicalities of life. Shuffling between books, part-time jobs for that extra inflow of cash, managing expenses on a very stringent budget and encountering unexpected emergencies, be it on the social, academic or family fronts; teaches one to gear up for many situations. On a personal note, it was the budget which had lead to the culinary experimentation at a very basic level.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child

After too many peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, repeated lunches of sandwiches or rice lead to a search for recipes with basic and minimal ingredients and plenty of experimentation. One of the first attempts was to make kathi rolls for lunch. Essentially a kathi roll is a skewer-roasted kebab wrapped in a paratha bread. Homemade variants essentially imply any wrap containing a filling enfolded in an Indian flatbread (roti). With the fillings being highly varied from chutney, vegetable salad, roasted or sauteed vegetables, egg or chicken, one can be extremely creative and go with whatever is available at hand. Though similar to the burrito, the difference lies essentially in the bread that is used.

Technically the burrito is a flour tortilla wrapped into a sealed cylindrical shape with various fillings. The former may be lightly grilled or steamed, softening it or making it more pliable. Often eaten by hand as the tight wrapping keeps the filling together. As for the fillings, they are usually savoury with ingredients ranging from cooked rice or beans, vegetables (especially the salad types like lettuce, tomatoes), condiments like salsa or guacamole, meat of choice (as salad mix or diced and curried) or simply cheese. Newer styles of serving burritos include the wet style (covered with savoury sauces), spicy types, or even a mix of both. The only catch is they are all had with the cutlery at hand. .

“You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.” Unknown

Turning towards the adult years, especially when rapidly approaching the two scores; counting calories becomes the norm. Which is why the morning melee doesn’t simply involve packing lunch for the kids, but also two additional lunch boxes grace the counter. While packing lunch for the two of us, the setting is kept simple and basic with plenty of protein to kill the hunger pangs and care is taken to keep the meals less greasy, fussy or spicy. Besides it is a good change from the elaborate dinner preparations. Having lunch at the work-space beats heading out for the midday meal on many levels. Not only does one get to portion out the calorie intake; the swapping of recipes, sharing of simple meals and a chance to interact beyond the work-front provides a soothing touch to the hectic or mundane tune of the morning hours. As for getting creative, this is the best opportunity to charge ahead with experimentation and palatability; keeping things simple, rich and enticing. For any food connoisseur, these are the challenges which perk up the recipe corner and discovering the fun and joy of simple and balanced meals.