Friday, March 07, 2014
Boredom can set in quickly with home decor. What looked great when you moved in can suddenly be horrible later on. The reason why home makeovers actually do exist in the first place. So what can one do when they can't really afford or do the whole new paint job and mouldings trick? Two words : Soft furnishing.
Soft furnishing is all the textile items that go into home decor: curtains, decorative cushions, carpets, runners, throws....change these and you can transform your room in minutes. Out of all these the one that will change your decor the most dramatically are the curtains. As an example, here is what my living room looked like until yesterday.
Don't mind the water seepage problem on the right, I managed to dab some leftover dispersion the workers left before we move in over the worst of the blotches, what I am talking about here are the maroon-purple curtains we have. We bought these for our previous flat because we had a big airy living room and could afford dark colours, we also needed longer ones for our flat then as the bay windows were higher than your standard door length and none of our existing curtains works. In this flat the height of the door is even higher than the already high non standard door height in our previous flat. As a result the curtains don't touch the ground, they are a solid two feet shorter. It is less of a problem here, the curtains in this current living room are serving a purely cosmetic purpose. Which is dressing an otherwise bare looking glass door and wall. The balcony is North facing, we never have direct sunlight in the living room, and as you can probably notice no neighbours that can peek into our home easily. The reason why I keep them tied to try to hid the fact they are too short. It is not bad looking, it is just looking dull and dark, and a year later I find myself hating them. What I refuse to do however is buy new curtains since, thanks to all our moves, we have more than enough in that department to fit various sizes and windows configuration. So I went digging into our storage boxes to find the curtains we used in our master bedroom before we moved there, they are the same longer length type, so again shorter than needed in this flat but in the end here is how I made them work in the living room :
The picture is not really doing them justice, they are the turquoise velvet ones from our mauve and turquoise bedroom look. They are too long for our current bedroom so we used some older ones in that room instead. In this living room all the furnitures are dark wood (at the exception of the TV stand), the sofa is a redish brown, the carpet is blue. And that poor old carpet ended up looking a bit lonely as the only splash of colour in the room, which is why I decided to give the velvet blue curtains a try before figuring out if I could live longer with my eggplant coloured curtains or needed to make peace with the fact buying new curtains was the other only alternative.
To make them work despite their short size I needed to keep the curtains tied, like the old ones, but because these are velvet, and far heavier they would look far better draped against the wall instead of letting them hang down with a bow tying them up in the middle. Fortunately I had two nails I could use and the walls were agreeable to my plan, so I went ahead and hammered them at the height at which I wanted the drape on both side, then raided my wardrobe for some of my old bangles to use as curtain ties. And finally I used a piece of turquoise wool I had left from a craft project to tie the bangles holding the curtains to the nails in the wall. The added bonus being that the water seepage damage is now a bit more concealed by the drape. The bright turquoise of the curtain instantly made the room lighter, and a bit less tiny looking. Sadly the picture is not showing it, but I wanted to steer clear from the flash so that the room looks as close to what it does in reality, so just imagine a brighter blue that totally matches the blue on the balcony paintwork I did last year.
As I said, just changing the curtains can instantly change the mood of a room, if you have no dogs, kids and don't mind the constant cleaning you can add throws and cushions in colours you want to match your decor, or change the carpet. My grand am used to rotate her area rugs between the living room and the guest room to change the look. You can buy more than one set of a curtain for a room, so that when one is in the wash, the other can be used, or switch heavy sun blocking curtains in the Summer but light sheer ones during the monsoon and Winter. And then of course if you really do not mind the constant dusting required in India and really have no one who can break things in your home, add some small trinkets, vase, bowls and frames to your decor as well...instant makeover without having to paint your walls.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
I had these empty cans which I keep for craft projects and decided they would be great planters, but because that kitchen is already industrial and gloomy looking I didn't feel like using them as they were, they needed a little crafty work. Nothing to difficult and time consuming, I just picked up three colours I liked (some might remember them from all my previous Summer project), painted some of the grooves on the can at random and let them dry. Then I filled them with soil and planted some moong seeds in the. First because moong give a lot of leafy green and looks fun, and because it is a foolproof seed, that stuff will grow in anything and don't really need a lot of maintenance or lot of sun to still look great.
Normally they grow fast, but my kitchen is facing North, which is of course the reason why it is so dark to begin with, even during the day. Early morning we get the sun hitting at a slight angle from the east, but nothing to make the kitchen bright. That of course affected the growth speed of my seeds, and didn't sprout as fast as they usually did. To help them I moved them to the utility area during that short period of sun we have for them to get a little TLC and as of today they are looking like a fun green plant for the first time.
Of course after the sun leaves that spot I transfer them back to where I wanted them in the first place, they do a great job at cheering up that corner, even on a very gloomy overcast day like today.
The added bonus is that Ishita found the process of growing plants from seeds fascinating, the petunias we planted didn't grow and were a bit of a let down, the moong beans ended up delivering and catching her interest. I think this is one of the only thing we will be able to grow from seeds in that flat considering the lack of direct sunlight on the balcony.
Monday, March 03, 2014
DH is back from China, and my week of solo parenting reached an end. I pulled off, not always with flying colours, but we did it. As usual I was on my knee and tired, s usual it was taxing, as usual I did scream and scolded more than otherwise. But hey I am only human after all.
The title of this post might puzzle, it’s more of a feel good moment for myself I am going to talk about here today.
On Sunday morning, with life as we know it as a family back to normal, I got to read the paper again (can’t bring myself to find the energy to do it or care when on double shift parenting duty). And the article on page 2 was about how their 80% of mothers in Mumbai think feeding kids in front of the TV easier. I knew about this trend, I even have a number of ladies in Mumbai and Bangalore that have suggested I start feeding Ishitaher to be too skinny and were concerned aboutin front of the TV because they found how much Ishi eats. Those not advocating TV, were advocating keeping her busy with toys and books and shoving food down her throat when she was not paying attention. I have seen that sneaky food ninja manoeuvre performed on kids at the playground, or in the street in Bangalore far too often:
“Distract the kid, catch them off guard and shove their mouth full of curd rice” SPLAT, if the kid whine, show them a tree, a flower, a toy, or whatever to make them feel better about swallowing the food.
This method has always shocked me, first because it doesn't teach the kid to pay attention to what is on his/her plate, then it doesn’t promote independence, and last it doesn't teach the kid to recognise what hungry and full actually feels like. Something that the experts in that article I read yesterday are highlighting as well.
The link to the online article is not as complete as the paper version where they added that mothers did resort to the TV to curb food related tantrums, and make their kids eat more and faster. And the experts to advise not to give in to the idea of a child special menu, when in reality kids should eat exactly what adults eat and not have any special treatment at meal time. One bit of information I found very startling in the article both on paper and online however, is this bit:
“Vats said only 23% of the mothers said their children ate all vegetables while nearly half confessed their kids only ate potatoes and lady's fingers. Around 45% of the mothers said they didn't give fruits to children and some felt tetrapack fruit juices were a substitute for fruits.”
It startled me, but it is actually not a too shocking revelation, I suspected it was so for years. Some of my friends are actually amazed at the fact Ishita eats fruits, and at how much a variety of fruits I introduce in her diet, and how I limit things like juice and sweet drinks (or TV for that matter). Some confessed they don’t buy fruits because they are expensive, and sadly, yes they are. But then Ishita is usually sick less often than her friends and the doctor visits are few, so in a way what I spend on fruits end up not being spent in medical bills. There is also the fact that I prefer her to play outdoor rather than buying toys and DVDs or taking her to the mall all the time, again money saved that goes toward the fruit eating budget. But in general the fruit and healthy habit awareness in my circles is high, and most moms report that their children simply WON’T eat if not in front of TV or refuse to try new foods, if not served in a junk-foody way to the kids. So yes fruits are more appealing in the form of jam and juices, greens need to be hidden in potato dense cutlets, ketchup is the only tomato their kids will happily eats…which reflects what the survey did find out.
Let’s be clear, Ishita is no angel, and she is not an easy eater, far from it, we end up having food battles at meal time regularly. With her stating before even tasting something that she does not like it, and me staying firm saying that she must taste a little of everything on her plate…no ifs no buts, and certainly no substitutes offered.
I know that the job of a 4 years old and younger is to test their boundaries, that’s how they learn social skills, and how far it is acceptable to go. As a parent my job is to set the limits, I am a parent, not a friend to her, and that means my job might feel very ingrate at time, with her hating me for it now (but thanking me years from now, I can guarantee it). The concept of distracting the kids for them to eat things they would not otherwise eat out of free will is wrong on so many levels. I can totally get how the idea of having a tantrum free meal appeal to parents. Tantrums suck, they really do, and by the end of one, you parent feel like total crap. They are emotionally and physically draining, but they are NORMAL. They are supposed to happen, they are the sign of a well developing child, a child learning about life, who they are and how far they can go.
If you annihilate every chances of a tantrum ever occurring by dolling out candies, and giving the child everything they want at the first sound of a “wahhh” you are curbing your child’s healthy development. Being told “I hate you” by your kids might make you feel like you are a looser and a bad parent, but it is in fact quite the opposite. Parents aren’t friends, kids get to make friends in school, in the playground, in their extra curricular activities, they will tell their friends how much their parents suck, and find support:
“My parents are the meanest on the planet, they made me eat broccoli soup” to which a peer will reply “That’s nothing, my mom insisted I eat all my palak paneer…can you believe how horrible she is?”.
They will bond over the bad oppressor that parents are, find out that some kids have it worse than they do, and in the long run realise that you parent did a great job raising them to be sensitive adult.
So yes reading that article on Sunday after a week of solo parenting, handling tantrums alone and having almost completely stuck to my weekly planned menu (Dosa eat out aside) made me feel great. Made me feel very good to know that even beat and mushed to a pulp I managed to stand my ground and pumpkin and beans went down. And it also made me realise that the past 2.5 years of terrible twos, terrorist threes and freaking effing fours worth of food battles and tantrum were not wasted, she learned to like broccoli, she loves mushroom and eggplants, she likes tomatoes in other form than just ketchup, she ask for olives in her tiffin, gets exited at fruit shopping making requests for things like grape, pomegranate and plums. And heck she is even now asking to taste iceberg lettuce, oak leaf and aragula after realising that alfalfa sprouts were not toxic. She doesn’t like leafy greens much, but that doesn’t mean I don’t ask her to taste at least one bite of each when they are served at a meal. So yes the hours of my standing my ground on food related toddler issues are now only starting to pay off, we are far from being over with them, and I am not kidding myself, I continued testing my culinary boundaries with my parents until I was a teenager.
Reading that article, confirmed what I knew all along, that I was doing something right. After a week of just being alone on the front, this kind of confirmation is indeed my feel good factor.
Friday, February 28, 2014
I know, I know! Idlis are a breakfast food, but they do a great lunch too, and my daughter loves them, which means one less meal time battle to deal with. Now, tomato chutney, you might not have seen that one served with idlis much, because traditionally idlis are eaten with sambar ( which I really don't like much) and coconut chutney (which I love but gets a bit boring after a while). Last year I saw a recipe for "cup idli" and various chutneys to pipe on them in Goodfood India. Basically a twist on the good old South Indian steamed bun breakfast, and while I tried the stuffed cup idli (batter poured into silicon cupcake moulds before steaming), they really didn't exited me as much as their tomato chutney. I tweaked their recipe a little adding more chana dal and giving the grated coconut a miss, and of course added more curry leaves because I love them. The recipe is easy, quick, tasty and all you really need before launching into it is a mixie (blender grinder if you are not in India). This is one of these recipe I had to share and had been thinking about doing so for a while now, never found the time to take pictures, so here it goes :
You will need : two handful of Chana dal (split gram lentils), 2 medium tomatoes, one small onion, a teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of red chili powder, a teaspoon of salt, a generous handful of curry leaves, and 2 teaspoon of mustard seeds.
In a pan dry roast the chana dal while you are roughly chopping the onion and tomatoes...I insist on rough chopping, you don't need to complicate it, the thing will end up being blitzed in a blender in the end, save your energy and time.
Once the chana dal is roasted remove and set aside, add oil to the pan and throw in the onions, when the start turning translucent add the dal back to the pan and quickly mix and stir fry for a minute.
Then add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chili powder and mix, let it cook storing occasionally for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to be slightly mushy but not overlooked.
Transfer the entire content of your pan to a blender and blitz until you have a nice smooth paste. Pour the paste in a serving bowl and heat a little oil in the pan again, throw in the mustard seeds, when they crackle add the curry leaves, stir quickly for a few seconds, and pour the oil and leaves on the chutney, mix well and serve.
It taste better warm, and you can add coriander leaves if you wish at this point, yesterday I didn't have any left so I didn't, but I often do, because...well...you know...I love greens. Idli for those not knowing is a steamed bun made with a batter of fermented rice and split black lentils (which aren't black in this case as it is the de husked type that is used). I usually make my own batter because it tastes better, but it needs a little planning. I soak 2 parts rice for one part lentils separately for a couple of hours, then grind the soaked rice to a slightly coars but runny paste, and then grind the lentils to a smooth creamy paste, mix the two together and let it ferment in a covered container on my kitchen counter over night. If you don't have the time to do that and live in India, you can buy ready made batters almost everywhere, they will do the trick fine too.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
You read that right by the way, I said chaat masala, this is not a typo at all. I got that ridiculously fast and and yummy recipe from a friend who like me think the worth of a woman is not tied to the amount of time she spent in the kitchen. She works outside the home too so the last thing she wants to do in the evening is spend hours to cook. This recipe is quick to pull, taste different, and her daughter who is Ishita's age loves it. I had to give it a try myself, and I got converted to it and included in my cooking repertoire. Here is how stupidly simple this one is:
In a big bowl, put chunks of boneless and skinless chicken ( as much as you need, I usually do 2-3 breast fillet that I cut in cubes). Sprinkle the chicken chunks generously with chaat masala (that's right the thing you normally put on salads and fruits) and stir to evenly coat the meat pieces in the spice mix, add a sprinkle of chicken masala if you wish to add a hint of spice, stir again. Then add a generous handful or two of kassoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), stir once again. Finally add enough plain yogurt to coat the chicken nicely and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, the longest the better as the flavour will intensify.
Once you are ready to cook, take a big non stick flat bottomed pan out and heat a little oil in it on the stove (I use my Dutch oven pan). Place all the chicken chunks in and put the lid on. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to the middle (smaller chunks will cook faster). That is IT, it takes no more than 2 minutes prep time, and 10 minutes to cook. You can serve it with any vegetables you want, and it pairs great with a leafy green salad of your choice. I usually don't sever rice with this one as it is filling on its own. The yogurt turns the chunks soft and juicy, the chaat masala gives the meat a nice tang that goes great with the pungent taste of the fenugreek and Ishita likes it most of the time too.
With Summer pointing it's ugly nose in Mumbai this is one of these recipe that will end up on the menu more often since I plan to start bringing back the light salads for the season and need a nice protein side to them without sweating out on no end in the kitchen.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I am a seasoned veteran at this game, and it should not be that hard anymore, so when DH left for the airport to go on a business trip to China for a week last Sunday, I knew the drill. I mentally prepared myself to being on double shift duty, planned my weekly menu to take into account the exhaustion factor, and vowed to myself to handle it with the grace and poise a BTDT (been there done that) would be expected to have developed.
DH left Sunday night after Ishita tired us the whole day nagging her to buy her a new cycle (which we refused to do), we negotiated having the seat of her old one raised once DH comes back, and on these comforting words she goes to bed. DH gives me the details of his itinerary, we relax and watch TV before her leaves, and once he did, I handled the dog’s hissy fit and shoe hostage taking like the pro that I am…so far it plays by the rule book :
Dog being pissed: CHECK
Next step is dragging myself to the bedroom after feeding said pissed dog and figuring out if the airline company has a sms alert feature to be told when the flight arrives. They do, and I request an alert from them and head to bed as it is already past 10pm. I end up tossing and turning a little that night…again it plays by the rule book:
Wife getting prone to insomnia due to lack of snoring: CHECK
Comes 6.30 and I realise I never got the sms alert from the airline regarding the Hong Kong bound flight, I do not allow myself to freak out, and grab my iPad to check directly online. Just as I do so Ishita barges in the room and before even saying good morning ask “Where is Papa?”, I reply that he is in China, which prompt her to go into super whiny mega mode asking “I want a big cycle”! Nope she is not missing her dad, she is just disappointed that her wish for a bigger bicycle didn't get granted overnight. That is not part of the rule book, and I try not to be rubbed the wrong way being screamed at a request for a two wheelers while trying to get a flight status update…Grace and poise…I shall handle this solo parenting stint with grace and poise. Breathe in…and breathe out. The flight has landed, the next one departing soon, and I didn’t get a call from DH telling me he missed the connection…all is well!
Time to get out of bed, make a cup of tea, serve some milk to the kiddo, and let her watch her favourite cartoons while I gather all my semi functioning neurones preparing for a Monday that will see her not going to school, but instead have us going to the end of term PT meeting. I can do this…yes I can. I even planned an easy lunch for that day: salad and chicken nuggets…see I got this all covered. Grace and poise, I rock, we are doing great!
The maid comes on time, does her chore, and I feel like things are going smoothly, until said maid ask me if she should throw it out, speaking of a silver earing she swept. Alarm! I know the only way that earing is out is because Ishita raided my wardrobe at one point in the past few day, and sure enough its twin is nowhere to be found. I sternly scold Ishita reminding her that my wardrobe is off limit, she nods, I go in the bathroom to breathe in and breathe out. Only to have Ishita launch the usual Spanish inquisition at me: Why you went in the bathroom? Why the earing is lost? Where is the other one? What are you doing?…breathe in…breathe out…
I head to the kitchen to drink a glass of water and throw some stuff in the dustbin while I left Ishita watching TV. I turned my back for 2 minutes and come back to an empty living room and Ishi hiding her face in her room. That can’t be good. And it wasn’t the instant I got a glimpse of her face all grace and poise of the seasoned pro went out of the window. Her face was no longer clean, it was tattooed entirely with a black ball point pen, leaving more black than flesh visible, and not only has she been able to achieve that in 2 minutes, she also started scribbling her legs, hand and shorts. All I did was leave her alone for TWO minutes to go hydrate myself and throw a few papers mind you. The scolding of a lifetime followed, with a great deal of decibels and a daughter trying to defuse it with some giggling before realising that I was really mad. We were to leave the house by 10.30 and at 8.30 she was sporting a face tattoo that had to come off not to have me being questioned by her teachers…gah!
So the scrubbing began, with a damp terrycloth towel and some sobbing and screaming from Ishi. Sobbing that didn’t even induce sympathy in my barely caffeinated body, grace and poise? Screw it!
I ended up getting her cleaned enough, then served a breakfast of sprouts, cream cheese and bread, which was preceded by a nice lecture on respect and the need to not scribble anywhere but on paper and not demanding new things all the time, lecture which had Ishita nod to and was concluded with her hugging me and saying sorry. It was short lived, she promptly decided that the bread was offensive and tossed it to the dog, imperiously saying she didn’t like it and didn't want to eat it (since when she doesn't like it, that is a mystery). I scold her again reminding her that talk about respect we had and make her clean her spot at the table and we go walk the dog before heading to school.
The meeting was shorter than the usual ones, and we are out of school by noon, Ishita begging for a mask, me to promise we will paint one once we get home, and her to whine about it. I head to the craft store to purchase a few things, Ishita tries to get more out of the deal on a whiny tone, and that is the exact moment I realised that my easy lunch of salad and nuggets was not going to cut it and that the idea of being trapped home with her fussing about and demanding things was not going to cut it. No I didn’t have it under control, and coping with grace and poise was really not going to happen…NO WAY
But I am a seasoned veteran at this game of solo parenting, and while I did crumble under pressure, I knew enough to call in for plan B. Lunch at home? who said it had to be that way? I offered her the option of going for dosa instead of home, she approved, and off we went to the nearest joint serving some. She even liked the dosa and ate almost all of hers. Then requested some ice cream, which again I agreed to, not only because she finished her food but also because, I was stalling the process of going home.
We made it home by 2pm, we made a mask in less than an hour, she played with some clay, and by 3 I announced that it was going to be naptime, not even caring if she agreed to it or not at this point as I was sleepwalking myself and knew I had to lie down to be able to just walk to the playground later in the afternoon. She sat on my bed while I slept and dosed off at one point, and woke up at 4.30 asking for the park…of we went.
We were back by 7 to her being cranky, throwing a fit at the idea of a shower (despite being all dirty from playing in the dirt), and I had to be stern again and scold her once more telling her to get cleaned up, just counting the seconds until her bedtime came at this point. She asked for yogurt and fruits as dinner, and i obliged because lets face it, it is easy, healthy and she can feed herself without supervision. Then off to bed she went only for me collapsing on my bed at 7.45, feeling like a total failure and too brain dead to even curl up with a book, I spent some time playing mindless videogames before calling it a night.
This morning she knew better than wake me up with a whiny demand, she actually said good morning and hugged me first, so what do you know, I might end up managing this coming week with more grace and poise than yesterday.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
We then got married, and not one but two relatives decided to gift us dinner sets, one made of melamine in a yellowish green colour that was to be fair nice looking enough, and one glass set made of blue transparent glass that in its glory time was fine looking. Needless to say we graduated from the steel plates instantly, using mostly the melamine set at first. That didn't last because as decent looking as it was it was of poor quality, and I think half the dinner size plates broke in the first year under the heat of the food and by the time we moved to Navi Mumbai we had only the rice plater left (we still have it by the way), every single plates, quarter plates, serving bowls and vegetable bowls of said set broke over the years. We inherited 6 dinner plates made of melamine from a friend after that, as I type this only 3 plates survived and look in a very bad shape. Our glass set became more and more used, but barely 2 months in Navi Mumbai and the set got decimated by our very careless maid, only the salad dish and 5 dinner plates remained, all chipped badly I might add. This left us again in a position of having mismatched everything, which isn't really too nice now that we are living with proper furniture and have a social circle of a higher standard than in our early years, even casual dinning looked funny and a bit shabby with our collection of chipped and cracked dinnerware. Something had to be done about it, and putting an end to our endless indecision about what to get had to end.
You see, at first DH figured out we would be better off buying a nice fine bone china set just for special occasions, which is fine, except we rarely have so special occasions to use it at home, when the occasion become too special we dine out. Then we looked at opal glass sets such as the Corelle range, overpriced, with too many pieces we didn't need and not even that nice looking. We gravitated toward going for stoneware (aka ceramic plates), but couldn't find anything we really liked at a price that was fair. So while we had the idea of getting a full set of dinnerware a few years back already, nothing was put in motion, until a few months back when I realised that we had only 3 tea mugs left and were not only facing the problem of serving food to guests on mismatched chipped and faded plates, we also had no way to serve tea to everybody all at once...gasp! That is when I told DH I would do a reconnaissance round on my own in the various home stores in our area, and only inform him once I narrowed it down to something before making the purchase. I ended up finding some really nice, elegant yet basic ceramic sets in Lifestyle. The sets were for four persons: four dinner plates, four quarter plates, four big cereal bowls and four teamugs! All we needed, since we had enough vegetable or pudding bowls we got for free over the years. The sets came in three different style all priced at 1999 rupees a set, the cheapest I found so far. Of course since I noticed it a few weeks short of the end of season sale started, I didn't buy it just then, knowing the price could go lower then. By the time the sales came the price was discounted at around 1700, DH liked the one I liked, and we bought two sets as when we have people over that usually make about 6-7 plates needed. This is what we got :
A bright cheerful cream and green set with a hand painted artsy quality about them, perfect for everyday use as well as more fancy occasions.
The dinner plate has a more mutted design than the quarter plate, to avoid clashing with what will be served on it food wise. This is one of these silly little thing I care about having grown up with parents that reverted meal time and believed that one not only eats and tastes food with their mouth but with their eyes as well ( and it seems science agrees with them here)
And while we use the dinner plates a lot, and are happy to have some quarter plates back after several years not having any but two of them left in our blue set, the ones we use extensively are these nicely sized cereal bowls, they just are the perfect size for a noodle fix, a salad, some oatmeal, or a table top TV munchie snack. Added bonus being that they also bring memories from my childhood having the same size and shape as the ones we had home, the bowls that saw me every morning holding a nice substantial serving or real Swiss Muesli (no it isn't that ore packaged cereal mix crap you are told to add milk to). We aren't using the teamugs much yet, we agreed to continue decimating our mismatched collection before attacking the new ones though. So that guests can have a first go at our nice cups. And of course because we finally found a set we liked, it goes without saying that our maid is prohibited from touching it, we wash our plates ourselves before patting them dry and storing them away neatly.
And notice that the blue salad bowl from the old set is the only one I kept in sight, and that I already had a green ceramic serving dish I bought a few years ago in Fabindia that goes with the new set, and of course some small dipping cups I brought back from Thailand last November. And because I waited for the sale and used some loyalty card points, 2 sets that would have cost a total nearly 4k at full price ended up setting us 2500 rupees! That give some reason to our crazy years of indecision and going back and forth let me tell you.