So with all my food adventure enthusiasm I was in for 9 (most of which are brand new to my culinary skillset) pindivantalu - pulihora, dadhojanam, ariselu, kajjikayalu, poornam bonda, garelu, kobbari lauzu, pappu-chekalu and china-grass sweet (milk sweet made with agar-agar/china grass/vegetarian gelatin). Kaushik and I had the whole thing planned out (ya the planning freak in me had written it down!) - we would split the cooking and spread the preparations over the week before pooja and I would take the friday off.
It was a crazy week (week of July 27th). By Wednesday we had made pappu chekalu, kajjikayalu, ariselu, kobbari lauzu, china-grass sweet. By this time, I had blisters on my right palm... had been sleeping only 3-4 hours per night ( thanks to hectic work @ office)... the house smelled like a restaurant kitchen.. and the deep-fryed oil smell wasn't giving Kaushik any peace. I obviously had the other important tasks (including shopping for pooja-stuff) reserved for the day before and guess what!.. we had a fertilizer factory burn down in Bryan and we had mandatory evacuation orders by 4:00 pm on thursday !! what are the odds! I was almost in tears... there were rumours of the air being 'poisoned' and i was scared i would have to trash my hard work without even having a chance to taste it (talk about paronia!). I was like.. lets take the passport and the food with us!! We evacuated to the Navasota Omkarnath temple. God has his/her way of de-stressing us.. doesn't (s)he?!
On friday, things went by fast.. woke up.. took bath (?!)... put muggu (the search for a 'perfect' muggu is another story in itself!).. made pulihora, dadhojanam,.. and got stuck! I was dumb enough to not grind the chana daal after cooking it! argh! I realised this after ading jaggery. and i didn't think my lil magic bullet could take jaggery ladden chanadal in it (i might be totally wrong.. but then .. o well!) so i re-cook the chana daal till its soft in the jaggery water (which took soooooooooooooooo long!) and mash it.. till it was ok-soft. well after this, another shocker.. i could swear i didn't use ANY water to grind my urad daal but my garelu batter was runny! (reason: dad told me later, you are not supposed to let garelu batter stand for more than 1 hour if you want a hole in your garelu). Ya, the super-planner than I am.. I made my batter before-hand! so anyway I just made a couple holeless-garelu for prasadam. Finally! Now we are ready for the pooja.
This gave me the most joy... decorating ammavaru. After some hiccups with laptops, I finally managed to do my varalakshmi vratham. It was about 1 pm when I was done and I when I drank that coconut water-teertham...... I understood why coconut water. After all the empty-stomach-vratham-hard-work theertham gives the strength you need.
So that was my special day. Kaushik and I were so happy we did it and did it this way :)
And.. I could make my "perantam-packets"