Secret Seven and Famous Five were what I grew up on. I fondly remember fantasizing myself as a sleuth and went around trying to solve mysteries! I don't know exactly how I was introduced to these books, but I was glad. I remember many afternoons spent pouring over these books. I loved the parties they used to have. Secret Seven used to meet regularly and have freshly baked bread, jam cookies, and Lemonade.
I think I didn't know what lemonade was then but knew something to do with a lemon. So I used to make myself some chill lemon juice and have a plate of store brought cookies and settle with the book. But most times, I was more distracted by the cookies and the inviting juice. so I would finish it off and then immerse myself in the book. Nobody can disturb me when I am with fiction!
Then it was Tintin and Asterix. Oh, how I love my Tintin collection. I then moved on to Nancy Drew. My need to be a famous sleuth, increased with every book I read. And desperately sought a mystery even in a simple thing. hardy Boys followed, by Sherlock Holmes, Agatha christie, and much more complex Fiction.
Looking back, I really wonder if I had ever given so much time for my studies than what I seem to have given to reading non-school stuff. And on top, I had this bad habit of collecting all the books. So I have the entire collection of Edin Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tintin, Astrix, Robin Cook, and some Classic genre!
I was seen reading Nancy Drew ardently even when I was in 12th grade Its when I joined college that I was introduced to M&Bs. Well, that's a separate genre on its own. I realized I was too late in getting to know these. And I saw an addition to these as most others. I brought them by double. And yes I have a huge collection of these too. And doing a major in English, educated me on so many wonderful writers.
My favorite is of course Shakespeare. But I loved Oscar Wilde. His writing style and the prose that used to be followed was something that I wanted to depict in my own writing. The satirical approach was so cool for me.
In my first year of college, we had 'The importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde. This has the famous character Algernon, who I sadly tried imitating for some months. The opening scene has Algernon talking to his manservant about cucumber sandwiches. And that caught my attention. Few scenes in fact revolved around the cucumber sandwich and the frustration of the character not able to finally eat them is so funny.
Imagine a room with 40+ young girls jammed in a room on a hot summer afternoon and all they can get to hear is about some chap's obsession with a cucumber sandwich. My friends thought they had better things to do!
Though I am very fond of sandwiches, we make mostly Indianised. This was new to me. Going back home, the first thing I remember making, was a cucumber sandwich for myself. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then, I have always made these sandwich with cheese slices, and every time I remember that afternoon in my first-year classroom. It's strange how small facts like these stay forever in our minds. But then I guess, we are strange creatures!
Thinking of those days, I feel so nostalgic. Those many days spent with friends in the classroom, trying to be alert when most of them would be reading an M&B hidden in their class books. Since two of my friends were among the chosen ones to read out loud, I used to keep track of the paras for them. I know how dull it sounds, but then it was so!
For a person who was always seen with a book in hand, it's so sad that it's been years since I have taken a book to read. When Bhags announced an event to celebrate her blog anniversary, I was all intent to participate. But was sad to see the theme. Yes, there have been many books that had made me cook, but sadly all of them were in the past!
I was sorely thinking if I should venture a climb to the attic to get all those books down. But I know it will be an impossible feat! Then I suddenly remembered the book and its cucumber sandwich. So Bhags, I bring a simple sandwich to your party! Hope you like it!
Cheese Cucumber Sandwich
Cheese Slices - 1
Cucumber Slices - 9 small ones
Method to Prepare:
If you don't have cheese slices, you can use a cheese spread. Spread it on the bread slices. Slice the cucumber very finely. Place them on the cheese and season with pepper powder.
Even a plain cucumber sandwich tastes great. These are best for picnics and travel. The memories of many train trips we made with a bag full of Cucumber Sandwich comes gushing in!
Since I was making a sandwich, I thought I will make another classic at our home. Very Indianised sandwich at that!
Onion Tomato Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches
Bread Slices - 8 nos
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Green Chillies - 2
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Table Butter for toasting
Mustard Seeds & Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Method to prepare:
Chop Onions, Tomatoes, and Green Chillies finely. Heat a pan with oil and add the seasonings. For a more crunchy feel, add more of Urad dal. Once it splutters, add the onions and green chilies. Fry till the onions are translucent. They should not become brown.
Then stir in tomato pieces, ensure it doesn't become too mushy. Add in the masalas and cook well. Go easy on the salt as the table butter will already have some. Cook in simmer for 5 mins.
Transfer this to a strainer so that extra moisture drains out and not make the sandwich soggy
Meanwhile, heat a tawa. Trim the sides of the bread slices. I normally don't if it's for myself. Place on the hot tawa and toast it on both sides with table butter. Make sure one side is more crispy than the other.
Once the slices are crisp and brown, place a spoonful of the onion-tomato mix and spread using a knife. Place the other slice over this. And again press down using a spatula and toast for another 1 or so.
The result will be a crispy sandwich with soft and spicy masala inside. Since I have added both whole chilies and powder, this is quite spicy.