Tag Archives: Books

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

I am currently reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I am a voracious reader and a foodie. When a book caters to both the senses, how can I not fall in love with it? At the point where I am reading now, Lillian has prepared a drink for her mother who has her head stuck in a book all the time to escape the reality. The girl just wants to bring her mother back to being herself and prepares delicacies to entice her. In one such attempt, Lillian prepares a drink and I thought why not I try this on my own because the recipe looked simple enough and I am no Julia Child. But Lillian is someone who doesn’t follow any recipe and goes by instinct. So, let me tell you how my little culinary adventure turned out.

Given below (sounds so academic) is the comparison of what Lillian did and what I tried.

Lillian’s Recipe (You can’t actually call this a recipe)

My Deed

Put milk in a saucepan. Use real milk, the thick kind. Half a litre of Goodlife milk by Nandini poured into a saucepan.
Make orange curls. Set aside. I don’t know how to get curls of orange peel! So I grated the outer peel carefully avoiding the inner white layer. White layer gives bitter taste.
Break the cinnamon in half. About 2-3g of cinnamon stick.
Add orange peel and cinnamon to milk. Added to the milk in the saucepan.
Grate the chocolate Grated about 18-20g of plain Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate into the milk.
Add anise. Just a touch. Added about 1g of anise powder into the milk.
Let it simmer until it all comes together. You will know when it does. Yes, let it simmer. When all the chocolate melts and you get a faint aroma of spices, that is when you know it is done. By then, the milk would have reduced to half of the original quantity.
Use your wand (what she means by wand is a spatula). I used a spoon. Keep stirring otherwise a layer of cream/fat forms on the surface spoiling the taste.
Now add that to your coffee. I added about 5-6g of Bru instant coffee mix to the milk and filtered it to remove cinnamon piece and orange peels.
Top with whipping cream for softness. Fresh cream from Milky Mist helped. I added 50g of the whipped cream to each of the two mugs.
Serve. One mug for myself and another for my mother.

I have to mention here, Lillian did not filter the contents to separate the cinnamon stick and orange peel. She used a spoon to hold them back as she poured her preparation into mugs. I just made my work easy. Also, Lillian’s coffee was already prepared. Considering it had sugar in it, sugar for my choco-coffee came from the Dairy Milk chocolate.

About the drink, it turned out to be yummy. I am not a fan of coffee or tea, but this tasted good. If you don’t trust me, then ask my mom. On some days, she survives on coffee when I pester her a lot.  I don’t know what this is called. Lillian hasn’t named it in the novel. I will just call it choco-coffee. Simple enough for a person who is not much into the world of coffee. If you don’t add cream and whip the drink itself, I guess it turns into a cappuccino. People who drink it regularly would know better. Do let me know if both are same. And the picture doesn’t show pretty patterns on the drink. Bear with it.

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

Shwetha H S

The Meh Visitor

It was that time of the day when I walked back home. Family, mom-made food, books and bed awaited me. I got down about a kilometre away from my home because the bus in which I was took a deviation. I didn’t want to wait for a connecting bus and instead decided to walk home. The lanes were desolated and this was unusual. Though I didn’t stop the music I was listening to and of course didn’t remove my earphones even for a second, I was alert and was looking around trying to sense creepy people. Few more minutes and I would have reached home, but there was a tap on my right shoulder and I turned around to find nobody. Again there was a tap on my left shoulder and I found none when I turned around. It’s only when there was a tap on my head and I looked up, I realised that I was in a trouble. It dawned upon me as the rain rushed down that I had forgotten to carry my umbrella. But then, I like rain. Oh wait, I like only to watch the rain, but not play in it. Maybe just stretch my arms out and collect a few drops of water in the pit of my palms. And maybe just wilfully play in rain and get drenched in rain without looking raunchy… Oh no! I will fall sick. To play or not to play in rain, that is the question. And the footwear also will get dirty. Downpour had started and I had to make haste. Well, a plate of golgappa would do no harm, I thought. Since I was already near my home by the time my train of thoughts stopped and I was in no mood to make haste, I preferred having golgappa. Then I got back to thinking, well overthinking, about how rain is both welcomed and unwelcome depending on each person’s situation, but rain doesn’t care and just showers down whenever and wherever it feels like. Rain is a badass; is indifferent to our needs of the moment. Someone might want to go out for a jog or someone is rushing to meet his girlfriend or someone wants to enjoy a dry weather. No, you do your thing, if you can and rain does its thing. No point in singing “Rain! Rain! Go away!” Rain will look upon you with a meh expression. I can totally imagine rain saying “tum tuch manav” and swirl and sway and sweep down on humanity to wash away…wait, I don’t want to get washed away. I won’t even go to the Ganges to wash my sins. They are precious. So, rain… though you pray to it, get harmless animals married in human ways and sing ruthless songs, rain will descend upon Earth only when it wants to. It had not stopped raining even after me finishing a plate of golgappa. See, rain didn’t care even for my golgappa. Why would it even care about whether I reach home or not? I walked back home anyway.

Shwetha H S

Conversationalists and Me

“Do you watch Game of Thrones?”


“What do you with your free time then?”

“I read books.”

“Then you must have read the book version of Game of Thrones?”


Perplexed conversationalist asks, “But why?”

I put down my book and say, “I am waiting for George R R Martin to die so that he stops writing any more books in the series. Then, I will start reading them all back-to-back in peace.”

Conversationalist, now petrified, leaves me to my book.

This conversation has happened over and over, but each time with a different person, because it is difficult to have a conversation with me since I don’t watch TV series, I don’t read anything mainstream and I haven’t watched any movies lately. People need to understand that I am reading a book doesn’t mean I am in want of a company. I am already in a good company; it is just a matter of perspective.

People ask me how I came to love books so much. I would thank my mom for that and all those conversationalists would blame her. I think it started with her getting the library cards to get access to the books in the mobile library bus used to come to our locality every Wednesday, way back when I was in second or third grade. Back in my school days, State Central Library of Karnataka used to run mobile library services too, that had blue coloured buses carry books to each locality and serve their purpose. My mother was a voracious reader herself (though now she has fallen prey to soap operas) and the maximum number of library cards per person i.e. three cards and one book per card, were not enough for her. So, she got three cards in my name too. She used my three cards too to get books for her while I was busy with my school assignments. But my summer holidays were a curse to her. It so happened that I accompanied her to the mobile library. Unfortunately for my mother, I found Richie Rich comics. I grabbed one and waved it at my mother. She, being a good woman, didn’t know that I would one day ask for my cards back. And that day came too soon, like next week. I started with comics like Orson’s Farm, Archie and Friends, Richie Rich and Garfield, and slowly moved to Famous Five series, Princess Diaries series, Malory Towers series and Nancy Drew series. Yes, series. Series that people had started writing and finished, and probably dead already not to write anymore. There was no wait to read the next book. They all were there. My mom was back to her three books, thanks to me. Week after week, I went to get new books, practically old ones, from the mobile library, even if my mom didn’t come along. Then, the summer holidays ended. By the time I finished reading all the series and stand alone books that I could understand in the mobile library, four years had passed. Eventually we moved to a different locality and there were no mobile libraries visiting us. Unable to tolerate my nagging, my father got me a set of “Easy to Read English Classics” that contained Robinson Crusoe, Tom Sawyer, The Invisible Man, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Volume 1 of My Experiments With Truth and five more books, all for Rs.100! One of my cousins lost my first copy of Robinson Crusoe and I still hate him for that. I once found a copy of The Hound of Baskervilles in my school library, but stupid people would lend it only for a day. I was lazy to get it reissued every day, so didn’t bother.

Years passed. My brother grew up and I refused to. One day, say about 10 years ago, we were at the airport when he got up from where our family was seated and roamed around talking over the cell phone to his then girlfriend and now wife. I dogged him wherever he went. He, by mistake went into a bookstore and I gratefully followed. Unable to dodge me anymore, he bought me the first volume of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That’s it! It was like I was hit in the head again. Once I finished reading it, of course not then and there because it took me few weeks, I spent next few months looking for volume two. Back then, Amazon and Flipkart were not in scene yet, and I had to look inside brick and mortar shops. I finally found a copy of the volume two in Bangalore Book Fair which was, and still is, an annual event. I was ecstatic! I don’t remember how many times I have read those two volumes; I simply have lost the count. And then came along Pride and Prejudice. The love of my life. By then I had read too many classics, I even survived Wuthering Heights. But Pride and Prejudice…there is something about it, not only just Fitzwilliam Darcy. The way Jane Austen writes, they way she tells you something about life through each character without you knowing that you are completely agreeing with her, well she is the woman and I admire and worship her. I have obviously read many more after reading Jane Austen’s works, but she will always remain on the pedestal. Of course, conversationalists don’t even recognise Pride and Prejudice, even after it being made into a movie so many times for heaven’s sake! I understand the plight of the conversationalists, but I can’t help it.