Celebrity Column | Mum’s mango ice-cream, writes Maria Goretti – It was the tastiest, creamiest and softest ice-cream in the world, and I’m not saying this because my mom made it….
According to me, my mom was the strictest mom in the world. I used to think that it just wasn’t fair that we were not allowed to do most things. To add to it, Grandma Agnes told her that giving us pocket money was an absolute no-no. So that was that. And every time we asked mum for money to eat something, she would say, ‘I will make it.’ Dammit, how do you tell your mom, ‘No, I just want to eat out, that damn deep-fried bhajiya, where you can taste the oil that has been refried so much, you can actually smell the burn?’.
Yes, I understand it might not be the most hygienic of food, but it was so good! All the kids would stand around the stall after school and eat it. But no, my mom would just say no. And that’s how it was.And we had come to make peace with it.
My mom was like Speedy Gonzales in the kitchen. She would spend a maximum of an hour-and-a-half and churn out some really interesting stuff. Mom’s mother tongue is Marathi and she studied in German because, she was in Austria for much of her youth and she eventually learnt English. Clearly, I’m not as multi-linguistic as her. Also, I think she suffers from an acute OCD, but does not know it, and because of that, I think part of me is a rebel. After a point, I mostly did not do most things she wanted me to do.
Her biggest grouse was that I didn’t know how to cook or make a roti. It was a matter of national interest for her. I’d come home and tell her we won the inter-collegiate debate or that our group made it to the finals of Malhar with our tap routine, and somehow, it would reach a conversation where the fact that I couldn’t make a roti, was discussed. How and why is that so important?
But anyway, every year in the summer, when the mangoes were in the market, she would get down to making ice-cream for us. It was the tastiest, creamiest and softest ice-cream in the world, and I’m not saying this because my mom made it….
Every day, post lunch-time, my friends would come over and call out to us from the back door, asking us what we were doing, and we knew why. They all wanted my mom’s ice-cream. That meant we would get only half our share, because there was no way in hell that my mother would not share the ice-cream with the rest of our friends.
So, while we were sitting at our dining table, our friends would climb up on the grill and hang, and we would try our best to send them away. We’d say things like, ‘We just started lunch’ or ‘It’s too hot, mom isn’t allowing us to play outside’, ‘We need to sleep in the afternoon, etc.
But no amount of excuses would deter them from what they actually came there for — my mom’s home-made mango ice-cream. It felt like doom, mom opening the freezer door, taking the box out and us, knowing we’d get half of what was meant for us. So, we tried fake-coughing and sneezing at the table, made eyes at mom, or outright telling her, ‘Not now!’
But she never ever listened to us, or rather, she ignored all our subtle hints. Our friends would be invited in, they would all squeeze themselves at our table, and smile hungrily at us.
My mum would scoop out beautiful golden dollops of ice-cream and plate them in bowls, and we would then proceed to devour it, a spoonful at a time. The ice-cream would have chunks of mango in it, and we’d bite into a piece sometimes.
That ice-cream was so luscious, she used to freeze it, take it out, churn it again, add cream to it, and churn it again. What one got was the yummiest, creamiest, most delicious ice-cream I grew up loving. As did my friends, who after they had finished their bowls, would not force us to come to play or anything like that.
We would go back to telling mom, not to take out the ice-cream if there were more people. But mums are weird creatures and want to share everything. Today I understand that she never really enjoyed the process of cooking and that’s why she was so quick, and it was just a function of being a mom.
But she enjoyed doing all the rest of the stuff, she stitched our clothes, taught us good manners, and looked after us to the best of her ability, kept a pretty house and a blooming fruit garden. But cooking was something that was functional.
Well, she had me fooled.
So I guess when she did stuff, she put her heart into it. And that’s what I learnt from her. She still makes mango preserve and ketchup at home, I guess it’s a force of habit. Only now, I get the preserve to continue making ice-cream for my ilk.
And when I see the ZZ’s gobble it up, I know exactly how they must feel inside. Pure bliss, exactly how I felt with every spoon of my mom’s mango ice-cream.