Yesterday I made chapatis. Or tried to.
See there’s a Vlog on YouTube from a lady from Zanzibar who shows us poor cooks how to make some of the most delectable meals. But we’re horrible at it. And because of this, as the African culture dictates, we might not end up getting married. Or at the very least, we’ll be married to lazy bum dead beat men, only because we failed to know how to make chapati.
And since no one wants a dead beat bum for a husband, we try our level best.
So my chapatis were edible. That I can attest. But the shape was a little oblong. Not as circular as grandma’s used to be. But they were tasty. Surely, my future husband can forgive me for this, no? It’s not like his African tummy will ascertain whether or not my chapati was circular.
I diligently watched the lady make a firm paste out of the dough and water, and I followed every step. Heck, I even used the new clean rag I had just bought from Tuskys to cover up the dough to let it rest. The Zanzibar lady swore that warm water, neither hot nor cold, results in the softest of chapatis.
But alas, mine were only soft on the edges and quite crackly in the mid.
You should’ve used cold water! Scolded my mother as she cut little pieces of the slowly hardening chapati into her stew of minced meat and stir fry veggies.
Sasa how could I try to explain to her that the Zanzibari lady insisted to use warm water?
How warm was the water? Like room temperature? She asked.
I explained that I had put the water in the microwave for about 1 minute. That meant that the water was warm, but on the cold side, not the hot side. Somewhat likened to room temperature.
And why were you making the chapos while taking breaks to come sit in the sitting room to watch TV! She remarked. Me I’ve never seen a cook make chapos and take breaks while at it. Zitaungua!
I rolled my eyes in my eyes and stared dead ahead to Hassan Mugambi reporting about a demolished building in Embakasi or something. I remember thinking how good he looked in his purple suit. Dare mother see you roll your eyes in front of her.
Mind you, she was busy tearing away at my chapatis, making unflattering noises at the cracklings of my well prepared meal.
She never commended me for the meat though. That I knew was well made and tenderized.
I never really been a fan of minced meat, she sighed as she ate away at my food. At least you remembered to put in some chilly, just the way I like it.
But the veggies, now these are well made. She mockingly said, a sly smile almost forming on her face. She had made the vegetables; my job had been to simply warm them on the stove. Typical.
I confined myself in the warmth of my bedroom and happily ate away at my chapati. I had 2 of them, as a matter of fact.
Who cared if mother didn’t like them? Pah. That was her fault.
Surely my ancestors would grant me a good husband, not because I can make perfect chapatis, but because I have the hunger to want to know how to make them perfectly well, right?
And perhaps, just perhaps, he might love me for that and his encouragement could propel my chapatti making business into a more professional one.
And anyway, doesn’t practice make perfect?
As for now, I shall enjoy this little delicacy and look forward to making better pastries in the future. Maybe some mandazis will be a little easier and less ambitious to make than chapatis.