Monday, April 12, 2010

FREEZING MEMORIES

With summer on at full blast, memories naturally seem to turn towards cooler things.

Like refrigerators. Now we have monstrous 300/400/God-only-knows-how-many-hundred litre refrigerators, but when we were young, we had a small 100 litre single-door 'fridge' which sufficed for all the needs of our family of six (plus my uncle's family of five - as they did not have any fridge of their own, they would often put their leftovers in 'our' fridge - a matter that sometimes led to frissions of domestic tension over S-P-A-C-E).

But for us, that small fridge was an Alibaba's cave of goodies which we were strictly prohibited to touch without permission. From the outside, it was like any other white (fridges in the 1970s seemed to come in only one colour) Allwyn (where is that company now???) fridge, rather yellowed with age and use, rather rusty at the edges.

But once the doors swung open and the chilly foggy blast hit our faces like a blizzard, we could see a lot of goodies that made our mouths water. [The leftover rice or dal or curry never interested us. Neither did the dekchi (pan) of milk.]

We lusted after the slab of Amul butter (100 gms, if you please, not the large 500 gms that I buy for the family nowadays). Red sugar-syrup-dipped cherries and crinkly kismis (raisins) reserved for cake-baking days. Slabs of aamsatto (sweetened mango preserves) for making chutneys. A screw-topped bottle of Kissan Mixed Fruit Jam, which went on bread-slices every day for our school-tiffin-boxes. Ripe mangoes lending their gorgeous smell to the cloistered cold air, red watermelons with a chunk scooped out and sugar put in. Bottles of Rasna (an orange drink) severely rationed to greet guests. Sometimes, exotic stuff like caramel puddings or sponge cake-mixes that Maa and Didia would painstakingly cook from recipes in Chic (a women's magazine that tried to make us more Anglified and, presumably, 'chic').

And, when we opened the small door of the deep-freezer and poked about the powdery ice and boxes full of slices of raw fish, we would be sure to find trays of home-made (Maa-made) ice-cream. Milky and mango-flavoured with real, squeezy mangoes for Bhai (brother). Full of peanut-crunch and thickened milk for me. Maa often had to serve us ice-cream slabs that had clear (and deep) finger-poking marks on them.

Going by the sheer amount of food that it could hold, that fridge was a magic box!

WHAT GOODIES DID YOUR CHILDHOOD FRIDGE/LARDER HOLD?

12 comments:

Lazyani said...

Yes , we had one too. A huge capacity thing considering it to be of 165 litres. It still is there in our house at Jamshedpur.

It is normally shut down , but whenever we are visiting Jamshedpur it is switched on and the cooling starts immediately.

Great engineering, I dare say.

seana said...

I am straying from the theme a bit, but your mention of ice cream made me think of this. I was watching the Amazing Race last night, and when they came to Singapore, one challenge was to make ice cream sandwiches for people. In the U.S. an ice cream sandwich is a manufactured thing, with a slab of ice cream between a kind of soft chocolate cracker, all of which comes out of the freezer in one package. So I'm pretty sure the rest of the American audience was as astonished as I was to see ice cream sandwiches being made from a cart by taking a slab of ice cream and putting it in the middle of a slice of bread. Of course to our eyes it looked 'wrong' and very, well, literal...

Rajesh said...

Beautiful post. When we got the first fridge we used to stack cold drinks in it.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

We were not having fridge those days. We have to request our landlady and chilled bottles of water were used from her fridge for making Nimbu Paani.

Kabya said...

a lovely post...reminded me of my childhood...a white kelvinator fridge....filled with treasures...aamsatto...kismis...misti'r 'baksho'...jams...and i had a fascination for that little can of Nestle's Milkmaid.... your post brought back all my childhood memories...

lopamudra said...

We had a Godrej 150(?) litres ,white colored fridge.Apart from the usual milk and butter our fridge had my favorite Kissan mango squash and chocolates.My Ma also made milkmaid kulfi, we had two blue milkmaid kulfi moulds that came 'free' with milkmaid.We also stored water in the empty squash bottles which was to be kept in the fridge, which we don't do here anymore.

OfficeTips said...

I just accidentally gate-crashed your site and was simply blown away by the theme and your commitment to it. My memories around the Kelvinator refrigerator we had in my childhood almost always end up with my mom and dad arguing over who would clean it :)

Shaswati said...

Aha! the first fridge in the house - well. we got that only when we landed up in the sweltering heat of Delhi. So for me, the most exciting thing in the fridge were the ice cubes which we were strictly prohibited from having and of course when no one was looking I would stuff some of them in my mouth - to cool down.

jingleyanqiu said...

sweet and unforgettable memories,
everyone has them,
but not everyone cherish or fine tune them...

beautiful post!

Smita Tewari said...

we, as kids remember ice- creams in our freezer! but fudges , sometimes only if we were good!

勝傑懿綺 said...

先將一個人的生活過好,才有能力過好兩個人的生活..................................................

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks for inviting us to share the goodies in your fridge.