We were lucky to quickly find and hire a cook, who comes to our apartment 6 days a week to cook dinner for us. I think the convention is for a cook to come 7 days a week, twice a day, but it’s good to have a day off and we like to make our own breakfast. The kids get a hot meal in the school cafeteria.
Our cook, Vijayalakshmi, makes dishes in the local South Indian style, and so far we have asked her to stick with vegetarian food. She typically cooks rice, a curry, a soup or side dish, and often a bread (roti, chapati, papad, etc.). She makes everything from scratch, and generally does the shopping as well. (This bit is important, as it is hard for us to get out to the grocery store and we don’t know enough about finding and using the local markets.) I think most of what she cooks is fantastic, although I have no idea what it’s called – I need to do a better job of asking her the name for these dishes. She uses many local vegetables I can’t identify, including some little leaves for which she even doesn’t know the name.
The first meal was very spicy – I thought it was great, but we’ve asked her to tone it down because the kids don’t like it as spicy.
I took a few photos of the kids eating a dinner that they particularly liked – chapatis and a potato/curry dish. This meal, like many, is to be eaten with your hands. More precisely, with your right hand, as Indians find it offensive if you use your left hand for eating.