A little bit of fatty heaven
A little bit of fatty heaven

They’re nothing like Scylla and Charibdis, in case you’re wondering that this is a story about a Greek tragedy or perhaps some impossible conundrum for which there is no solution.
Not at all.
Posset and syllabub are two desserts me and old SO (my Significant Other) came across quite accidentally one day, when we eschewed our usual Koshy’s Fish Molee (me) and sausages and eggs (him), in favour of the Oberoi Hotel’s posh Le Jardin restaurant.
Once in a while, we hanker for their buffet spread of cold cuts and cheeses, their salads and soups and their view of the gardens. We also miss their patrons who eat silently, without arguing with each other, banging on the cutlery and crockery. (I’m not complaining Prem, just making a point.)
So after seconds (me) and thirds (him) we were ready for dessert.
Now in most restaurants, everything on a dessert table is either filled with sugar or flour, usually both.
I may have mentioned in an earlier post that SO and I have been trying, unsuccessfully for more than fifteen years to stick to the Atkins Diet, which, devoid of carbohydrate, is supposed to shrink us down into wispy nothings.
It’s not happening. But we haven’t given up.
I came back from the dessert table sadly, telling SO, “There’s nothing for us here.” I may have wiped a tear from my eye.
One of the waiters, a sweet fellow named Siddharth, I think came over.
“Ma’am, you should try the posset,” he said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s a dessert made with cream, lemon and sugar substitute,” he said. “No carbs,” he smiled, handing me a thimbleful. Actually a shot-glass.
It was the most delicious, non-carb dessert I’d had in ages and I am ashamed to tell you that I had four shots. SO had six. We wiped the Oberoi clean of their posset that day.
I asked Siddharth if he would be so kind as to share the recipe with me.
“I’ll give you the easy version,” he said generously. I’m not much of a cook, and he must have picked that up.
“Get a few lemons, some heavy cream and some sugar substitute. Mix it together till it’s delicious. Stick it in the microwave for two minutes, it will bubble. Cool it. Enjoy.” he explained on one breath.
I didn’t need him to repeat a word. It was so easy.
I came home and Googled it. I discovered to my delight that posset is a popular dish from 14th or 15th century England. Pre Shakespeare obviously because he gets Lady Mac to use poisoned posset to bump off the guards in Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2.

“The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms
 Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugg’d their possets
 That death and nature do contend about them,
 Whether they live or die.”

I discovered syllabub on Wikipedia. It’s a similar dessert, but thicker and more sinful. I’ve made a few modifications from the 16th Century, since one’s tastes change over time.
The original syllabub recipe calls for placing a bowl under a cow and milking it full, but there don’t seem to be any milking cows near where I live.

I wouldn’t call myself a poet although I write words that rhyme. I’m a songwriter. I can hide behind the music.

I can emote and stretch words, I can repeat for emphasis, create drama and generally make people forget the stupidity of producing melodramatic drivel like,

Would I lie for you?
Would I cry for you?
Would I try for you?
Would I die for you?

I’m embarrassed even as I write this, lyrics for a song called, no prizes for guessing, ‘Would I lie?’

But there are brave souls in this city, who compose their thoughts and put them down on paper, often in long-hand (without the benefit of rhymezone.com and other unfair aids), painting beautiful pictures, making harsh and jagged stabs, being plaintive once in a while and desperate sometimes. Funny, rarely and serious mostly. Thought provoking at all times. Poetry is like that.

They are a group of poets who meet very regularly at a charming, kind of put-together restaurant and wine bar overlooking Ulsoor Lake, in what looks to be a parking garage. Its owner, Perry Menzies, wanted to create an edgy yet comfortable setting for both the budding poet and the seasoned craftsman to meet, recite poems, mill about and be, well, poets, on Tuesdays.

The seating is bare bones, the ambience is delightful and the view of the lake is unbeatable. The food’s not bad either, and I’m told the wine hits the spot.
I went there one Tuesday and was delighted to find a packed house.
At least seventy-five poets, some clutching paper, some clutching thoughts and others listening attentively to writers of all age groups empty out their souls.

There was pin drop silence. Aside from the tooting horns from the street outside, no one made a sound until it was time to applaud. And then it was like a joyous explosion of firecrackers.

But I deceive you with my words.

I trick you. I’ve painted a benign picture of Urban Solace in a town once called The Garden City.

There is something very ugly and sinister happening around this valiant oasis of culture, right in front of our noses.

Some residents in the area have decided to use the entrance to Perry’s gentle, friendly restaurant as a garbage dump.

Not just a few gum-wrappers blown in by the wind and the odd cigarette butt. There are mountains of garbage dumped there every day. Some in plastic bags, most of it on an as-is-where-is basis.

Perry created a pretty white picket fence around the area, hoping to send the message out that this was a place of beauty, someone’s property, not to be used as a dump. He placed pictures of the various gods and goddesses that sometimes scare people into obedience in India, but he’s clearly speaking a foreign language. Or we’ve become godless in Bangalore. No one paid attention.
Perry tried planning beautiful blossoms outside his restaurant, in a kind of hint to the heartless. He has tried seeding grass hoping to appeal to the innate sense of beauty he believes people are born with.

But garbage triumphs over gardens every day.

No one is listening to him. But Perry persists, the poets persist, and they walk around the garbage to enter the restaurant. It’s a miracle that once the poetry begins, the smell ceases to matter.