If you’ve ever seen a wake of vultures, you know how formidable they can be. The scavenging birds aren’t pretty. But, to give them credit, they don’t kill healthy animals; they go for the sickly and wounded. Even vultures discriminate, I suppose. When they do find their prey, they hover and linger and then go for it. And boy, do they go for it — vultures gorge themselves till their crops bulge almost indecently. Kinda like Homer.
Why am I talking bout vultures?
Well, today I decided to make coconut ice, its coconut candy but with hardly any effort — most unlike the coconut candy my mum used to make annually for Deepavali (the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus).
My mum’s coconut candy — which is the kind mostly everyone I know (or rather their mothers) makes requires strength and fortitude as you stir the ingredients (fresh coconut, sugar, butter and condensed milk) in a wok over a slow fire for a very long time. Really, a long time.
It was so arduous to make that she could only muster up the energy to make it once a year. So deprived for candy the rest of the year, my brother and I used to hover around in the kitchen as she made it: smelling it and hoping for scraps. Of course we were supposed to help with the stirring but our young, spoilt limbs would give up after five minutes. Useless!
My mum dubbed us scavengers. And we could not argue. Once the candy was done (it is an art to know when to take it off the fire as it couldn’t be too dry, it could not be too moist and it shouldn’t brown), mum would spread it out on trays and we would lick the remains. We’d even fight to lick the wooden spoon used to stir the mix. We would have licked the wok too if not for fear that our tongues would stick to the sides (such threats mothers employ). So sad, right?
But the candy was delicious.
Some things do not change. Though I want to make candy, I am still not prepared to stir and stir and stir the candy over the hot stove for an eternity. Come on. I have people to see … on TV.
So I decided to make coconut ice. It’s the easiest candy to make and it tastes almost as good. And you don’t have to worry about it burning or being too dry or moist or whatever. It’s fool proof, really.