Back home, she slipped into her nightwear and curled up in her bed, falling into a rather fitful sleep. At midnight, she awoke in a cold sweat, with a burning ache in her food-pipe. Nausea bubbled up as she raced to the bathroom sink barely in time. So much for the delicious mushroom pie.
Amma sniffed in the morning after a bleary-eyed vigil with basin at Suji’s bedside. “Best to stick to eating pommes-frites (French fries) from now. No more mushroom dishes for you!” With that, Suji determined not to undertake any more experiments in eating French cookery beyond the known staples of “du pain”( bread), croissants, French fries and La Vache qui Rit (Laughing cow) cheese cubes, and above all ‘thayir saadam’ ( curd rice) and potato chips- her favorite TV dinner.
Another of Suji's now seriously limited food adventures was a passion for a garlic flavored soft cheese. Suji would sneak up to the refrigerator to spoon out tablespoons of the stuff into a small bowl, and Amma was always wondering why it kept running out so fast. There can be too much of a good thing. One day, the point of satiety was reached, after which Suji turned her nose up at it and refused to finish up the generous supply that Amma had laid in.
Lunch at school was a routine affair- Peanut butter sandwich or occasionally chapati rolled up with a filling of sugar and ghee, along with apple juice or milk from the cafeteria. Suji was happy enough to munch these for a while, but as time passed, the peanut butter sandwich's charm palled, and she attempted sneaking it into the kitchen trashcan before Amma discovered it half uneaten in her lunchbox and gave her a solid scolding. Suji took to bundling up remnants in a paper napkin and surreptitiously discarding it before the lunch monitors could see her in the school cafeteria.