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A bit of a Delicious Past!

A bit of a Delicious Past!

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Born in an Indian home, obviously translates into a lot of fuss over tradition, culture, rituals and of course, food…

Variety of Food is an eternal part of an Indian home and every home boasts of its own flavors, recipes and even a unique method of cooking possibly passed down generations. If you were to extend this visualization to every state, then you are party to a huge array of delectable treats.

And when you think of festivals, the pumping of flavors and the sumptuous spread goes notches higher. We are what we eat and as a proud Indian, I find that amusing as we are used to consuming cuisines from different states and now even a lot of experimentation with International cuisines. Whatever, the occasion, whatever the time, whatever the reason, walk into an Indian home and you will intuitively know why the kitchen is so well-planned and well-kept. It’s like the centre of energy where what keeps you hale, and hearty is not just cooked but is well made to suit to suit the palette but also ensures the nutritional component with each dish.

What goes on in the kitchen is a testimony to anyone who is intrigued by Indian recipes that have been granted their places on the global culinary maps through Food shows that make you jump at the marvel of modernization in it and yet managing to keep the traditional authenticity in it alive.

What still keeps me intrigued is the age-old traditional passed from a mother to her daughter and so on…the mind registers the taste from a very young age and that’s how even though I never took to cooking till I married, I can still manage to create dishes that still feels like it came out of my grandma’s kitchen. Every spice in the right quantities found its way into a curry or a gravy sending a visitor drooling for more.

Spiced Gravy at its best!

For me, it is not just one dish of hers that I recall fondly, but a complete nutritious meal that was ready to keep grandpa full till his next meal. Every inch of the round 7-inch steel plate covered with different curries and gravies round the seams and a large mound of steamed rice in the center topped with ghee (clarified butter). Pickles made from seasonal vegetables were an added delight with fried poppadums giving it that theatrical effect. Any occasion or a festival would mean a dish made with sugar or jaggery would make anyone squeal in absolute thrill. As a child, watching grandpa devour his meal in silence taught me what Conscious Eating meant and his appreciation and gratitude to grandma also would be through that quiet act of wolfing down; no pun intended. And the aroma of all the spices would create a lilting waft in the air!

Even today, with all the modern gadgets for grinding, pounding, chopping, I see her blessing into my food that I cook for my family and friends. I do imagine what it must have been to wake up at 4.30 am every morning and tirelessly go through the grind of feeding her large family of six without as much of a complaint or a whine. Maybe, because they were taught to relish food as a blessing, be in gratitude of the food that they could afford to cook and eat, treat people or visitors with the meal at the cost of eating less.

I have been a part of this Indian tradition and culture, and I am at a phase in life where I can pass on this to my children who will grow up and someday also realize what an Indian kitchen can create through the magic of the grand old lady who unflinchingly cooked and served with love and care. And when asked about measurements in a recipe, she would simply smile and say, “Measure with the eyes!”

Now, I finally know what she meant. ‘You first eat with your eyes and so it starts right there and what follows is all the other senses blending into a dish in a delicious concoction of tradition and love. It’s a feast for the soul that dances in pure joy with that first mouthful of wonder dancing on your palette!’

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