Monday, 14 March 2016

Cooking: A Family Affair !

Photo: Or Hiltch

My mom loves cooking. But cooking at our home was never a lonely affair. I remember growing up seeing my father constantly hovering over the kitchen, sometimes giving a lending hand but mostly just sitting there with a bowl of freshly cooked (rather half-cooked) food from the stove!

Even we were dragged into some of her elaborate dishes such as making home made potato chips or tiresome pickle making ritual! Those days I found it quite cumbersome and would often grumble about buying from market instead of spending so much time on such things. Nevertheless, we always pitched in at the prospect of eating the final product.

It would take me years, to finally understand what cooking really means. I spent most of my adulthood living alone and that meant endless chain of making-maggi and dosas (for brunch and dinner - no one living alone makes breakfast!). The only exception was when I used to have friends come over. On those occasions, we would take our time and make a meal together...and it tasted better than any take-away food.

When people say, "Am too lazy to cook for myself", they aren't lying completely. You see, cooking is not just about making good food. It's also about having a good time making that food. If you are to cook mechanically every single day without any emotion, it would show in your food as well.

And like any other good work, cooking needs inspiration! It may seem a little too much when I say that to this day my mom expects us to compliment if we liked something she cooked, no matter how ordinary every-day-food it is! Initially I used to find it little amusing but over the years I have seen how such a small gesture can create huge impact on the person cooking. Since we are used to complimenting at home, I follow it everywhere - even if am eating at a strangers place and have had the privilege of receiving the most genuine smile in return . And I don't mean fake it, but there must be something you liked and we Indians are often quite shy about complimenting!

Today when I am in the kitchen all those memories come flooding back to me and I feel overwhelmed to realize how lucky I am to learn from my mother true art of cooking. Watching her cook is like watching an artist paint, such enthusiasm and passion and instead of isolating herself in that world, she chose to involve us and share that passion with her. To remind me that we should never take anything or anyone for granted and appreciate every small moment. Because at the end, these smaller pictures glued together makes the bigger picture -life.

Even now when I call her, I hear her talking eagerly about some new recipe she is trying and I know that somewhere in that background dad would be sitting patiently with a bowl of half-cooked food...and suddenly world becomes a happier place!

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