There is no sincerer love than the love of food- George Bernard Shaw
I couldn't agree more with GBS. I finally take the leap of faith and write my inaugural post to my food posts!
Cooking I feel is a skill that can be learnt and acquired. But yes, some of us may have a greater knack for it or an interest to learn it than others. The styles of cooking also differ person to person. Some of us are methodical in our cooking styles- we plan, ensure we have all ingredients we need and then cook.Some of us are effectual (an entrepreneurial trait)- we look at what is there in the fridge and make a dish. This is a continuum and I think like most phenomena, this may also exhibit a normal probability curve.
I think I am somewhere in between, I love recipe books and can follow them to the t and make decent food. There are also moments when I like to have strange combinations and the final product is more than palatable.
I have been lucky to have eaten some fascinating home dishes made by some very good cooks- I will always remember my dida's (maternal grandmother's) maach paturi with alu begun (fish in mustard- steamed in a particular leaf or just made in a kadai, with long juliennes of potato and what I call the Bong brinjal- big light green or purple).My ma surely takes on her ma and makes amazing shorshe bataar maach (fish in mustard gravy) and alu jhinge posto (potato and ridge gourd in khas khas paste); not to forget the bestest alu bhaja and softest ruti (phulkas). My boro ma (tai ji) is a fantastic cook who makes shaag (greens), maach (fish) , bok phul bhaja ( a flower soaked in batter and deep friend) , malai chingri (prawn in coconut milk) and crab dishes with the same elan.
While the love for food and cooking runs in the family, I take my gene of experimenting with food from my baba. As children, my brother Joy and I always liked sundays because baba made maangsho- either murgir maangsho or pathar maangsho (chicken or mutton). His insistence on the right 'koshafying' technique and my eagerness to chop the onions and tomatoes was my first step in cooking. He to date makes the best maangsho ever!
Having married into a different community, a well set foodie already, life gave me the opportunity to learn more cooking and newer dishes from amma and Prashant. Amma is a fabulous cook and her festive meals are simple and yummy. Be it learning to make aamvade (chana dal soaked, ground, curry leaves, chilly and spices, deep fried), sambar (toor dal with vegetables and home made masala), horsegram rasam or a veg pulao- south style, I just keep all my senses alert. I wish someday I make sambar as good as her and also learn the trick to her avial. I have realised that the sambar powder and rasam powder made at home is undoubtedly the best and learning this is on my to do list.
It is good to marry a man who can cook but life is great when the man you marry can make a three course meal. Since the day we started cooking together, I have learnt that Prashant doesn't need a recipe or measurement cups, he just cooks. Avlakki, Puliogere, Vangi bath, Avrekaal sambar, different versions of veg pulao, and making round dosas- all these I learnt from him.
Prashant and I love eating, love cooking and invariably watch cookery shows, read recipes and even exchange mails on them. Gues that makes us a 'food couple'. He is my first guineapig and along with baba, my best critique.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning an aunt (Kumu's mom) who taught me the quickest sambar technique, the green chicken pulao and my first ever bisibelebath- she has magical fingers.
So, my food posts on this blog are dedicated to all of them and two of my brothers who always like what I cook- Joy and Rony! While baba and Prashant are my critiques, they are my loyal fans who keep me going on this gastronomical journey sans boundaries.
So, to food – eating, cooking, thinking and to food writing, here I am!
My first post will be: Maangsho , the way my Baba makes it