Being a Bengali, I was taught to appreciate the taste of prawn, crab, Hilsa, Rohu, chicken, and lamb from a very tender age. Though vegetables are termed as "Ghaas Phoos" (that literally means grass) in a typical Bengali household, I was fed with quite a generous amount of spinach, okra, bitter gourd, beetroot, bottle gourd, and eggplant as well. I could not evolve as a fussy eater, thanks to my mother's stern looks at the lunch or dinner table. However, I also could not realize my love for food until I started staying in a hostel. Poha, Upma, Chole Bhature, Daal Baati, Gatte ki Sabzi, Malaiyo, Raw Mango curry, Thalipeeth, Appam, Pooran Poli, Pithala Bhakri- I was introduced to new flavors from various parts of India. At the same time, I started missing "Ghar ka Khana", the much sought-after homemade food.
It is said that people who love to eat can also cook good food. To be honest, I hated cooking for a really long time. I still hate it, especially the chopping, cutting, cleaning, and washing episodes. Moving from hostel to a rented apartment compelled me to cook and save some money. To make edible food, I started experimenting with shallow frying vegetables; my favorites being capsicum corn fry and potato beans fry. Rotis used to turn out like a sheet of charcoal and the vegetable fries were too bland for my taste buds. Nevertheless, I survived on those, accompanied by occasional takeaways.
While I am not capable to understand the deep meaning of this statement from a great chef, I have realized that cooking is all about passion. Whether I burn or undercook a dish (which happens most of the time), my courage to try again the same recipe and scare off my friends and family comes from an underlying burning passion.
|Once upon a time when I successfully made "Edible Idli".|
Post marriage, my love for food has taken up a new meaning. With a food loving spouse who also happens to be a better cook than me, my culinary skills seem inferior. Too many failed experiments in the kitchen have now taught me patience and persistence. While indulging in small talks with people, I find food and recipes as safe topics to discuss. I chat with my mother and mother-in-law for hours over traditional Bengali recipes. Though my poor husband is subjected to occasional torture due to my below par culinary skills, I feel that my love for food has transformed me into a calmer and patient version of my previous self.