Firstly, I must start with a confession that I am not a great cook at all. Until recently, after I got married and had to cook myself, I never knew that I would like cooking. However, I am developing a passion for it now and this blog is gonna play my teacher. My mom always used to tell that one can easily get the hang of cooking if he/she can taste and relish food.
Well, I can't call myself an elaborate food explorer but I like trying new food, both eating and cooking. Akkama, my paternal granny who recently passed away was known for her innovative cooking; I think we can call her a legend of cooking for her creativity, experimentation, interest, activeness, multitasking, tasting sense and even her metabolism (she used to eat lots of sweets and fried food until she got bed-ridden at the age of 84). It may seem an exaggeration but for her education level and age that was actually awesome. While my mom is a quick learner of any new recipe, she also is smart at making up dishes or giving them a quick-fix. I admire her confidence in kitchen again considering the walls of liberty she lived in. My amma always encouraged both my sister and me to cook and handle stuff in kitchen independently from the beginning, which could be a reason why kitchen did not intimidate me at all post wedding. I remember an incident of my childhood vacation in our native village when she was preparing elladais, a rice cracker kind of snack; I was just 7 then and I bugged her that I wanted to drop the adai myself into the hot oil which was on the firewood stove (Viragu addupu is not very safe as you can't control the fire level like in hobs), she did not scare me or scream at me instead let me do it and taught me how to do it safer. Thank you ma, for befriending me with kitchen. Viju, my sister is my first conscious inspiration on cooking; she has a great love for cooking. I used to keep helping her at kitchen and lived only watching her cooking until she got married and when I had to cook during amma's and grandma's absence. I can't forget the crazy trials and time that I spent with Viju in the kitchen. They are unforgettable experiences... Kundan, my husband had mentioned before wedding that my mother in law is also known for tasty traditional sweets & savouries. So, summing up I am surrounded by kitchen jambavans and it is definitely a little nervous to venture out into kitchen because the expectations are set high.
Nevertheless, I have some rich experiences of food: childhood memories of eating north Indian varieties from Urmila aunt's (Our family friend); my time spent as a paying guest in Delhi with a Punjabi family introduced me to aunthentic punjabi cuisine and also I learnt from them the art of loving the food. Pondicherry, a cosmopolitan town in the real sense is where we siblings were brought up majorly and this in itself had exposed us to variety of culinary tasting right from childhood; be it rajasthani - it has a good marwari population or bengali or french and even the spiritual kitchen of ashram. My hostel dining hall in Bangalore had very good chefs who were dedicated and gave quite interesting menu. Not to mention that our appa is a good explorer; we ate marmalade, cheese, macroons, croissants, mushrooms, pickled gherkins and olives, flax seeds, different kinds of fruits and so so many such stuff which people around us had not even heard of at that time. This probably inculcated in me a slight experimenting attitude.
Pattamma's rasam, Pattathai's pongal- kesari, padma aunty's vadacurry, sindu anni's mango curry, poornima's pav bhaji, Geetha's kaara kuzhambu, Usha akka's idli podi, I really can't end the list...Last but not the least, I want to mention Meenakshi (My ex-colleague & friend) has been a strong stimulus for me in terms of healthy cooking. These keep me all the more excited about the kitchen enterprising. Wish me luck :)