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Food! Glorious Food!
Mar 12, 2004 02:44 PM 5332 Views
(Updated Mar 12, 2004 02:44 PM)

Strictly speaking, there is no tips here on cooking, but I would just like to share with you my passion for this delightful art

I have a love affair with food. Everything from its preparation to its consumption fascinates me - indeed, I fall in the live to eat category. I insist on tantalizing my taste buds with every possible flavor I can find, there is probably no known food I would not try ? well, at least once. My mother says that I was a perfect child, as I would eat without hesitation all the food that was placed before me, unlike my sister who would yell and scream and then redecorate the wallpaper with globs of her unconsumed dinner.

When I visit my fathers ancestral home in India, I?m perpetually amazed at how their world revolves around the cooking pot. When we are not eating, (which is a rare occurrence), there is talk of what the next meal will be, how the previous meal could modified, the best vendors for different ingredients and reminiscence of sumptuous meals created by some random relative.

However, my grandmother is widely considered as the chef extraordinaire of our family. She is simply not happy unless she is cooking. When she visited us in Australia, I took her to the local supermarket and watched her eyes simply sparkle with excitement as she saw the masses of top quality ingredients with which she could concoct various gastric delights. I sampled each with enthusiasm, but must admit I was slightly relieved when she returned to India and I could fit into my jeans again. :-)

My mother was a finicky eater. She was the youngest daughter of a wealthy family and consequently, spoilt rotten. In fact, she was known to send roti back if its whiteness was even slightly besmirched with a black mark. She married without knowing how to cook, and claims that she really only learnt how to eat less then perfect food when she had to eat the products of her own culinary creations, which included cinder roti, saltless dahl and semi raw potato curry. However she is a wonderful cook now, and I look forward with great delight the foods she now indulges us with.

I think it is my mother who inspired me to cook. When I was young, I would sit on the kitchen floor, under the pretext of counting potatoes, and watch my mother fashion meals. I always thought that my mother the most beautiful woman in the world, and as I watched her chop vegetables with a steady rhythm, select the freshest herbs and grind a mixture of colorful spices, she always appeared to be some sort of exotic witch who seemed to know with intrinsic knowledge exactly what flavor was required to make a dish unforgettable. She and I would make cakes together.

I would swirl my spoon through the mixture while she added the vital ingredients. We would take turns going to oven to ensure the cake was rising properly and then spend hours finding different ways to decorate it. I was also her official ?taste tester? when it came to sampling foods. She would give me a spoon to lick and I would give her feedback - to which she listened intently.

The cook at my mother?s house in India is very fond of me. She always pinches my cheeks and asks me what I want for dinner. Her love for me is a mystery as she treats my cousins with contempt and they have to beg her to cook her special sandesh, doi maach and chicken vindaloo. However she will spend hours in the kitchen preparing luxurious dishes for me if I slightly hint that a particular dish has struck my fancy.

When I was a child she would prepare me star shaped roti, mould my rice with the special fish shaped bowl and chastise my mother if she tried to make me eat anything I wasn?t fond of. She complains bitterly if anyone of the dishes she has created isn?t completely finished by the end of the meal (sometimes even threatening to resign), and questions the integrity of our stomachs if we have anything less then two helpings of everything. As you can imagine, we all are very fond of her.

The Mistress of Spices ? isn?t that a delightful title? That?s how I feel when I?m in the kitchen. I am responsible for the success of the meal, and all the food responds to my encouragement. I love presenting dishes as though I?m some type of wizard, intent on making you forget your woes and focusing you attention to your taste buds. I also love cooking with people. It is a great bonding session, as we work together towards a common purpose ? to create a culinary delight. Don?t get me wrong, I love eating the fancy, fine foods of the world, but I am equally happy to eat something that is simple, healthy and well cooked, just ordinary comfort food.

The most wonderful thing about food is its ability to bring people together. Some of the most fantastic, stimulating conversations I?ve had the pleasure of partaking in has occurred at the dinner table. It is as though food weaves this web of comfort, security and good will around us, and as we eat, we relax and simply take pleasure in each other?s company. In this day and age, everything is dependant on speed and efficiency.

I think spiraling depression rates is largely due to the fact that as humans, we simply don?t talk any more. I think everyone should set aside at least one meal of the day in which they relax and chat to friends and loved ones ? simply to ease burdens from the mind, have a good laugh, take pleasure from some human company, while indulging in some good food. Food is a fundamental requirement for our existence and I have every intention to enjoy it wholeheartedly.

Food! Glorious food! How I love it. A quick word of advice to all you gents out there. As women, we know the quickest way to a man?s heart is through his stomach, however the opposite is also true ? we love being cooked for. My father has learnt how to be an excellent cook and I?m sure my mum loves him all the more for it. Cooking is a simple way to show a person that you want to care for them and look after them, and lets face it, we all want to know that we are being loved.

So cancel any work/stress related plans you may have for this evening, hunt out some old cook books and remind those people you love exactly how much you love them.

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