Tuesday, February 23, 2010

“Food is the best way to a man’s heart” goes the famous saying, but I understood that it is true even for women only yesterday. I was invited for dinner with a couple of my friends. The host’s mother had come from Kerala so she thought it would be nice if we all had dinner together.

The cooking was neat and simple by her mother, but the happiness that it brought each time I took a bite is boundless. They had kept Garlic Bread and Salad as starter. After tasting the more kootan and avial I regretted why I gave space for the worthless Garlic Bread and ghaspoos in my stomach. Cherishing the good food all the way till now I got into thinking what would one call good food? I was always fascinated by different cuisines and whenever I went to a new city or country I wanted to try the local food. But this never gave me the happiness that I realised yesterday. A number of my friends are great cooks and they make tasty dishes but eating their food never brought me even closer to the ecstatic feeling that I felt yesterday. Then I realised it is all not about who cooks but how they cook.

When I say how they cook it does not mean, if he/she is putting the right masalas or boiling the things for the right time, but it is more about what they want to give to the diner, (that means me). A lot of us when we cook, take care that we make a perfect food and concentrate more on putting the right quantity of ingredients more for getting praises for the taste and richness of the food, than for the humble cause of satisfying others hunger. But when our grandmothers and mothers cook, they are not looking for our good words of praise but to see the smile that comes when the hunger is fed.

Without realising that the food our mother serves each and every day is what is making our day, we complain that her cooking is monotonous and go out for eating. When we get tired of eating outside and come back to our mother’s food we fail to acknowledge her efforts properly. Even though my mother’s cooking is a bit bland ;) (My complaining nature has yet surfaced again), I never realised what made me come back to eat her kootu and kali time and again. I salute all the mothers and people out there who have been following the policy of only give and expected nothing in return. Also my thanks to the aunty who cooked for us yesterday, but for her I would not have realised what is the meaning of good food.

Ananthi Sankaran

PS: Thanks to Avin for patiently correcting my blog :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Appa, what is an oxymoron? I asked when I was six. A quick answer from appa made me feel proud, yehh my appa knows everything.

Appa appa do you know how to play kabbadi?? I asked curiously when I was ten, waiting to teach him how I played kabbadi that day, but a detailed explanation about the game only made me cut short my days' events in just two lines.

Tell me Appa where do we use Bakelite?? I asked thinking myself an expert in science as soon as I joined my bachelor's in Science. He casually answered, in pressure cooker handles. A small sense of disappointment sank in me, how does he know everything?

Appa do you know that formation of the stars there is called the Great Bear, I said pointing towards the sky showing a set of stars in the form of Ariel detergent powder spoon. He replied, yes and that is also called the Great Dipper. In the coming days my early morning walks turned out to be detailed astronomy classes. He showed me Orion, pole star, Venus, Jupiter, and Cassiopeia. Hmmm I thought is there anything that I know and Appa doesn’t know?

One day when myself and Appa were waiting for one of his friend, I saw Lakshmi passing by and my college memories rushed in my mind, with a Jubilant mind I said, Appa appa do you know what is her name??? Before giving him an opportunity to reply I said 'Lakshmi'. My appa looked at the passing by elephant and asked how do you know?? Did you read her name tag???
I snapped, "Can you see any name tag around her??? But I know and I’ll not tell you how". A small smile cracked in my lips. Ahh finally there is something that I know and appa dosen't :)

Ananthi Sankaran

Friday, May 22, 2009

The most fascinating fact I ever came across. In Europe Indian food is synonymous to its spices. But an article in the newspaper THE HINDU says that

“There was no onion, garlic, tomato, green and red chilli before 10th century A.D.

Dry ginger and pepper were only used instead of chillies. Onion came to India from Mexico and chillies, both green and red came to us from Northern part of Chile after 10th Century A.D.

Portuguese brought garlic and cloves to India”

The link is given here.

I would really like to know the origin of the other spices, I’ll do a search this weekend.

Have a happy weekend

Ananthi Sankaran