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Memories & Special Bonds

The Reluctant Cook

Some very fond memories from my childhood are related to food. Good memories. Laugh-out-loud memories. So many of my heart-warming memories smell of food. I and my brother (who is a couple of years older to me) would sneak into the kitchen as soon as our mom would go out of the home.

The Reluctant Cook

Every failed kitchen experiment of those days is a funny story today. The childhood memories are also full of afternoons filled with mouth-watering smells of various Indian snacks and sweets, like namakpaare, gujiya, gulabjamun to name a few, that mom would make.

I learnt cooking quite early (actually I was introduced to cooking early by my grandmother). I started rolling my first rotis when I was in Class 7. I could make all the basic food before even finishing school. Well, I am a decent cook but it is not my joie de vivre.

As a working couple, we never really got into making various Indian delicacies during festivals. I would rue about it but still give in to the convenience of buying them off the counter. We would reason, why spend so much energy on doing something which was done so well by the professionals, and where was the time! But something would always unsettle me at the back of my mind. Having grown up in a typical Indian middle class family where festivals would be marked with different aromas of food which would be made by the women of the family from early morning, Holis and Diwalis would never feel the same without that hustle and bustle.

From the time ‘the star’ entered our lives, I outsourced the daily cooking to a bai (help). I prefer spending all my time and energy on the little one rather than dish out chapatis and vegetables day and night. I told you, cooking is not my calling. I am a cleanliness freak and fret about keeping things in order and clean.

But of late, ‘the star’, who has recently completed 18 months, is giving me a tough time, rejecting everything that he used to happily eat. Earlier, he would eat all kinds of parathas and vegetable khichdi. But recently he decided he did not like the taste of flour, so he would not eat even a single morsel of any kind of paratha or anything made of wheat flour or aata; many times not even rice. I am very particular about giving him a balanced diet. So I make sure he has enough carbohydrates, proteins, fats, milk, fruits and vegetables. Therefore, after many frustrating attempts at making him eat rice or roti, I started hunting for other food options for him. And that day this reluctant cook was born.

In last 2-3 weeks I have made cheesy risotto, besan (gram flour) pancakes,vegetable momos, carrot cake, vanilla cake, spinach corn soup, sweet flour pancakes, to name a few. And surprisingly, I am enjoying this phase. I am loving this whole process of googling a recipe and preparing it in a jiffy, anticipating ‘the star’s’ reaction and hoping that he loves it, and when he does, it makes my day! It motivates me to try out some more new recipes.

I am sure such things happen with other moms and dads too. Our little ones pull us out of our self-enforced reluctance, and help us discover new facets of ourselves.

Reema Sahay is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days running around her very curious toddler, ‘the star’, and catching up on books when he naps. She writes about charms and challenges of life at Pen Paper and shares her passion for books at Recommend Books. She sometimes feels that her 5.5 years stint in Marketing Communication was in another life.