The pleasure of cooking


Now that Chotu’s all grown up (in his words, not mine), cooking’s starting to get a bit more interesting. Gone are the days when he was happy with plain dal, rice, and cold curd right out of the fridge. He’s interested in more complex flavours now. He likes gravies and fries (poriyals!). Spices and flavours. Bhindi not Alu. He loves to try and eat by himself and he loves to watch what I’m cooking. I’ve been looking forward to this time since he was born.

I love good, simple, home cooked food. I love planning meals, being organized, getting into the zone and cooking for people I love. I love reading about nutrition and cooking balanced meals and making sure everyone gets their greens and their purples. I love hunting down fresh vegetables, feeling rice between my fingers, kneading dough to make parathas, and making crisp, golden dosas with just the right amount of oil.

I love the pleasure of watching my little child eat what I’ve cooked for him. I love it when he sits on my hip to watch me pour oil in the pan and put the vegetables in. I love serving him hot, hot food on a plate and watching his little eyes light up with pleasure at a dosa or a bowl of crispy bhindi.

I love packing myself lunch. Lunch is the highlight of my workday. I look forward to eating dal and rice or pulao with raita. I love unpacking my lunch with my lone lunchmate and digging into her box and have her taste my dish of the day. I love swapping recipes with her and saying, “Ah! Cooking! It takes just half an hour to make dal/sambar and subzi.” I’ll admit it, I’m a bit self righteous about my ability to cook well and cook quickly.

As an Indian mom, food is one way I express my love for my son. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Given I’m away from him for most of the day, it leaves me feeling satisfied when I cook him one very good meal each morning. As a modern mom, I look forward to teaching him how to cook. He already knows we do not cover the capsicum and the spinach when they’re cooking. He knows we put more oil in the subzi and very little in the dal. He also knows bhindi’s old if you hear a sound when you’re cutting it. Oh my little one’s growing up to be a foodie.

Food is so important, isn’t it? It’s not just about putting something in the stomach or about nutrition. Food is such an emotional thing. It makes us happy and sad, angry and calm. It soothes us, reassures us, reminds us of home (my theory why so many immigrants don’t let go of their local cuisine). It takes us to new places, opens us up to new ideas. Food fuels us – body, mind and soul. All it asks in return is that you think about it a little. Spend a little time. Put in a little effort. Make it a shared experience. Make it mindful. Make it personal. Make it yours. Don’t be afraid of it! Never be afraid.


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5 Replies to “The pleasure of cooking”

  1. Same pinch! 🙂 i love cooking simple, healthy, wholesome meals for the loved ones. I browse through blogs, check out the aisles at grocery stores, pick a different, a little exotic fruit or vegetable once in a while and spend insane amount of time reading the nutrition labels and ingredient lists before buying anything. I know I drive my husband a bit crazy there but then that’s my OCD. I am bad in the roti/paratha department – thankfully he makes soft, fluffy and almost perfectly round rotis.
    my little one loves to see and smell and feel everything that goes in the pan. Then sagely tells me that salt has no smell and hing smells very different. 🙂

    1. Yes to the nutrition labels too. It used to be an obsession with me in the US and it still is. Same pinch also to the occasional exotic ingredients. I’m not the zucchini in India kind of person but once in a while, they do call. My advice to anyone would be to love the spouse who makes soft and round rotis. In our home that’s me so my advice might be just a little biased.

      lol @ the salt and hing. Kids are the cutest! 🙂

  2. I guess I missed reading some post here of there, I did not know you are working.. are you?

    On Cooking, I agree, this is one way to show our love to our kids, this goes exactly the same with me, on weekends when I’m home, I make it a point that all daals and subzis are cooked by me, along with the breakfast, which on weekdays are cooked by the cook we have. And my daughter, on eating whatever I’ve cooked, says ‘I love your cooking mamma, you cook so well’ 🙂 That for me is my appraisal 🙂 my gold star on my homework, my trophy 🙂 🙂

    My daughter has not shown much interest in knowing/learning about cooking yet but she plays in her pseudo kitchen set. Let’s see if and when she takes interest in cooking, but hey both of us together watch cookery shows on Food Food channel and love all the dishes and their presentations, on which she tells me ‘let’s make this at home mamma’ 🙂

    1. Yes, I’m working again after my 3 month vacation. You know how it is with toddlers, whatever someone around them does, they have to do too. So my kid wants to cook, clean, drive steam engines, and go to office to repair keyboards 😀

      Bonding over food seems to be one of the best ways to spend time with a kid, though. This week, when my MIL came to visit my Chotu said, “What did you bring to eat?” How quickly they grow up!

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