Someone very rightly said, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. However, I feel that it not just holds true for men but rather for everybody. Cooking is an incredibly special art! Because unlike most art forms this impacts maximum senses of human body viz. taste, smell, sight and feel. But I feel cooking was not given that special status in our society till about very recently. I believe that I inherited the talent of cooking from my mother. I usually loved whatever she cooked, and didn’t much like the same dishes cooked by others… but I thought it’s probably, because she is my mother and like every child I too love my mother’s cooking. But there was one more thing ! Everyone always praised my mother for her cooking skills. Everyone loved the food she cooked and she too loved treating people with all her heart! I helped my mother in cooking, especially when there were guests and on special occasions . Very specifically she didn’t teach me much, but I learnt a lot from her unknowingly. May be passively, through observation, which means I wasn’t aware that I’m learning… Although I believe that I inherited my talent from her, and she was my first teacher, ironically my style of cooking absolutely different from hers. Do you know why? I think because I’m like my Dad! A free spirited person. Not bound in any framework! Except for baking, I hardly follow rules in cooking, rather I love breaking the rules! I love experimenting with recipes! Just opposite of my Aai, who very strictly follows recipes, not just recipes, but she has religiously followed all rules and guidelines in life. She believes in each and every one of them and I have always questioned each one of them.
I never realized that I love cooking until I was married. My in-laws and my new family loved the food I cooked. My parents in law supported and praised my food very endearingly. The accolades I received from my new family was so encouraging that I developed a liking towards cooking. I realized that, I know cooking and moreover dishes I made (even simple and basic ones) were liked by many. I realized that the taste and flavor which came to my food effortlessly was from the knowledge I got from my Aai (unknowingly) and from the genes I inherited from her. After knowing this, I started taking my skills seriously. I enjoyed cooking thoroughly, I learnt cooking rules enough to break them! My mother in law is a great support for that! She always encouraged me to try out something new, in fact not just encouraged me but we tried new recipes in kitchen together!
In this phase, coincidentally I happened to freelance many cookery shows, where I learnt a lot from many world famous chefs. I learnt the technicalities and the nuisances of cooking. From simple basic principles to understanding ingredients, and experimenting with them. While doing so, I don’t remember when the simple need of cooking two meals a day changed into a deep passion. The World of Culinary is so wide that the learning will never come to end, and I want to be a lifetime student of this Art! And you?