Monday, March 9, 2015

From the rasoi - Memories woven around food!

I love food, plain and simple! Now, that qualifies me to pen down a post on food – don’t you think? 

This post is mostly about the wonderful memories woven around food and the many conversations that are spring boarded off the food on our rasoi table. It is also about  family, culture and traditions all preserved via food! Someday, I hope to look back at these pictures and tell stories of  festivities and celebrations, of holidays and Sunday mornings, of family gatherings and date nights and of new accomplishments added to my repertoire! In the meanwhile, I hope to indulge the inner foodie in you!

In this post, I present a series of images that are essentially snapshots from my life over the past couple of years captured via simple home made food!

My grandmother is an excellent cook! She has that magic touch and eating her food is an out-of-this world experience that will leave you licking your fingers long after the food is gone! I don’t know what it is that makes her cooking so exceptional – perhaps her astute sense for proportions! For me, she is the exemplar cook. 

My own tryst with cooking began as (failed) experiments on my newly married husband!  Dismayed by my lack of intuition and perplexed by the intricacies of cooking, I felt defeated. Even simple recipes challenged  me, cookbooks and internet recipes were of no help (‘coz I simply did not have what it took to put everything together) and cooking soon became a chore I dreaded.

 I think the turning point for me (and thank God for that!) came after the birth of my son when my mom stayed with us for a few months to help out. 

What I lacked in intellect and instinct I made up for via interest. I started paying attention and asking a lot of questions. I also learnt that cooking requires patience (tons of it) to create that harmonious and balanced blend of flavors. Slowly but surely, I blossomed, not into a gourmet cook but into an everyday cook. One that can now confidently whip up a decent meal for her family and enjoy the process too! I think I have redeemed myself and am at ease in the kitchen now!

These days I cook. Gleefully! Sometimes, a comfort food that I am craving for or a lunch box treat that my mom used to pack lovingly for my brother and me or a dish uniquely assigned to a festival (a family tradition), a new recipe or  a simple weekend request from the boys. I am cautiously venturing into new areas too! I learnt to bake and savored the joy of freshly baked  last year! 

This year, I want to cook my way through a North Karnataka (my husband’s cuisine) thali as a surprise for him (shshshsh- don’t tell him).

Inspite of the many imported preferences for other cuisines, as a family, we still find ourselves craving for the comfort of what is familiar food wise. Some days, all you want is rice and rasam  - nothing urbane, nothing fiddly! We maintain our cultural identity via food and I am sure that I thread strands of culture in to our life via our food customs.

O.K. I admit I cheated with this one - the sweet treats and the savory snacks were made by my mom :) but I will take credit for the decor!

 I secretly hope that these traditions will  become a fond part of my son’s childhood memories!

Over time I have come to appreciate and enjoy the art and science of cooking. It has taught me to live in the present and appreciate  the quotidian. 

As I savor the aroma and the flavors emanating from the simmering spices, I learn a little bit more about who I am and what I want to pass along. 

As I continue to explore the wonders of food and experiment with global cuisines too, I hope to bring my culinary snapshots to you all periodically. But first, tell me – how do you connect with food? Do you eat for sustenance or do you share a deeper and a more intimate connection with food? I would love to hear from you! We can perhaps have a tete-a-tete over a cup of adrak chai?

If you liked this post, then I recommend you go back and read Supriya's post on plated street food - the great Indian Chaat. You will love it (I love browsing through our archives and finding something fun to revisit) and make sure you scroll down all the way to the comments section of that post to read about her special connection to Gobi Manchurian! 
Supriya is up next. I hope you like the fact that we are constantly mixing things up. Decor, artist features, cuisine, culture, art, posts with a social message, home tours, travel - we are having a lot of fun with this, I hope you are too. Thank you for reading Aalayam.


p.s: All the images in this post are from my home and taken by my husband. Please do not use without permission.


  1. What a wonderful post! I can so relate to this post as my experience and experimentation with food has been very similar to yours. I absolutely adore my nani's cooking too!
    The pictures are a visual treat as always and I think I hear my tummy rumble....I so want to dig into those perfectly puffed puris.....yum! And coming from Bangalore, I have a soft corner for idlis, sambar and chutney podi with lots of ghee ;)
    And I have to say, I absolutely love the mix of posts that Aalayam churns out....Great going Deepa!

    1. Thanks for taking the time comment Sruthi - comments mean much! I guess, it does take a while for all of us to find our cooking groove! I am glad that I can now say - "i enjoy cooking" :). yes! your palate and your roots are inextricably tied ...I am a fellow bangalorean and have a very bengaluru influenced palate!
      yes - we have come to love the fact that we do such a variety - we would hate to repeat ourselves :)
      thanks again!


  2. I have been looking at this post every 5 mins for the last hour. All this looks so yum. Great one Deepa.

    1. Parul- thank you :) I hope the inner foodie in you is inspired to weave your own magic in the kitchen!

      we love hearing from our readers - so thanks for the comments!


  3. Well written deepa. Anybody will feel like eating after going through this. Kp always says Dodda is the best cook

    1. Thanks meera aunty! I am blessed with great cooking genes :) and KP is absolutely right about her being the best!


  4. So inspiring to read this. I am now in the exact same boat you were a few years ago. So much so that I cannot remember or execute recipes of normal, everyday dishes that people should ideally have no trouble making. A simple dish that turned out well yesterday fails spectacularly the next day - there is absolutely no certainty that I will produce an edible dish at the end of my efforts. A function, potluck, guests coming over or a simple lunch with my extended family - these are my idea of horror.

    But I am trying. I am a Robert Bruce, if nothing else! And like you said, what I lack in flair or skill, I hope to make up through constant practice, determination and attitude. Wish me luck :)

    1. Who am I addressing here - g, v, s or a? :) First, a warm welcome to Aalayam. Second- thanks for that well articulated comment. I love this interaction with our readers and wish that more of you would take out some time to write!!
      Well 3 words my friend - do not despair! surely, we were not expected to be born with great culinary skills. You care and I can tell and I am sure with the practice, determination and attitude your reference- you will get there in no time ( i too was a robert bruce ;) ! And in the meanwhile, do not be too hard on yourself! Hugs.


  5. You have Some culinary skills Deepa, these dishes look yumm and are styled so superb! I can so identify with your cooking evolution timeline :D for me it was marriage which took me to the kitchen, I was so hands-off before that, cant imagine now haha. Great post!