Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why a food diary?

I've decided to start a food diary. No, this blog is definitely not to keep track what I eat or my caloric intake but to write about my trials and tribulations with cooking. I adore cooking, and eating even more, so why not write about it? For me, cooking is such fun and so relaxing. There is nothing more enjoyable or gratifying then pouring over recipes, deciding what to make with what you have in the house, and then running away with it all.

My love of cooking and eating comes from my mom who is a wonderful, creative, if not exacting cook. Growing up, I remember coming home to a tasty home cooked meal on most nights. Meals included everything from curry chicken and other Indian delicacies (both vegetarian and non) to stir frys to baked fish to simple baked chicken and mashed potatoes. She even introduced me to shark and swordfish which is so tasty! I appreciate how much thought and care she puts into her meals and all the new foods and flavors she introduced me to.

It was definitely a rare thing if she brought home McDonald's or Taco Bell or pizza (which I did look forward to because it was so rare). I never once had a TV dinner until I went over to a friend's in 6th grade. Walking through our front door, my nose would tingle with the wonderful smells of spices and fragrances, and my stomach would respond with a low growl in anticipation of our evening meal. All of this and she worked outside the home too! I dreaded when she left for lengthy trips because my dad cannot cook to save his life. That's a bit of an exaggeration but I was glad when our neighbors took us out to eat or brought us home cooked meals.

My mom grew up only with home cooked meals and was cooking since she was a teenager. Because her mom was tending to the farm, she was put in charge of cooking. So it should have been no surprise to me, that during my summers off in high school, that my mom put me to work. Over a few weekends during the summer, she showed me how to prepare and make basic Indian dishes. When the week came around, my mom would call me around 2 or 3 p.m. and tell me that I was responsible for dinner. I have to say that I was unresponsive and rebellious pupil. I probably flipped my hair and stormed out of the kitchen on more than a few occasions in frustration or some other teenage emotion. But hey, I learned a lot and it has made me the lover of food and cooking that I am today.

Any how, I left my job in January so I have a lot of time on my hands. One thing I missed when I was working was cooking wholesome simple (and complicated) tasty meals. When I worked I didn't have time to experiment and try new things. When you get home from work at 7 p.m., you don't have time or necessarily want to be in the kitchen for 1.5 hours before you eat! You grab the first thing available which in my case was pasta or a can of beans to make tacos or tostadas. So I've been taking advantage of my time off to make tasty, healthy (and sometimes unhealthy), flavorful food. I've made both difficult high maintenance dishes (risotto) to more simple dishes (baked penne). I've made a point of trying at least one new recipe per week and twisting existing recipes to make them new. All of this I've enjoyed. I hope that I am able to keep up this level of cooking when I go back to work or at the very least learn how to make recipes manageable so that they can be prepared after a day of work.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nirmala,
It's a wonderful blog! Keep posting and I am learning from you.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things about the blog is that your first entry pays a nice tribute to your mom. It was really great to read this appreciative description of her
and some of the things you admire about her.