Salt and Dad

The spring of 1992. My mother was heavily pregnant with my sister. She had to appear for her exams in order to complete her masters degree in history. This meant she had to leave the town, thus leaving us alone for a while.

So, left in that beautiful spring were my dad and me, to take care of each other. He  cooked regularly to  make sure I did not go hungry even when he was away at work. That is when my tryst with taste started. My dad, with a clean towel over his shoulder and a happy smile on  his face, would conjure the magic with spices and I would drag a chair to hop on, to be able to peek into the pressure cooker.

If you look at me and my father, we look like the products from the same manufacturing unit, just a few decades and a gender apart. The only other common feature among the two of us is our passion for cooking and absolutely nothing else, not even our education in engineering( he chose to be an engineer and I was convinced to become one). Here I would also like to mention that it is cooking that intrigues me and not food. The process and not the end product surprises me.

It’s Therapeutic. It heals, rejuvenates and above all makes me ( I guess all of us ) nostalgic. A trip to the local markets, looking for the best meat, fish and veggies, clinging to my father’s fingers. Cumin Seeds spluttering in hot oil. Applying my engineering drawing precision into chopping onion . Memories make up the skeleton of whatever I know about cooking.

Recipes travel across generations and our memories gracefully lend their shoulders silently for them to travel. We repeat the recipes which have conquered our taste buds and thus  registered their irreplaceable position in our memory book. When we eat out and repeat our order we compare it to our previous visit, even without realizing that we just compared.

Nine years of living away from parents taught me how to cook, through hostel food and thus survive any kind of intestinal encounters. I am not a culinary genius. I do not have a formal training in Culinary art. I am an engineer and all my life have observed two algorithms of cooking at home:

Mom’s:    Everything for health

Dad’s:       Anything for taste

And after scheduling I found a middle path:

Healthy Conscience, Tasty Eating

This way when I want to add that extra blob of butter, just to add that extra sheen to the butter chicken, my hands spoon out only half a blob.

My father, however has always dominated. He has been a constant inspiration and the best companion in my culinary journey and one of his first lessons was: Instead of a spoon use your palm to measure the amount of salt that goes into a dish and use your fingers to sprinkle it. I do not know whether this is right but trust me, it has never gone wrong….He taught me how the aroma tells you that the salt in the dish is just perfect….


27 thoughts on “Salt and Dad

  1. hey! so u finally did it?
    i m totally taken over by your love for cooking… nd d line where you applied the precision of your ED for chopping onions, i could so much relate to it…
    Keep the good work up!! wish u luck.. 🙂

  2. damn.. now i wana go home.. 😦 .. bt gr8 script.. njoyed the snippet of ur life.. well articulated n dere was an interest drawing factor… any one can relate to the story.. keep it up..

  3. waah!! love the salt in it…
    an interesting read,. quite unlike, quite better than what we thought of it first…
    way to go..

  4. So beautifully vivid. You take me back to a time I so fondly cherish!
    Looking forward to more such blogs. 🙂

  5. Great girl!!!! Gud start … Enjoyed reading it, the same way i enjoy each dish you try at home 🙂

  6. Well I’m speechless right now.You right so well,so magnificently.Each word,each phrase, AMAZING! 🙂

    About what you wrote,though I’m not much into cooking and Kitchen is the last place I go to, I’m inspired by your words and your passion for cooking. 😀 (I’m thinking of giving it a try now,cooking I’m talking about. 😛 )

    Teach me some tips Di. 🙂 I would love to become a writer like you. 😀

  7. i never knew you write so well!! respect ma’a”m. 🙂 secondly mummy mere time pe masters ki..i like it!!….and after your blog…ek aur conclusion….you and and mom graduates ( both by choice.. 🙂 huhu!

  8. Beautiful..!! Fresh and creative, especially the depiction of the ‘engineer-cook’ amalgam in you.
    But then, if the process of cooking is a passion and not the end result or for that matter, anything else, why not pursue your passion then instead of writing about it? It confused me!
    Waiting for a reply, Tanu. 🙂

  9. Beautiful piece…. i totally relate myself to these lines of yours “cooking that intrigues me and not food. The process and not the end product surprises me.” n yes quite pertinent regarding the application of engineering drawing precision into chopping onion…… learnt this skill from one of my Engineer friends.

  10. Is it culinary or writing skill that I need to appreciate? 🙂 lovely reading buddy. somehow I can relate to your text so closely! especially d last line! eager to read some more..

  11. Loved reading it! I could actually feel your passion towards cooking and good food as i read through the post!! awesomeness!!

  12. It amazes me how much you love the journey…the food…the aromas…im jealous too…but then i do realise the love you have for it and that is what makes me happy. Good luck chef 🙂

  13. Hey…. was lost in imagining the article while reading it. It is so presentable and your thought flow was soothing. Really loved it a lot and hope to see many more from you in the future. Nice journey…keep it up. Love you a lot dearie.

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