I‘m not a foodie. I’m not a chopping board fashionista. I don’t know my anise from my cumin. I’ll probably be an epic fail if tested on my knowledge of fishes leave alone frying one in the oily wok that’s almost like an heirloom now. But ever since my childhood, food and adventures of the gastronomic kind have been pleasant constants in my daily roster. I remember when I was seven, lunch used to be an affair to look forward to after the grind called middle school. The great dining table in my grandmother’s house would be laid out with platters typical to a Bengali household – steaming rice, mashed potatoes, generous amounts of Jharna Ghee, the mandatory teto or bitter gourd fry, aloo-posto, fried fish, boiled masoor daal and fish curry. However, more than the platters themselves, it was the collective experience – the sight, smell, taste and feel – of luncheon that I still cherish. The meals were served under the watchful eyes of my great grandmother or thakuma as she was called. (Thakuma was my maternal grandfather’s mother. Till date I’ve never been able to debunk the mystery behind the way she could slice acutely symmetrical lady’s finger, equal in length, width and depth in the way each slice occupied three-dimensional space-time.) So while I would diligently make a messy dough of the rice and mashed potatoes, thakuma would reprimand me on leaving my wavy waist-long hair open during meal time. She would gathered my hair from the nape of my neck into a neat plait while grandmother served daal in my favourite brass bowl. The combined effect of sipping steaming lentil stock and eighty-year-old thakuma’s sinewy fingers through my hair elevated the status of these lunches to priority in my meagre seven years’ existence. I would leave my hair open on purpose. Thakuma would never get tired of whipping up a ladylike plait from my haystack mop of waves. She was just the perfectionist she was while slicing lady’s finger!
Why an ignorant and reluctant inquisitor of food like me would want to write on food is a good question. Let’s begin by attributing this blog with a purpose. What makes the taste of something we eat linger on our palate is not just its taste but the memories it evokes, the feelings it arouses – leading to a wholesome experience. Food is intrinsically related to our mood. What we eat is directly proportional to how we feel. The converse, on the other hand, is also true. And it’s this equation of food and mood that stirs me up and pushes me to get to the bottom of the food psyche.
Hence, Eat, Pray… Food!