Friday, 8 July 2011

My experiments with food

You are what you eat. So then, what do I eat? Naah, I'm not going to give you details of my gastronomical routine nor will I feed you spoonfuls of nutritional chow. I'll try and see that I leave you with some food for thought though.

Born to Bengali parents, I have been given to understand that we live to eat and not the other way round. During my growing up years I realized, the truth was not too far from it, in my case. I could easily distinguish what tickled my taste bud and what didn’t. And as you see, I have no doubt grown up to be a self-respecting woman of many words, lesser degrees and an impeccable taste for good food. It is then, but natural for me to rant and rave about food. No?

As a kid, I was fed on heavy doses of the boiled, humble tuber with generous dollops of butter or ghee(clarified butter), and the potato seemed to be a staple veggie in every Bong home. At one point, I had come to the conclusion that without potato there's no life for a Bengali. Aah, but you learn and unlearn as you grow..that's what life is. And so my various sojourns, travel-wise and book-wise have taught me that this tuber is essentially eaten and relished by many a Scandinavian countries as well as the Americans and English alike. What we call as "aloo sheddho", they eat it as mashed potatoes.

Having spent half of my worldly existence outside of home, I have been lucky to experiment from a broad spectrum of recipes ranging from Kashmiri pulao with pieces of pineapple peeping at me from between the rice granules, a version of the Tamil sambhar prepared by a colleague's mother in law and not Mrs Reddy; mind you, and then some khakhras shared by a Gujrati travelling companion to a complete Keralite meal, cooked in "cacanut" oil and served the traditional way in plantain leaves. And not to leave out my own Bengali "nalen gurer sandesh" when in Kolkata.

Food now, is a matter of taste for me. Anything that tastes good to my palate, is palatable to me. On one occasion I remember having carried "Ilish maach bhaja"(pieces of fried Hilsa) when travelling back to the city from a vacation. Anxiously having made my way through the security check, hoping the smell emanating from my backpack would not give me away. Luckily I was through.

Food for thought??

But we must realize that all good things come to an end. So, my happy days with food too came to an end when my father was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Dramatic changes in my food style led by my new belief that the taste of things lie in the mind and not in the tongue, followed. Now what could seem a karela(bittergourd) to you, could be a cucumber to me. :)


Giribee said...

Good start Sutapa.... You have a magic in your writing... Your flow of thoughts are of new kind and fresh... Keep it up... don't write for others write for your self...:)

Sutapa Dey said...

Thanks Giribee(thats a nice name you have :)) for the praise and also for the suggestion. It counts.

animesh said...

hi sutapa, its really gr8 tht u pursuing ur interest and hobby. n ur skill is also commendable. so keep up the work, i knw its not work but its ur sincerety and thought.

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