M for Mom's Kitchen

There is no doubt that the most satiating and satisfying food is dished out of mum's kitchen. It is the magic of those nimble fingers that churn out such delicious food. 

We all swear by our "maa ke haath ka khana". But what makes it so special? No matter how old we are, all of us relish and look forward to माँ के हाथ का खाना even if it’s just the simple old dal-chawal. 

Let me recall my cooking lessons which I was learning from my own mum just before going out to study. As I was to go to the hostel and we were allowed to keep a heater to make tea. Mom thought that cooking is a skill worth learning before going out from the safe heaven which we call home. It will come in handy when you do not like hostel ka khana or to make maggie. I was enjoying the whole process of cooking and the transformation of ingredients into tasteful food. But my little sister (the brat) was the spoilt sport. She would taste, and then scrunch her nose to say these words every time - “doesn’t taste like mummy’s.” How is it possible? I used everything the same as mom's - her recipe, her spices, her way, and even the same kadhai (a deep wok used for frying). I was very upset and thought that I need to be more observant of the way mom is cooking, I spoke to myself. I decided to follow each and everything that mummy did while cooking. But, still no success.

It was after a few more failed attempts and that tiny "scrunched-nose-feedback" that I finally got the secret out. It was mummy's love for the family and a single-minded focus while cooking. Ah, LOVE and FOCUS, that’s it!

Cooking for her was a way to show her love and care for her loved ones. I have never seen her annoyed or angry while she is cooking. Many times, I have observed her singing some bhajan or Sanskrit shlokas while cooking. Now as I look back, I feel as if she was invoking God to bless the family food.

So when I analyzed my mental state while cooking, I found that I did not do anything like her. I had all sorts of distractions and was treating cooking as a chore. For her, it was nothing but love. Actually, the person who cooks the food transfers all energy into the food. Along with the positive or negative energies, the feelings like happiness or unhappiness, upset or angry, peace or love also affect the taste of the food, spices, and technique notwithstanding. A mother loves her children unconditionally which reflects in food that is why there is nothing as tasty as a mother's food.

Lesson learned. Let love be the base of your cooking. Now add a generous dose of focus, some smiles, a dash of enjoyment, and follow the recipe. You can’t do away with the recipe!

It has been 30 years since I had a meal cooked by my mom. My favourite ma ke haath ki dishes are - kachori, rasedaar alu tamatar and boondi raita, dahi vada, and Phool gobhi-alu-matar. Her tamarind sauce which we used to call saunth is to die for. The milk-rabri, home made ice creams, gajar halwa , OMG there are so many desserts which she cooked to perfection. As I am thinking about all these foods, so many memories are crisis crossing my mind. May her soul be in peace.

Let me know, what is your favourite'maa ke haath ka khana"?

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  1. As they say, when a mom cooks for us, one of the ingredients that goes in is love! That's what makes it all the more special.
    M = Meghalaya


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