What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why? Photographers, artists, poets: show us KITCHEN… that has been the WordPress Daily Prompt and I am waking up to it.
If there is one ingredient that I can’t possibly cook without, then that is some story. A story with some magic attached to it along with my childhood memories and nostalgia, the aroma of cooking from the kitchen, each dish arriving on the dining table, cooked with much love by some loving hand – either my Ma‘s, or my Thakuma’s (paternal grandma) or my Dida‘s (maternal grandma) or some Mashi (aunt) and much later, my Mum-in-law’s. Today, that secret ingredient is sourced from antique cookbooks or handwritten recipes, that have been duly passed onto me. Each recipe unfolds from some story or the other. And each story surrounds around some delicate and delicious food moment that I have experienced in my childhood. I intend to pass on the same magical ingredient to my girls – the Z-Sisters. Along with my collectibles and memorabilia from the kitchens of my childhood – some old pots and pans – some torn pages of recipes – a few tattered cookbooks – many rusty silver spoons – and innumerable stories surrounding them all. Capturing the secret intangible ingredient through old photographs, old pots and pans…
Before signing off, one advice that has been re-iterated by all these special mentors of mine – it is resonated in the Bengali phrase ‘je radhe, shey chulo badhe’. Translated, this would probably mean ‘she who cooks, also takes care to do her hair’… So cook and serve, but serve beautifully. And most importantly, look beautiful. As a reminder, the little mirror (below) has been passed on to my girls from my beautiful Mum-in-law!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.
Below are the posts from my blog that have already captured a bit of the secret ingredient…
Narkel Naru or Coconut Jaggery Truffles … my Thakuma’s recipe
Hot Garlic Pickle | The Pickled Diary – Episode 1 … my Mother-in-law’s recipe
Pickles | Mother (-in-law) Of All Pickles! … my Mother-in-law’s recipes
Notun Gurer Payesh/Traditional Bengali Rice Pudding … my Dida’s recipe
Khichuri As Harbinger of Hope & Kolkata Soaked In Rains … my Ma’s recipe
Traditional Bengali Cuisine | All The ‘Slight’ Details … my essay on Bengali Cuisine
Purple Haze Yoghurt with Purple M&Ms … my kids’ recipe
Cuppa-Corn Sweet Yellow Moments… my kids’ story