No, no, no… I am no chef, just an ordinary girl who likes experimenting in the kitchen. But before I started experimenting, I had my experiences in the kitchen – seeing mom make the cake or the naankhatais in the oven, helping her with the preparation of the batter or how I would stand awed as my daadi made rotis in the tandoor… but I never tried making anything in the kitchen for a very long time.
In fact, my first experiments in the kitchen started much later and my first experiments were a thanks to school assignment in 8th standard – we had to write about two things we tried during the summer break, one where we succeeded and one where we failed. My mom asked me to write about making tea as my success story and kneading dough as my failure story – of course, before writing I had to actually try doing those things too.
Interestingly, kneading dough, which is actually a difficult task was my successful task as for making tea, well mom took a cup, pointed to the two-third line and said – this much water and then pointed one third line (at the top of the cup) and said, this much milk – no prizes for guessing how much water and how much milk I had put in that cup of tea.
But then, after that, I never went into the kitchen again till I got married and moved to Pune with my husband. Initially it was all about basic cooking, which I was, surprisingly good at. But then, as a photography enthusiast I stumbled upon the niche of food photography. Now that was something fun and interesting and thus began my experiments with cooking.
Because of the busy lives and long working hours, we couldn’t go out to dine very often – which meant I had to cook and present food beautifully and then click it. And thus, began my experiments – I would learn new dishes from mom and mom-in-law, scour net for recipes and then sometimes add my special touch to the recipes. Even the basic daal-sabzi would be well presented just so I could click a picture of the dish.
Another contributor were the parties we had at our place – at the end of each semester, my classmates would turn up at my place for a semester end party, which meant cooking for 10 people and then some hostel-ites would just drop by for some ghar ka khana.
Slowly but steadily, the cooking improved and so did the photography – and had it not been for the photography, maybe I would never have started experimenting with newer dishes and ventured into unknown avenues. But then again, it was probably inherent too – for even though my mom also cooked only what she knew and hardly experimented, the food has always been delish.
And that is how my experiments in the kitchen and this journey with food began because after all, good food feeds the soul.