A friend of mine has just started cooking. So now whenever we meet, online or otherwise, we discuss culinary techniques and exchange recipes.
Last week, not wanting to break the routine, I asked her, "Aur, kal kya banaya tha ?"
And she said, "Dinner yesterday was made my Momma the Great !!!" Apparently her mom was visiting with her, and had reclaimed her fiefdom, the kitchen !!!
She added to my misery by describing her day thus : On a bean bag, near the window, Freakonomics in hand, goodies to munch from time to time...
And all this just got me thinking...about the kind of effort that must have gone into deserving that one epithet.
My Mom's the best cook in the world...!!!
How many times have we said it ourselves...???
Orkut is replete with "home made food, mom made food, whatever mom cooks" under the favourite cuisines section.
I remember, when I was kid and it would be my Birthday in a few days...and how Mom suddenly could think of nothing else but how to cater to the satisfaction of 20 odd hyper-active hungry kids. It would take me just a second to rattle off my favourite dishes, which just HAD to be on the menu. And then it would be her problem from that point on.
I distinctly recall ( with guilt ) the nervous energy around her in the build-up to the B-Day : the planning, the shopping, the baking, the soaking, the chopping, the boiling...She would look physically drained at the end of the day, when all the kids had gone, and the place was a mess, and I would be tearing open the presents !!!
Obviously, she had to make my day the most memorable one for me, and hence the extra mile, but her reward would come when a neighbourhood aunty asked for a recipe of a certain something, since her son had come back and said, "Aunty ne woh kitna badhiya banaya tha, aap bhi vaisa hi banaana". THAT would make her day.
I have a younger sis and a kid bro. When it comes to food, all 3 of us are extremely picky. And thats the only thing thats common between us. To elaborate, I like my daal less mashed ( I mean, I should have to chew my lentils ), sis likes it regular, and junior likes it totally mashed.
Now picture this : mom actually goes through three stages of cooking the daal - take some out for me when its half done, take some more out for sis when its done and then go the whole way for the kiddo.
And where is her choice in this whole thing, by the way ??? No one knows yet...
Having been away from home for about 13 years, and cooking on a regular basis now, I suddenly realise what a full time job it is !!!
A difference in perception I notice is : while growing up, a compliment for home-made food used to be - Ekdum hotel jaisa khaana.
Today, a good restaurant would be one that serves - Ekdum ghar jaisa khaana !!!
And that, i believe, is vindication of a life time of efforts put in by Mom - God's Best Creation to Date...