We speak to lots of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents about Indian food tradition and some stories are simply nostalgic. All stories are special for us. They are raw, unfiltered, peculiarly nostalgic, and explain the contrast between traditional lifestyle/eating patterns and modern-day lifestyle/eating patterns in the most basic yet beautiful way. If you are a parent and this story took you down the memory lane, share with your friends and family.
My Food Journey!
Hi, I am Deepa Chandra. I have spent more than 6 decades in this world and with my experience I can say Food is not only for survival but it influences our emotional ,social and cultural life to a great extent and good food also nourishes our soul.
A life starts with two drops of milk and ends with two drops of Gangajal. Life and food are two sides of the same coin.
As I go down the memory lane, I see myself as a child in a happy family. We are three sisters and a brother. I can still feel the heavenly taste of food cooked by my mother whom we fondly called Amma. I don’t know why even a simple sabji made by her tasted so nice. Those days mostly food was prepared at home, dining out was rare. I remember every meal was made afresh and our house help used to grind fresh masala and chutneys on sil batta, Angithi and kerosene stoves were common during those days, and gas stove came much later.
All the snacks & sweets were freshly prepared at home and milk and fruits used to be a part of our daily diet .My father was fond of good food, so in the evenings when he came from the office, hot snacks were served with tea. Halwa and pakodi were most common.
During festivals, lots of dishes were prepared. Especially in Holi, gujiya,gulab jamun,samosa and a variety of papads,chips were made in large quantities. Friends and relatives visited us and we visited them.
As papa was in administrative services, he was posted in various parts of U.P. and we had the opportunity to taste some regional foods from different parts of the state. Food from every region has a tinge of its own.
We are non-vegetarians so every Sunday was a special day when we could relish the yummy non veg preparations by Amma. Those days mutton was more common than chicken. We also enjoyed eating kebabs and keema. We had Muslim friends and I remember Amma learning some tasty cuisines from them.
During our vacations we used to visit our Nani’s home in Allahabad. We eagerly looked forward to the train journey and enjoyed every moment of the journey along with the home packed food. Puri,sabji,achar and a surahi for water (earthen pot) with a steel glass on top of it was a common sight and that journey food tasted so delicious.
I loved food cooked by my Nani which had a native flavor and Nanaji used to bring small Allahabadi samosa and jalebis for us.
My real cooking started after marriage. When I got married, my husband was in the last stages of writing his Ph. D. thesis and we had a small apartment in the IIT Kanpur campus from where my cooking journey started and I tried my hands on my first few dishes. In the evenings we often ate in canteens or Red Rose (the one and only restaurant in the campus at that time). Most of the evenings, friends would visit us and there were joint cooking sessions which everyone enjoyed. Different cuisines like south Indian and Chinese were experimented. Chinese food was gradually gaining popularity in India at that time.
Every household in India has a different food culture and I learnt some different types of food in my new house. My father in law and other members were strictly vegetarians but my mother in law loved non veg. This common food interest made both of us happy and some evenings we both would enjoy eating fried fish or chicken curry.
Most of my life I lived in I.I.T campus and my children grew up there. With time my culinary skills improved and I enjoyed trying new recipes. Both my kids had different tastes and food choices and I ended up satisfying their likings by trying more varieties. Aloo (potato) used to be a common choice of both my husband and son, my son used to demand aloo-tamatar ki sabji almost every single day. My daughter was not so fond of aloo, so sometimes I would prepare aloo-mutter tamatar sabji, separate the mutters from my son’s bowl & serve it as aloo-tamatar for him and as mutter-tamatar for my daughter.(How creative right? )
aur aaj bhi aloo humare ghar par raaj kar raha hai . Sharing of food pots with friends and neighbors was very common. We enjoyed dining at each other’s place. People of different states mingled freely and many a time’s ladies would share food recipes with each other. Birthday parties were thrown with great zeal and in most of the parties menu was chhole, bhature, dahi vada, cake etc.
Visits to foreign countries widened my food vision and I realized that food affects all aspects of life and apart from Indian food tradition, every country has its own food traditions. It is a culture in itself including numerous varieties of dishes, methods of cooking, ways of serving and eating. How Japanese drink tea, how Germans greet before having food by saying “Guten appétit”, how Chinese eat with sticks and how Indians can manage with hand. “Food is a common ground which brings us together.” It unites nations and cultures across the Globe. Inviting someone for tea is not just about tea, It is about the warmth, affection and friendship that we share over a cup of tea.
I am very grateful to Iyurved for sharing my childhood memories and giving me this platform. I truly believe that nowadays children do not get the kind of nutrition and food that we used to get in childhood. It is great that Iyurved is making such nutritious food products for kids. This is the need of the hour.
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