Indian Food Tradition: Authored by Sumantra ( Kolkata )

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.

Bengalis are known to be born foodies. I grew up in an environment where home-made food or Indian food tradition was considered far superior to restaurants. I always cherished eating Bhaja Muger Dal (Moong Dal fried and not boiled) and Aloo Bhaja (French Fries and not Julienne) with Gondhoraj Lebu (lemon with aroma). Dal is probably still the most uncomplicated dish ever discovered, simple yet tasty. 

Apart from a regular freshwater fish item like Rui, Katla, Tengra, Pabda, weekdays were allocated for veg items and weekends for non-veg so that the entire family can relish every bite. So, Sunday was D-Day for me. While Mushur Dal (Masoor Dal), Mug Dal (Moong Dal), Danta Chochori (Mixed veg with Drumsticks), Aloo Posto (Potatoes in a thick paste of Poppy Seeds), Begun Bhaja (Fried Eggplant), Mocha (Banana Flower) formed the veg line-up, the non-veg armoury was even more tempting with Kosha Mangsho (Mutton in thick paste), Bhetki Paturi (Bekti Fish coated with mustard paste, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed), Chingri Malai Curry (Prawns in Coconut Gravy) and Bhapa Ilish (Hilsa Fish with mustard paste, steamed). Being a food enthusiast, it was impossible to cover even 2 non-veg items in a single meal as back in those times the quantity overpowered variety. But I was blessed with the capacity to Eat-all Digest-all as I could never let go of any dish without gratifying my taste buds. My mom’s Kosha Mangsho is something which I cherish even today.

When I used to visit my maternal grandparents for summer vacation, the variety of pickles made by my grandmother was simply amazing. The Gur-Aam and Chiri-Aam were always on my list. The GurAam resembled Murabba but with the Bengali touch of spices. The name Chiri always intrigued me which basically was finely grated green mango. Nevertheless, they both tasted heavenly. I still miss them. Then competed the varieties of pickles with green mango, chilies, garlic and tomato. I often used to wonder why Grandmother took so much pain to make those pickles. Later, I realized that it is her love and emotions attached while preparing that made each one of them unique. I still believe, any food made by heart has a lot more to offer apart from its ingredients, process, pre-cooking and post cooking measures. Maybe this is the reason, the home-made Kosha Mangsho tasted much better compared to the restaurant. 

Unfortunately, now the trend has shifted to the other end of the spectrum with Eating-Out being the norm. The entry of junk food in our lives has added more pain than pleasure, which is realized in later stages. What was considered a luxury once, has now become a standard today, especially for kids. Last but not the least, a greater loss of emotional quotient attached to food, the feeling of “Cooking for My Family” is slowly diminishing only to reflect that times have indeed changed.

Me with my mother and father.
Indian food tradition (Mutton rice).
Creativity at its best.

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.

In today’s world of busy parents these spreads( chocolate and savoury) are life saving, especially when kids are fussy eaters. Just a spoon fulfills their daily nutrition needs. hats off to Iyurved for making such fabulous products.

Regards,

SUMANTRA BAGCHI


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