Food and my association with it has been far beyond the necessary function that it performs – filling the stomach, that is. And I guess, it is because I have been part of a family that has always seen food as element to celebrate, to bring comfort or to rejoice.
As kids no occasion was spared. Happiness or sickness, celebrations or sadness, everything had some element of food in it. Saying that my mother is one of the best cooks I have come across will not be an exaggeration. And I say that not as “ma ke haath ka khana” type of feeling alone. That obviously is there but she is a master chef beyond that.
So while food has been an essential part of all the happy occasions, it also made its presence felt at the not so happy ones. Cold and cough meant yummy hot Sheera. An extremely tired day in school when the appetite is also lost meant hot dal and chapattis with lots of ghee. Returning from school in blazing summer heat meant chilled water melon followed by homemade lemonade. Wet rainy days when we were forced to stay indoors meant pakoras and chaats. There was so much that she use to make to ensure our tiredness, sickness and gloominess never got the better of us – Kadi chawal, Rajma, Paneer, Parathas, Kheer, Gajar ka Halwa, Kaali daal – all these and more were the perfect comfort food for me back then. Prepared by mom, these ensured that I felt better instantly.
And then I left home, back in 2003. And that meant I had to find the comfort elsewhere. I did find success but never totally, after all so hooked was I on my mom’s food. So chocolates and tea became things of unprecedented importance.
Now, after so many years of leaving home, I have finally found my solace of comfort food in what Aman prepares. Not a trained cook the guy is, but he has some magic in his hands. However simple the recipe, the outcome is always magnificent. On days when we both are really really out and beaten we don’t eat out. We get home late, too exhausted to even move a limb but somehow walk to the kitchen. And together in 15 mins we make dinner, while I do the cutting and chopping, Aman does the cooking. And then when I eat it, I know how lucky I am. My comfort is with me. And the food is here to stay.