I am not an artist. I never aspired to be one. But I do find parallels to art in my life. I derive an artistic pleasure in throwing raw things into a vessel, adding a dash of spice — and making something that pleases the senses in my mouth. I love the colors in my kitchen. There is a reason I like to keep my spices in glass bottles; simple things to make me smile when I am there.
I discovered cooking when I was in hostel and the food that was served in the mess was beyond edible. It was distasteful and uncooked. And I realized that just by adding some spices brought from home, I could make it edible. Those days I only modified the food that was cooked in the mess, didn’t really have the bandwidth and resources to cook from scratch.
But then I came to the US. You better know how to cook when you land up in a place like Boulder, CO. Indian food was expensive and difficult to find. Unlike others, I used to look forward to my turn for cooking while I stayed with two other girls in Boulder. I discovered how much cooking calms me down. I may be loud in my demeanor, but even I seek silence and cooking is my escape.
Yesterday, Agam spent most of his day at Maker Faire and I had the house to myself. There was a lot of chopping, slicing, sautéing, baking, sprinkling, sieving, boiling, steaming, stirring, smelling and tasting. It was fabulous. I loved every moment. I did not multi-task. I cooked one dish at a time. So the aromas don’t get mixed up. The occasion? Friends from office were coming over for lunch. Cooking for 2 is boring. Cooking for 16 – and that too from different countries and ethnicities is FUN! You want to make sure they get the taste of Indian spices, but you don’t want to overwhelm them.
It is not just cooking. It is the presentation that excites me. I can spend hours tirelessly shopping in World Market, Crate and Barrel and some times Marshalls (not too often though! – I get so lost there) looking for the right prep bowls, serving bowls, platters, cups and trays and the like. And then there is coriander and mint that delicately sit atop the dishes.
When I was taking care of my guests today, I was actually dancing a ballet. I used balance, precision, and emotion to serve to their needs. There really was a beat in my mind when I was enjoying myself today – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df-eLzao63I
Enough said. I think the source of all this inspiration is my loving husband, who loves to eat and is never short of words of appreciation. Muchas Gracias !