One of the legacies one leaves behind is food. Oh, I mean that seriously. After me my mother has made my favourite dishes into a citadel of happy memories. She has even gone a step further and created a restaurant in Mumbai’s Goregaon area called MAA incorporating Mohits Corner as a tangible tribute to me and my love for good food. For me it was a benediction and I was a stickler that every dish on the table should have the right amount of spices. To me even at that young age food and its preparations were of the utmost importance. I have always seen it as an art and a science. To me it is the subtlety of the dish, the balance of the ingredients. They must create a symphony and every such entity served with grace and style.I especially loved the Japanese food and taught mom to make some Japanese dishes,soups and appetizers.
I have never understood members of the human race who slobber over their food and kill it with spices and oils and what I call the ketchup tribe. Food must be enjoyed, savoured, recalled and given the status it deserves.
And it is with the same fervor that I believe in variety. You cannot continue to fall back on the same six staples every time.My mom used to mostly cook Sindhi food,Sindhi curry used to be my all time favouite with Aloo Tikki,every full moon day. I think I drove my mother crazy by insisting that experimentation was the essence of good cooking and one must continue to strive to build one’s ‘library’ of recipes.I would give her Thai recipes,Italian recipes and many other recipes.I love her so much that I always strived to up her skills. Today, she is not just the proud owner of a huge stock of incredible dishes but is adept at making them.
The love she gave to me and still gives to me from down there on earth is also ladled into the food she makes. Her education under my tutelage is paying off. I may not be there to taste it and enjoy but but I know that her reputation for making great stuff is being enhanced by the day.
As for me, I could never eat mass produced food. Bake, roast, baste, marinate, let is stew in its own juices and make it for the individual, that is the secret of great cooking.
Let me tell you something. If you see food as a means rather than an end you are missing one of the great experiences of life. It is not something you cut and pour into hot water. That is not food. Food is a journey in which you map your path and then follow it assiduously. It calls for effort and it calls for a special kind of dedication. When you see it in its final stage, the sensation should be like reading a poem that has got all its rhythm right, a musical score where the musical notes fall into place.
You never overdo it or undercook it and only practice will give you that ability to judge the famous phrase in culinary discipline: just right.
Change your own attitude towards food and see how it changes your life and your values.I always believed Eat less but eat good.
Look for unusual condiments, different greens, try combinations you have never tried before, exult in your attempts to get it just right and then sit down and taste it, don’t just swallow it in a rush.
MAA will be a hit once it finds its place. It is young yet, like an underdone grill. But gradually, with the magic of ma’s cooking it will begin to turn succulent and tender…the way life should be.