An Amateur’s Experience in the Kitchen

Bengalis are known for their keen interest for everything gastronomic in nature. From an early childhood we are taught to appreciate food and its finer details. We enjoy our alu posto with biuli dal, khichuri with labra and beguni, kochuri with alur dom. I distinctly remember waiting for Ma to temper the dal. The seeds spluttering in hot oil, the aroma of panch phorong filling the kitchen. Fireworks in the kitchen – that is what I thought as a twelve year old fascinated by the phish-phish sound of the seasoning!

They say that adversity reveals true genius. When I moved to US and faced the responsibility of cooking a meal everyday, it did not sound so daunting. My optimism faded quickly as soon as I found myself in the kitchen worrying about mundane questions like what to cook, what ingredients to use and so on.

With Ma residing in India on the other side of the globe, I became increasingly dependent on Google to teach me the basics. Google taught me how to cook khichuri,, blanch spinach for palak paneer, cook pasta a la dente and what not. In the absence of my mother, it became my culinary teacher.

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A testimony of new skill: Semolina Dhokla

Even though my guru is an online force, the encouragement and support from my Ma and TBH have been my offline forces. These eight months have been a learning experience for a novice cook like me, who has struggled to find her footing in the kitchen all these years.

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