When we were young, there were none of the fast food joints like McDonalds or Pizza Hut or Dominos. So the weekends did mean some kind of special food, but almost always it was home cooked. I remember we went out like once a month to eat restaurant food. And after having it, my mother would invariably always say, “I could have cooked it better at half the price”. And cook well she did. There was no dish that was available in the market and we hadn’t eaten a healthier version of it at home. We ate burgers with breads and aloo patty made at home. We ate yummy south Indian dosas, idlis, sambhar and chutney. We also had the Guajarati dhoklas made at home. All of these with none of the artificial ingredients or preservatives present in the restaurant food. And the sometimes we had to eat the boring khichdi due to someone’s tummy upset, mother made sure it was accompanied with some yummy dal papad and pickles, of course, made at home.
And I remember we had a great time helping our mother make these at home. We would be assigned the task of laying down the raw diced potatoes on the terrace and would take turns watching them dry in the sun and not let the birds or mosquitoes have a taste of them before we did. The pickles would be seasonal. In the summers, enough raw mangoes were pickled to last the year. In the winters, we had yummy carrot, and cauliflower pickles put in ginger juice.
With the fad of burgers, subs and pizzas coming in, the authentic Indian tastes have given way to global palettes. As much as the kids these days hate eating the same food over and over, we mothers are no match for the mothers we had. I don’t think anyone of us is marginally closer to the multitasker that our mothers are. My daughter is one and a half years now, and I try to give her home cooked food all the time. But I am sure it will change over time when she starts going to school and the fast food fad catches up with her. But I really really hope and wish I can make her childhood and growing up years as interesting and healthy with home cooked food as mine was.
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