I love food. And everything else that surrounds food. Conversation, relationships, places, and memories. When I crave a particular dish and attempt to recreate it in my kitchen, I often discover a connection to a person, a time and a feeling.
I am therefore teaching myself to cook. By cooking each day. With recipes that are collected verbally on the phone, that are sometimes typed into Word, scribbled on post-it notes, occasionally learnt by watching over someone’s shoulder. That could be a giant experiment to find a missing flavor and satisfy a certain desire that won’t go away. I talk to both my mother and mother-in-law, refer to various cookbooks, find friends who make the dish well, and try to document the final recipe before it fades from memory. Often, the project is a crushing failure and leads to frustrated questions such as, why are my rotis always hard and chewy? The answer usually doesn’t lie in lack of cooking practice. There will be a subtler element, like how the dough was kneaded or how hot the tava was. I’ve frequently given up in favor of take-out food and store-bought rotis. But something keeps beckoning me to the stove, to begin the experiment again. As if I wouldn’t be complete without trying once more.