Since childhood I had some “hate-love relationship” with food. Snacks and tapas were great for me, but I was always gathering courage to have meals. I could spend at least one hour on a small portion of food and I never really enjoyed eating meals.
It was more that I “had to” eat (fuel for the body), otherwise I wouldn’t eat, to be honest. However, I loved cooking food for others. I have always loved cooking & baking and the Indian cuisine is my favourite. Still I was not able to enjoy cooking & baking to the fullest, because of my hate-love relationship with food.
Here in India that has changed. The corona time has forced me to prepare my own food, no matter how cheap tiffin services in India are. That started with quite simple food, like cooked potatoes, stir-fried green beans and grilled tofu. Fellow guests at the hostel used to ask me how I could eat so tasteless all the time.
“What are you punishing yourself for?” they kept asking me. The questions and comments of people around me have had a very therapeutic impact on me, because I realised more and more that I indeed considered eating meals as a punishment. I was still punishing myself, for example for those three years that I ate fish, meat and eggs against my consciousness.
The people around me were very caring and even started to cook food for me. Gradually I started to get used to the tastes of all kinds of vegetables and spices. One person realised it was easier for me to have snacks rather than meals and whenever I had a low feeling and/or didn’t feel like eating a meal, he used to order pakodas (my favourite snacks) for me and served those in a bowl, so that I would at least eat something.
Eventually I started to enjoy meals. I must say it helps when people around you pamper you and don’t let you do anything. As the only woman staying here I got pampered a lot and they used to prepare the food extra tastefully, so that I would learn to enjoy eating meals and get out of my regular sad moods. The corona time triggered a lot of emotions inside me.
When I started to enjoy the meals I decided to peep inside the kitchen whenever they were cooking. That’s how I learned what Indian ‘home cooking’ could look like. After the last lockdown more people started to leave the hostel and I started to cook more on my own. I prepared dishes I had never prepared before. With success, as I enjoyed them and so did the few people around me, with whom I sometimes shared the food.
In the meantime I got quite used to cooking my own food and I enjoy getting groceries and preparing food. I learn a lot about daily Indian life and household. I can also really enjoy my own homemade meals. In the mornings I usually eat poha, in the afternoon some protein rich dish with roti and in the evenings some vegetable dish with rice. Sometimes I overdo things and prepare a small thali.
Today I’m planning to prepare roti, rice and a nice vegetable curry, with the colours of the Indian flag. So that would be carrots, tofu and green peas in a tasteful curry Because of the heavy rains we can’t raise a flag and cooking is also difficult, as the kitchen is in the basement and it’s full of water now. Still we will make the best out of it
Freedom in the minds … Faith in the words … Pride in our souls … Let’s salute our beautiful nation Jai Hind!
Happy Independence Day!