This International Mother's Day, let's acknowledge the instrumental roles played by our moms in making us social beings, even through simple things like food cooked by them. Our mothers often facilitate uniting families and friends, bringing us together around the table to share the joy of delicious food and good company. Likewise, in our lives, we have recollections of some foods prepared by our moms; no matter how many times we devour them, they work like anchors to memories.
Food has a unique way of reminding us of our mothers. From the aroma of the freshly cooked bread to the taste of a warm bowl of khichdi, the memories of our childhood come flooding back. Our mothers are the ones who introduce us to the foods we love and create the meals that become family traditions. Cooking and sharing meals is a way for mothers to show their love and care. Many of us remember our mother spending hours preparing our favourite dishes in the kitchen. These meals nourish our bodies and soothe our souls. They infuse a sense of comfort and security that only a mother's cooking can bring.
A sudden gush of overwhelming emotions swept me almost a week back, and I needed something comforting and reassuring. After a prolonged session of sobbing and weeping, hunger pangs were screaming, silencing every other noise. I muster the courage and gather my strength to cook something easy and simple. Bhaat-e-bhaat, or a typical Bengali quick-fix preparation of steamed rice with boiled potatoes and yellow lentils, came to my rescue. I mixed everything with homemade ghee, and an avalanche of nostalgia and a comforting feeling washed me over. I uttered, Maa (mother). Next moment I was speaking to her over a phone call. And like a magic pill, the food and her voice took away all my despair. Isn't it strange how some humble food has the power to transport us from our adulthood to childhood instantaneously? This International Mother's Day, I have tried to list Indian foods that remind us of our mothers.
Before the aggressive foraying of readymade fizzy drinks, most Indian households had nimbu paani or lemonade as the go-to thirst quencher. Remember those sultry afternoons when a glass of freshly made nimbu pani by mom used to await us after school. And even today, no other drink can recreate this nostalgic connection with our moms.
Lemonade, Image Source: Pexels
For any Indian, this humble combination of dal-chawal (steamed rice with lentil stew) has been a staple food ever since childhood. Even for many, it is among the first few dishes while being introduced to solid food. So, no matter how old we grow, maa ke haath ka dal chawal or mom-made rice and lentil always reminds us of our mothers.
Roti and Sabji
The warm and fluffy roti pairs perfectly with the flavorful and aromatic sabji. It is a staple in many households and is loved for its simplicity and delicious taste. The roti is made with a soft and chewy texture, while the sabji is bursting with a medley of spices and fresh vegetables. Indulging in the simple yet satisfying combination of roti and sabji is a timeless tradition in Indian households. While it may not be the most glamorous of meals, the culinary prowess of Indian mothers transforms this humble dish into a truly mouthwatering experience.
Khichdi, Image Source: Freepik
After a tiring day or during recovering from an illness, a plate of freshly prepared khichdi with a dollop of ghee is what an Indian finds soothing. And there is no denying that khichdi has a nostalgic element about it. Whenever we Indians long for our moms, we find comfort in a hot serving of khichdi.
Achaar, or Indian pickles, are integral to the country's cuisine. These pickles have a unique taste and aroma that reminds an Indian of their mom's cooking. Every Indian household has its own pickle recipe passed down from generation to generation. The taste of Indian pickles takes Indian back to childhood memories when they would watch their moms make pickles in large earthen jars. The aroma of the spices and oil would fill the house, and the anticipation of tasting the pickles would make their mouths water. Indian pickles are not just a condiment; they symbolise love, care, and tradition that reminds Indians of their moms.
Not long ago, making ghee or clarified butter was part of a weekly ritual at almost every Indian home. The aroma and taste of ghee bring back flashes of many foods from our childhood. It is no wonder that Indians continue to cherish ghee and the memories it evokes of their moms.
Haldi doodh, a warm milk beverage infused with turmeric, has been prescribed by Indian mothers for generations for its healing properties and is often consumed before bedtime. We all have memories from our childhoods when during a cough and cold, a glass of haldi doodh was given to us as medicine. The warm, golden colour of haldi doodh is a reminder of the love and care moms provide.
Aloo paratha, Image Source: Freepik
From fighting with mom for smearing the aloo paratha with butter to craving that aroma and taste, somewhere we grew up. But we all left a piece of our hearts into the olden days, and whenever an Indian eats an aloo paratha, he/she does remember his/her mother.
Poha, a beloved breakfast dish in many Indian households, is a staple that has stood the test of time. This delightful dish is crafted with fluffy, beaten rice and a medley of fresh, seasonal vegetables. A generous drizzle of rich, aromatic ghee adds a touch of nostalgia, evoking fond memories of home-cooked meals lovingly prepared by mothers.
No Indian festivity is complete without the delectable halwa, a staple dessert long before the advent of fancy cookies, pastries, and cakes. Moms are the ultimate keepers of traditional recipes, and when it comes to halwa, they have a recipe for every occasion and season. Whether it's the classic semolina halwa or the winter-special carrot halwa, her kitchen never missed a chance to add sweetness to our lives. It's no surprise that the mere mention of halwa instantly transports us back to our childhood kitchens, where the sweet aroma of this beloved dessert wafted through the air. For many of us, halwa is a nostalgic treat that evokes memories of our mothers' lovingly prepared meals.