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bringing her back

>> Monday, August 6, 2012

My mother used to spend her entire time at the kitchen. Ours was a large family ,my parents, my father’s sister and her daughter, my grandmother who was about a hundred years old ,and then all of us children, seven of us, all boys and me the youngest. My mother’s day would start at six in the morning, when she would start brewing  black coffee in an earthen pot. The firewood would take ages to light and it was a task I was good at, blowing through a pipe to light the firewood. Then she would milk the cow and continue cooking the breakfast. At any time, at least three of us boys would be attending school or college and we would eat whatever came to us and would still be hungry and ask for more. Often we had to be satisfied with the previous nights cooked rice which my mother would keep in a large earthen pot. She would add water to it in the morning and some cooked yoghurt, and make it what we used to call ‘Pazahnkanji’.  A green chili and onion chutney would be all we had as accompaniment. After we leave for school, she would continue her cooking for the lunch time when we also had some extra members, our relative girls who were studying at the convent school nearby.

 As the youngest in my family, I used to spend most of my time with my mother. I would just stay with her in the kitchen, taking nibbles from whatever was cooking. I would get the assistance of my brother to lift me and place me on the platform, so that I can take part in all the cooking activities. Because there was no girl child, all of us would help our mother with her cooking.

Mama's children 1980

 My mother’s recipes were simple. She had few rusty tins on a small shelf in which she would keep the chilies and spices. She would grind the curry paste on a granite slab herself. But she would cook the tastiest food I ever had. Even though we didn’t appreciate it at that time, as I grew up and left home, I realized how heavenly the food was at home, which my mother used to cook.

Recently my eldest brother and his family came to visit me. It is Ramadan time here and you cannot buy food from outside during day time. I had cooked some Masala for making Masala Dosa and after the breakfast my sister in law asked me ‘From where did you buy the food? Like our Ammachi used to make !”

She wouldn’t believe that I had cooked it.

Whenever I find time, I cook for myself. Having been alone for some time, I am used to this. And these days I enjoy doing it. My recipes are as simple as my mother’s.

When I cook, I feel as if I am bringing my mother back.

courtesy: Abhishek Scaria


Sanand August 6, 2012 at 10:01 AM  

My first visit here on your blog. This is a very touching post. Ammachi must be smiling down at your enthusiasm and culinary efforts to recreate her love.

Tomz August 6, 2012 at 11:08 AM  

Hello Doc,

A very nostalgic post. Which one was among you in that 1980s pic? You are chanced enough to get ur mums blessings, as u always accompanied her during her cooking..Thats why u are able to cook now..

Jay August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM  

wow...touchy post...Amma's have a great part in our life always..:)
Tasty Appetite

dr.antony August 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

Welcome to the blog. I often wonder how tough her life would have been to raise seven of us!Her whole possessions could be held in a small wooden box.Some tops we used to call 'Chatta' and some Mundus.That was all.

@ Tomz
After so long!
I was the youngest and tallest among the lot.I am standing,second from right.I had finished my medicine.This was taken after my father's death.

@ Hi Jay,
It would look funny if I start a blog on cooking !

NRIGirl August 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM  

Glad to be meeting Mom here. She sure is lovely!

Rachna August 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM  

So touching! I loved reading about your mother. I also picked my passion for cooking from my mother. She was an awesome cook!

sojo August 6, 2012 at 8:48 PM  

that was such a touching write up... m heart did miss a beat...

anilkurup August 6, 2012 at 10:31 PM  

It is said that often you can feel the aroma and smell of the food your dear ones used to cook, even after long time they are gone.

The conventional kitchen which you have in picture brings back memories. The modulars are so impersonal. Or is it I'm antediluvian?

Meera Sundararajan August 6, 2012 at 10:43 PM  

That was a very touching tribute to your mother! It is sad but the cooking of traditional foods the traditional way is no longer being practiced. In fact traditional food themselves are dying out or evolving into something different - sometimes nice and sometimes weird! Your mother's life sounds like that of a millions of others of her generation. Bless them all -these self less ladies who kept the home and hearth together!

sujata August 6, 2012 at 11:41 PM  

That is such a sweet tribute to your mom and also to the simple olden days that are left only in pictures now. Loved reading it and knowing about your mom.

Bikramjit August 7, 2012 at 2:31 AM  

simple is always the best sir and when mothers cook even the simple dish is pure heaven ...

I learnt to cook for myself when i came to uk there was no mum to cook for me ..

I am sure she is watching over you and smiling each time you cook sir.


Keats The Sunshine Girl August 7, 2012 at 5:50 AM  

Beautiful nostalgia. Your mum and everyone is proud of you.

Happy Kitten August 8, 2012 at 3:13 AM  

A touching post indeed... the tastiest food is always from your mother's kitchen. Think you watched her cook and aquired the skills. A cooking blog is not a bad idea. At least it will preserve the traditional food.

Even I wanted to base my next post on nostalgia..

....Petty Witter August 8, 2012 at 7:19 AM  

Hi Stranger, so glad to have you back.

Such a loving post, warmth seeps from your every word and its wonderful that you find what sounds like such comfort in your cooking.

cloudia charters August 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM  

This most lovely post
has taught me,
gifted me,
made me cry.
My father had a building-cleaning business.
I grew up around it.
Today, when I sweep the floor,
my father is with me.

Bless you, Sir. I am most honored
and lucky
to have made your

I know your fine mother
found great pride
in your accomplishments,
and in your heart.


Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

dr.antony August 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM  

To all my friends,

Many of you would not be familiar with the style of dressing those days. Wearing a 'Kunukku" ( it is something like an ear ring,but thicker and made of gold) was part of Catholic tradition and only worn by catholic women.This was worn at the upper pole of the ear lobe,unlike the present day ear ring.She also would ear the usual ear stud" with precious stones,'Kammal' as we call it,at the lower end of the lobe.

My eldest brother sits to the left of my mother.He lost his left palm while playing with a cracker when he was very young.But he was in the first of BA English at St.Berchmans College. He died two years back at the age of 75.
One sitting to my mothers right retired as a commander in the Navy. I am the one standing behind my mother. Three of my brothers became engineers and one was the post master of my town till he retired.
My parents had only basic school education,but saw to it that all of us were sent to where all we wanted to go and study.

Jerly August 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM  

its wonderful when people spend a moment bringing back their mother. loved

Suja Manoj August 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM  

Hello Doc,First time here. Nostalgic post,you said right,the flavor and taste of mom's food is heavenly.Loved reading about your dear mother.

Mélange August 10, 2012 at 11:02 PM  

It was extremely a touching post..I could feel and experience..Like the food you cook,what your precious mother brought you,your words are indeed simple too..A feast here.unique blend of memories and composition..(I especially loved the click of kitchen...preserve.Facing with extinction)

Harman August 12, 2012 at 3:37 AM  

so cute.. such a wonderful tribute to mom!
I can relate to this .. God bless !and this love and respect for mom is blessing which you get in return..

Arti August 15, 2012 at 8:45 AM  

A wonderful heart warming post written so beautifully. The meals might as well may have been simple but they were packed with so much love. Mothers are always like that, they put in their all to ensure that we have the best. Many Thanks for sharing this.

Vasundhara Raghavan August 28, 2012 at 12:31 AM  

I enjoyed this blog the most. Simple and comforting. Typical male dominated household. Whatever kind...mom cooks the best

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