- THE INDIAN HOME KITCHEN
& COOKING ARTICLE
- The Indian home kitchen is the sanctum sanctorum of
the Indian household. In all traditional Indian homes
cooking is revered like the scriptures. The kitchen
is kept clean and treated like the abode of the preserver
Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. In many homes, only
women of the house can enter the kitchen and in others
only the brahmin chefs. In either case, those entering
the kitchen must be freshly bathed and cleansed of any
foreign impurities. Footwear and any other leather objects
are banned entry into this sanctum. Many kitchens like
the one in my grandmothers home had the temple inside
the kitchen. This made all the rules even more sacredly
I think of the kitchen in my grandmothers home, I think
of time honored traditions and hospitality. Serene,
pious, meticulous, generous, aromatic, bustling, spicy,
plain and at the same time seductive are some words
that come to mind. It was her that my love for tradition
and culture found its roots. From Dadi's (paternal grandmother)
daily morning poojas (prayers) to Panditji's (Our families
Brahmin chef, he came in my grandmothers wedding endowment.
Has been with the family for over 50 years. My mother
treats him like her father-in-law) stern but loving
control of his temple and playground. It was here that
he prepared foods that were first fed to the gods as
offerings, then to birds and then to family and friends.
It was with respect for this food that he kept us little
mischievous children away. It was the spirituality of
the kitchen that gave this brahmin his life long vocation.
Indian kitchens one finds those secrets that have been
shared from one generation to next. Never written, only
shared through practice. Not even spoken, lest someone
foreign may hear that ingredient which makes a dish
spiritually richer. In India, often one does not speak
that which one treasures, lest the evil eye fall upon
it. I remember my mother often getting recipes from
Panditji and then when she prepared them, they would
come out differently. It was always just one little
step that he had missed or a spice he omitted or a herb
he forgot to add to her notes. When confronted, he would
pretend like it could not have happened. But then, I
the little baby of the house would keep a diary that
made note of all he did. It was from this that I realized
that there were so many little steps that seem redundant
and yet made all the difference to a recipes taste.
Indian kitchens of yesteryears, one would find many
chefs. They each had their own specialty. Each had a
dish or two that they excelled at. There were spices
that one could entertain better than the other. In the
end, the task at hand has always been to prepare dishes
as they would have been made in the vedic times. Tradition
in India sees prosperity by the measure of a persons
girth. Hence the cooks of a household would make sure
that each dish would help in adding to the inches on
the household members waists. Also the more cooks in
a kitchen the more wealthy the family was deemed. Today,
Indians are just as calory conscious as the westerners.
That and a shortage of skilled chefs has ended the era
where each family had a few cooks that came from a lineage
of professional cooks.
Indian Kitchen is the soul of an Indian home. It thus
also becomes the gateway to the souls of its peoples.
The flavors, the aromas and the textures that come out
of these kitchens are a muse to every soul just as they
are an offering to the gods. Just as music and art have
healing properties so does the kitchen. An Indian kitchen
stores spices, herbs, mortars and pestles and grains
and oils that have medicinal uses that have kept people
healthy for thousands of years. The cooks in these kitchens
sate hunger, cure disease and act as priests. No journey
through India is complete till one can study the working
of an Indian kitchen.
partake in the offerings of the Indian kitchens.
comes from a web site which gives a first class insight
into Indian Cooking, what it is about and how to create
some of the recipes in your own home.
is the web site of Suvir Saran, a native of New Delhi,
India, who was raised on traditional Indian cooking.
He is a passionate and inventive cooking teacher as
well as a sort of unofficial ambassador of Indian culture;
wherever he goes (in India, Europe and the United States)
he finds himself teaching people - colleagues in classes
and jobs, strangers in airports and on the street -
to love the food and culture of his native country.
learn more why not visit Suvir Saran's own
web site - click
Suvir Saran, 2001
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