I have had ample moments of "stupid enlightenment". It is when you arrive at a certain thought or a phrase on your own, only to find out later (courtesy-Google), that it has been arrived at and published decades before you were even conceived. "Fusion Food" is one such phrase. My usual way to unwind after work is call my mom. I give her an account of my extremely banal life by adding some spice to it. Not the dishonest kind though. I believe that you can only fit your curves the way you want. You have no moral right to create new data points. Anyway, I should get to the point before the nerd in me comes to life.
Owing to my obvious aversion towards talking about work, I end up giving my mom accounts of my culinary adventures. She has made herself a place in her circle with her empirically established epicurean tastes and likes to pass judgment, for no reason, on the food others cook. Since I volunteer to place my neck between the blades of her guillotine, I end up enjoying her judgments to a great extent.
What I like about her judgment is that she ends up anthropomorphizing all the ingredients.
"What did you cook for dinner last night?"
"I made Greek Easter Soup"
" Really? What are the ingredients?"
"I used chicken, mushrooms and spring onion"
"Oh! Poor spring onion. Why would you put a nice green vegetable like that in a soup with chicken and mushroom?"
"The recipe said so. Actually the recipe says we should use entrails of lamb and other animals that are slaughtered. I replaced that with chicken because you cannot buy entrails without the animals around them"
"That is just disgusting! I won't be able to get over this for a while. Why can't you cook normal food?"
I have no idea what "normal food" means. She thinks I am taking advantage of the innocence of my flatmates when I cook roast vegetables for them.
"How can you just chop pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant and onion and toss it in the oven without any spice? And they agree to do the dishes in exchange of THAT?"
"No! I add spice. Basil and chili flakes. I coat all of that with lots of olive oil too!"
The other day, when I told her that I made chole with Spanish chorizo, she requested me not to share my bizarre recipes with her anymore. She pulls a Raj Thakrey at the idea of making a cheese sandwich with Maharashtrian dry potato curry. She finds it culturally threatening that when I have my friends over, I sometimes serve mixed vegetables and paneer with tzaziki. When I told her that tzaziki is actually made from cucumber and yogurt with just an addition of garlic and vinegar she almost accused the Greeks of plagiarism. Indeed it is quite plausible that Alexander the Great allured one of her great^n grandmothers and stole her recipe of kakdichi koshimbir on his way out. Then when he was back in his home town entertaining his ten thousandth girl/boyfriend he suddenly ran out of mustard seeds and decided to replace them with garlic and vinegar instead!
Today, I was describing to her what we had for dinner last night. My new flatmate from New Zealand cooked a "fish pie". The ingredients of which are as follows :-
1. (Mandatory) canned fish fillets
2. Boiled, mashed potato
3. (Mandatory) canned corn
4. Hard boiled eggs
5. Half a kilo of cheese
The end result was too much even for a left/liberal foodizen like me. In fact, the consistency and the appearance of the end result was too much even for the cook. So we were thinking about a makeover for the leftovers. Amongst things like deep-fried fish pie balls, fish pie popsicle, fish pie soup (5 times dilution),etc., we also ended up creating a fish-pie-roast-veggie-sandwich.
And instead of her usual state of horror, my mom surprised me with her two cents. Fish-pie thalipeeth and fish-pie kothimbir vadi. Making me write about it was her idea too. I am sure she would be a bit miffed with the way I paint her!
Kudos to you aai. I dream of the day when I can make you eat all that I cook!