When you've spent most of your life with some of the most fantastic eating, cooking and food shopping memories as I have it might seem a tad bit unfair to pick one. But it got me thinking about my growing up years and the foundation it has formed, also fond memories from my travels. There are so many to be honest. But delving back into some of these experiences and thinking about them fills me with joy, happiness and nostalgia at times. So what better way to round up (some) of my fondest food memories;
1. Age 5 sat on my mother's kitchen counter kneading Indian flat bread with my own little mini kitchen set & rolling pin. Feeling smug watching my mum doing something and following suit doing my own bit of pretend cooking
2. Visiting local fish markets at the crack of dawn with my mum, watching her haggle for what she considered to be a fair price; you could say that was my 'on the job' training
3. Visiting grape farms and Indian wineries when I was 15 with school friends; getting back home with boxes of handpicked fruit
4. Deep sea fishing in Mauritius and having our 'catch of the day' cooked for us later that evening
5. Warm cups of Indian tea in the monsoon and a platter of freshly prepared pakoras to cheer up the dreary day.
Holidays revolving around food brimming with ideas and memories, cooking for family, friends and clients; sharing common experiences with friends that are food fuelled, reminiscing about mum's cooking, street food, Indian dhabas, Indian Chinese and butter chicken all sum up part of my fondest good food celebrations.
Amongst all the chaos of day to day life, cooking that childhood favourite dish or a simmering pot of curry on the stove using a family recipe is when time stands still in our kitchen. Ladled up in serving bowls and tucking into what feels like we can connect with home. Dishes that we remember fondly from our childhood but more importantly the taste and flavour of a curry, Sunday roast or hearty dessert lingering on. I spend a lot of time cooking meals to help me relive the beautiful memories and capture the flavours as I remember them. I can't get back to the cities (as often as I'd like!) that offered me some of the most scrumptious meals so I guess the next best thing would be to cook the meals that remind me of being there and emulating the smells and tastes' in my kitchen.
Every experience, memory and moment leaves a lasting impression even more so when it's something that you thoroughly enjoy doing. Based on family influences and experiences; I can say I always loved food but looking back gives me a view of how each of those memories of cooking, eating and watching my mother cook has left a mark in my day to day life. I hold onto to them and even today strive to celebrate every meal from a simple Khichdi to a lavish dinner party cooking up an array of curries. And when I make that trip or take that special vacation I want to enjoy the moment, take it all in and savour it.
So if you had to choose your fondest food memories what would they be?
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