My dad rarely cooked for us. The kitchen was completely my mum’s territory. They were both working so it wasn't that she had more time to cook but it was simply that she just loved being in the kitchen and he loved her cooking (way too much). Still does. We are always teasing him about this.
Regardless of that like from mum, I learnt some invaluable lessons on food from my dad, who I call papa. Some wonderful memories; a buffet table spread of delectables.
- If you have a couple of quick & solid recipes under your belt you will never sleep hungry. They may not be fancy or complicated but they should be able to provide you with comfort and warmth when you need it the most. They should also be able to fill up your little ones’ growling tummies till mum gets home. Dads’ listening?
- At any given time it is completely normal to have at least three litres of icecream, about hundred ice lollies and a thousand kulfis in the freezer.
- It is also normal to have the above in various combinations and permutations and call it dinner.
- The same holds true for chaat. Allu tikkis, golgappas, chole bhature are all legitimate dinners.
- When passing by a chaat place, always get all of the above packed for home. With mithai.
- When your daughter gets married and happens to stay close by, make sure that you go running to her with her share of the chaat and take the rest home to share with your wife.
- Making morning tea, filling up a water bottle and packing a lunch bag for your wife when she is running around fixing tiffins and dressing up for work goes to show that you love her,value her and respect her. All these gestures are way more precious than flowers & diamonds.
- Dividing and sharing work in the kitchen doesn't make you less of a man. It is what real men do. She would cook and he would wash. She would set up the table and he would put it all away. They still do.
- Telling (Read: Lying) your daughter that you loved what she cooked and actually finishing it while the rest of the family can’t even go past a spoonful of that weird looking concoction is unconditional love. Translated it means it may be the first time you cooked for everyone but is not the last.
- Years later when she grows up and has a lifelong affair with food and cooks you the same thing again make sure that you tease her about her first time and enjoy a good laugh with the entire family :) It was Khaosuey that I made that summer (without even trying to find the recipe) and it is something that I end up making the most for my family & friends. Thank you dad.
- Porridge is always to be made in the pressure cooker. It is tastier and creamier. Also you somehow end up making an entire pressure cooker even though you set out to make just three bowls. Upside: You don’t have to make breakfast that entire week. Downside: You have to eat that very breakfast the entire week. Yes, that’s my dad.
- Picnics are an important part of growing up. Impromptu ones. Planned ones too. We went for a lot of picnics; carrying mats, a picnic set that is still there with dad and I plan to steal it one day, balls and food. It taught me that food tasted much better when eaten on grass and shared with friends.
- Even if you are a strict vegetarian you need to give your child the opportunity to try and the freedom to decide for herself. He doesn’t even eat eggs but I eat anything and everything that moves. The same choice should be given if you’re child decides to give up meat and the family eats meat.
- Stale chapathi crushed between the palms of your hand till it get reduced to a fine powder and then cooked with lots of ghee and sugar is divine. It is called Choori and making that alone gives dad the status of a chef. So does making large glasses of fresh juice; orange & pomegranate for your family every weekend.
- Simple meals are the best meals. Sometimes plain rice, yellow dal and pickle is all what you want and he taught me that such meals go a long way. Especially on days when you are really tired, want to put your feet up, keep your plate on your lap and eat quietly.
- There is also another kind of quietness. The one where you wipe your plate clean without even lifting your eye from the plate or stopping to breathe or talking; a sign that you have truly LOVED the food. However this only works sometimes. Most days his little women made sure that they were generously complimented and so was their mum.
Thank you papa for everything. For giving me the freedom to make my own choices in food and in life, for being there with me and encouraging me when I failed in the kitchen or at college or at work and for appreciating every little thing I have ever made.
Happy Father’s Day.
Sara was asked to write this little note at school as a part of her Father’s Day week. Here’s what she had to say about her superhero.
Please note we all MUST wear crowns and tiaras in each of her artworks.
A very Happy Father's Day to all the superheroes.
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