We’ve all sung the glory of unparalleled taste of ‘Maa ke haath ka khana’ from the time we understood its importance or encountered food that’s either tasteless or with dangerous outcomes. Be it in writing school essays or as part of a debate or part of whining about hostel mess food or trying to tell one’s spouse how fantastic a cook our mum has been, this topic holds a prudent place in everyone’s life from time to time.
Today, I am going to share the ‘Eureka’ moment of my life when I actually learnt the ‘WHY’ behind the awesomeness of ‘Maa ke haath ka khana’. I have been marvelling at the fact as to how do mums suddenly transform into master chefs as compared to other women with similar interest in cooking.
Ever since I gave birth to Pari, cooking has been more of my solace from stress than an act of producing consumable food from raw ingredients. But, I didn’t note any spectacular changes in my recipes until recently. Yeah, there has been a sudden spurt in the variety, quality and even the time taken to come up with a delightful recipe irrespective of the available ingredients.
The credit of this metamorphosis goes entirely to my daughter who has graduated from being a fussy eater to an absolutely ‘not-interested-in-eating’ kid. In the same time period, I too have evolved from an ever researching, frantic about nutrition mom to someone who is ready to cook and bake anything just to see her child fed and happy.
I have to confess, nutrition has actually taken a back seat. Though I can’t push my worries to the similar position, yet I am now trained (by Pari) to see food as a source of joy before worrying about its nutritional value for nothing hurts a parent like seeing a very irritable hungry baby.
The colours and flavours hold a prime position, making me go to extreme limits creating foods suiting her liking just to see her happily opening her mouth with a welcoming smile each time I bring a spoonful of food near her. Though, such occasions are on the rarer side, but am still thankful that they exist.
My pride in believing I cook better than the average has already been shot to outer space and my confidence in cooking gone for a severe blow ever since Pari decided to start, continue and end every conversation about food with a confident ‘No’.
At first, I sought respite in following tips and tricks shared by friends and family with recommendations from Internet too. Though the success rate didn’t change beyond 0.5% my stress levels arranging for a variety of ingredients were at an all time high. It wasn’t feasible to see the food go waste and neither was feeding a fussy child the same kind of stuff everyday to reduce wastage doing any good either.
That was when I decided to calm my frayed nerves, go by own instincts and follow the path my baby showed. Yes, a mother (or say a parent) can actually see a path in the twinkle of her baby’s eyes, have a detailed conversation even without saying a single comprehensible word. The only wrong that could be, is reading sweet to be sour, denial as affirmation and vice versa.
So I started moulding my food suiting Pari’s liking. No sweets for she still dislikes them so savoury was the way to go. Day after day and meal after meal things started showing progress. From not eating anything, to a few morsels, to asking for more, things did take a positive turn. From all crazy things she agreed to eat (noodles, pasta, peas alone) to adding hints of nutritious additives, slowly she is beginning to like a number of things.
Though I am still far from succeeding at making my baby eat a full meal of whatever we all have at home, but still hopes are high. In this routine of failing to impress a two-year old with my cooking skills, I accepted the challenge to improve my cooking skills else my food would be ruthlessly pushed away from sight.
This is where the secret lies. Repeatedly cooking, feeding our worst critics whom we have to feed no matter how tired we are, our kids, makes us moms slowly evolve as the master chefs who can churn out a delightful dish in matters of seconds any hour of the day, with as many or as few ingredients yet suiting everyone’s liking . Last but not the least, the secret ingredient, love, makes it all possible, magically.
Having said that, I sincerely hope the sweat and blood that goes everyday to cook for my daughter (yet failing miserably on many occasions) will someday gift me with the awesomeness of ‘Maa ke hath ka khana’ to everything I cook.
The song on my mind : Yun hi kat jayega safar saath chalne se ~ Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke