Maa and food – the recipe of comfort and love
Food is a language of love, best expressed by our mothers. The ever so familiar aroma of food simmering in the kitchen makes us rush to see what is being made. Maa hands us a bite asking for a review – a rather relatable depiction of a typical evening in a Bengali household.
Our regular table spread at home usually holds a significant cultural value. Recipes followed to cook the mouth-watering delicacies usually date back to the yesteryears of our ancestors, passed down from one generation to another. These recipes have also been curated in ways best aligned with our region’s food supply, explaining the sovereignty of rice, potato, lentils and fish within the Bengali cuisine. Moreover, it is what connects us all as a family, and as a community. The attraction towards a bowl of steaming “shorshe ilish” is what most Bengalis can relate to. Among all of this, the person familiarising us with our culture through food combined with big sprinkles of love is our mothers.
Since childhood till now, we have been watching our mothers showcase their exceptional cooking skills at home, or on every occasion that we host. Be it a regular lunch or a special feast, the touch of our mothers’ artsy culinary magic adds that special element within what we eat. Food nourishes our body and soul, while our mothers have been our primary nurturer since infancy. We have become quite used to having our mothers prepare our meals and feed us, as all of these instances have played into making us associate delicious home-cooked meals with Maa.
While the same bowl of chicken curry tastes different when cooked by different people, there is nothing like one cooked by our mothers. The comfort and familiarity of the meal remains unmatched. After a long tiring day, the warmth within a plate of “bhaat-daal-maachh” (rice-lentils-fish) cooked with Maa’s personal recipe beats the fanciest restaurant across the city. Maybe it’s the love, or the childhood habit – there definitely is nothing like mothers’ food.
However, perhaps due to the commonality of it, the efforts our mothers put into preparing healthy and delicious meals for us are often taken for granted, while the culinary art put into execution goes unnoticed. We enjoy the comfort, but rarely do we acknowledge the process, the hard work and the creativity. Hence, it is time for us to cherish it even more. Exhibiting such culinary skills on a daily basis effortlessly is nothing but art, and our mothers are the artists. They and their delectable creations deserve all the applause and recognition.
DPS STS School Dhaka has taken a commendable initiative, DPS STS Chef Minister, for these amazing mothers by arranging the very first school level cooking competition, especially designed for mothers to celebrate their art. What’s even better is that they are going to hold this event every year, widening the scope of opportunities for the aspiring chefs. They also have a separate website (https://dpsstschefminister.com/) for the event, where all the details are present.
Bengali mothers have always made sure to keep our stomachs full with their scrumptious and nourishing creations. Their recipe books are prized possessions that can be passed down the generations. For years to come, mothers will continue to be a culinary inspiration for all children, because meals always taste better when it is made by Maa!
* Nabamita Momtaz is Head of Marketing, DPS STS School Dhaka and Shalini Agarwalla is Dean of Activities, DPS STS School Dhaka