Getting The Traditional Twist Back Into The Kitchen
To blog about something you love or are passionate about is nothing out of the ordinary. What else would motivate you to write religiously, day after day, right? But by choosing to write about food cooked in their mothers’ and grandmothers’ kitchens for ages, or about recipes that are typically cooked by a particular community, what some food bloggers are doing is stepping beyond their love for the art—they are also helping revive traditional food which is fast disappearing from our dining tables and our lives.
Sitting in her home in San Francisco, Srividhya Mainkanda, for instance, is helping her readers know more about traditional vegetarian recipes from her home state of Tamil Nadu through her blog www.vidhyashomecooking.com
The journey however did not begin with the aim of introducing, or re-introducing the traditional food of her region. “When my mom visited us after my pregnancy I wanted to note down all the traditional recipes. When I was writing down I thought of saving them online too and that marked the beginning of my blog,” Srividhya recalls.
In keeping with its origin, her blog now features post partum food recipes traditionally offered to a lactating mother apart from vegetarian recipes from around the world as well as eggless baking and quick recipes that can be cooked under 30 minutes.
Unlike Srividhya, Aparna Balasubramanian started out with her blog, www.mydiversekitchen.com, with the aim of documenting authentic Palakkad Iyer cuisine. As time passed, her blog grew to cover her other areas of interest—baking bread and food photography.
Another feature about food blogging is that it’s one of those subjects which welcome a heavy two-way traffic. In the sense, readers have as much to say, probably more, as the writer. And bloggers are aware of that. There is instant gratification, but not all feedback may be heaped with praise, so comments are taken ‘with a pinch of salt’.
Aparna reinstates that. “Most of my readers give me encouraging feedback, telling me know they tried my recipes and it worked out well. For the occasional recipe that would not work, we try and figure out the reason. Some readers have also given me advice and ideas that have been very good,” she says.
Janani, who blogs at www.redchillycurry.com, says that she has a lot of newly wed women among her readers who are enthusiastic to try out new recipes. “They say whatever they try from my site turns out perfect, which makes me very happy. Boosts my morale.”
Srividhya goes on to say that her next step would be to add video recipes, something her readers have been asking her to do.
One of the biggest pluses of traditional food—apart from the heavenly taste, of course—is the health factor. Considering the rising risk of hypertension, diabetes, even cardiac related ailments, to not just elders but youngsters too—much of which is attributed to junk food—traditional food has a lot to score in our fast paced lives.
Cooking, as an art, is very accepting of innovations, be it in technique (with the modern gadgets the process is much quicker) or even ingredients. We have all probably heard our mothers lament how the curry tasted so much better with that particular spice or shoot of a plant, but with the right trick, the taste factor can be compensated. So say our expert food bloggers.
“You can always work around things when an ingredient cannot be found,” Aparna says. She agrees that getting all the Indian food ingredients, especially if you are living abroad, can be tricky, but “given the popularity of Indian food around the world, most ingredients can be found in US and Europe in Indian or Asian grocery stores, or online.”
California-based Janani agrees and Marudhu (www.marudhuskitchen.com) says, “Nowadays you get all the ingredients in the stores. Even abroad, you get the things in the Indian grocery stores.”
With information available at the click of a button and ingredients at a nearby store, or online, recreating the magic and aroma of delicacies that were once cooked in ancestral homes is becoming a welcome reality, no matter what your geographical location.
So what’s cooking tonight?