Today holds a very special place in my heart. Four years ago, on this very same day, I decided to blog. It was called Tale of Two Tomatoes, now Kohl Eyed Me. The blog grew into much more than recipes and food stories. I started penning down poems, travelogues and my life as an Army Wife. However, I knew where my interest lay. In order to clean up the mess of having everything in a single blog, exactly a year later, I began this space to record my culinary adventures.
Today when I celebrate my blog's fourth and third anniversary respectively, I cannot help but wonder how someone who could hardly prepare a good cup of tea, start a food blog? From where did I have the courage? There was a time when I would stand in a far away corner of the kitchen when the pressure cooker was about to blow its very first whistle. I would call up Dad to muster the courage I needed to see that the rice was cooked through in the cooker. And then I remember the first time my husband had the Sambar I had prepared. I wouldn't be exaggerating when I say, that there was hardly anything left in the 5-litre pressure cooker! He had gobbled it all! Every time he smiled or made sounds of fascination and approval after tasting the food I made, I knew I had it in me. He is the best critic and he encourages me to try harder.
In this special occasion, I want to celebrate the love of few of my favorite bloggers through the unifying memories of good food shared. A big thank you to each and every one of you who contributed.
Of Food Memories
Mayuri, Professional Tarot Card Reader & Lifestyle Blogger
Ganesh Chaturthi is my favorite festival. I eagerly await the annual arrival of the elephant-headed Lord Ganpati, the harbinger of prosperity and remover of obstacles. The preparations of bringing Bappa, as he is fondly referred to in Maharashtra, home start with gusto. From cleaning homes to thinking of the various delicacies that would be cooked during Bappa’s stay. The Modak is his favorites. With time Modaks have evolved but Ukdiche Modak always tops the list. Made by cooking Rice Flour in water and then kneading it into a dough. Jaggery, fresh Coconut, and Cardamom Powder are cooked together to make up the filling. The dough is rolled out into a small circle, a spoonful of the cooled filling is placed in the center, covered with the dough and twisted deftly. The Modak is then steamed till it is cooked. It takes all the will power you own to stop at one!
Get the recipe here at Something's Cooking
Esha, Trainer, Writer & Blogger
Rainy afternoons like today, always reminds me of our home in the hills of the North-East and the innocence of the growing up years, when life was easy and the only worries were about not getting enough holidays to laze around and do 'pretend-play' with the small group of friends we had. Life moved at an unhurried pace those days. There were people from every part of the country in our college campus and since it was the pre-technology era, few things held the community together as good food and conversations did, so much so, that it became a pivotal point around which the laid back pace of the campus life rested. During festivals and celebrations, every household got busy and ours was no exception. I fondly remember mom spending many an afternoon, elaborately making all kinds of Bengali sweets and savouries, especially before the arrival of the annual festivals like Durga Puja and Diwali. Every year, on Vijaya Dashami, the tenth day of Dussehra, we used to have a feast at home where close family friends and neighbours were invited, with the sweet aroma of food carried across the kitchen, filling us in till we could no longer do without a little sampling of the dishes. Ah! What lovely days those were!
Even today, I can close my eyes and imagine my kid brother and his friends tiptoe into the kitchen pantry and make a beeline for mom's delicious Narkeler Naru (coconut laddus), or the sinfully sweet Goja (deep-fried sweet made of flour and dipped in sugar syrup), not forgetting the smooth golden Malpua (traditional Bengali pancakes) or the spongy golden melt-in- the-mouth Pantua (a variant of the ever popular Gulab Jamun). Just the very mention of these delectable delights fills me with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia even today! Once again, I can hear the sound of the conch shells, and feel the wafting essence of camphor and the incense sticks floating right across our homes and fresh garlands made of marigolds from the garden adorning our doorway and the lilting melody of the puja songs playing in the background, gradually merging and drowning in the din of merriment and laughter.
Get the recipe here at Something's Cooking
Suja aka Sindhuja DineshKumar, Parenting & Lifestyle Blogger
Paal kozhukattai is a lightly sweetened (using sugar or jaggery) pudding of rice flour dumplings cooked in cardamom flavored milk or coconut milk or the combination of both. This recipe is so close to my heart which is specially prepared for vinayagar Chaturthi. This recipe preparation always brings me the memory of the quality time I have spent with my mom. Yes, I have never helped my mom while cooking except for making the rice flour dumplings for paal kozhukattai. Also, my sister and I always had a secret war on who would make more counts of dough balls. It was one of my best time I could think of and have a smile. Paal Kozhukattai is an instant dessert which doesn't need a special occasion to be enjoyed.
Shalini B., Interior Designer, Storyteller & Personal Blogger
An evergreen tradition and a favorite food memory of mine is making pakodey as and when it starts to rain. I guess this is a throwback to childhood, for living in a joint family this would be done by one aunt or other; someone could always be depended upon to make a farmaish for them as soon as it would rain. Otherwise, a padosi would drop over for a gossip session and this would be served as the customary barish ke mausam ka snack. Come monsoons, this makes a regular appearance in my kitchen. This is also the raaz to my not-loosing- weight 😉 Let there be a hint of coolness in the breeze and I am prepping up for this dish; the moment the heavens open up, I have a few of them cruising in the hot oil. Though these taste best with some hari chutney, I love them with a sprinkle of chaat masala. My favorite accompaniment with the pakoras is a hot cup of adrak ki chai which somehow enhances their flavor to another level!
Get the recipes here at Something's Cooking
Ramya Rao, Writer & Lifestyle/Travel Blogger
Years ago, a day before Janmashtami my brother and I would come running back home from school. The aroma of fresh ghee, sugar and roasted besan powder would greet us. My grandmother would sit on the diwan, with the vessel full of the laddoo mixture in front of her, making perfect round balls from them. I would sit with her consuming the divine smell and see her hands do magic. Once in a while she would do it to surprise me and the laddoo would just melt in your mouth sending you to food heaven for a few minutes. And the laddoos would actual disappear like the moments were fast forwarded. It has been ten years since my grandmother passed away and never have I eaten such delicious besan laddoo so far and besan laddoo still stirs a plethora of emotions ends with nostalgia.
Rachna Parmar, Editor, Content Writer & Food Blogger
My favorite food memory revolves around my late mother. She was an exceptionally talented cook and most days my conversations with her happened as she was making something delicious in the kitchen. My passion for food comes from watching her painstakingly making elaborate dishes to perfection. In those days of no internet, her repertoire included pan-India recipes, gleaned from grudging aunty with sweet persuasion. I think food is special not only because of the taste but because of the memories it invokes in us. For me, food cooked with love and care takes me close to my mum.
Deepa Gandhi, Dietician, Parenting & Lifestyle Blogger
Most of my memories revolve around gatherings and happy occasions. My mom was a great cook. On our birthdays, she used to make fruit custard with jelly, bread rolls, and a yummy vanilla cake. All my friends loved her bread rolls and they used to just vanish in no time. Every time I plan a birthday party for my daughters, I remember her and the food she used to make. Remembering the food my mom used to cook takes me back to the childhood and brings back all the memories. Every time we used to ask her about the recipe or the secret of her yummy food, she used to say the magic ingredient is love which makes her dishes delicious. I am trying to bring the same magic in my food but somehow it’s not the same. I don’t have a picture of her food but sharing a picture of similar dishes I make for my daughters birthdays.
Vinay R., Writer, Poet & Blogger
The two festivals we celebrate a lot are Vishu and Onam. On both days, the family would get together for lunch. What was once a joint family had, slowly over time, become three smaller nuclear families. So for me, those get-togethers were filled with joy. Each of the family members (except us kids) would contribute a dish to the feast. Grandmother would make stew and avial, my mother would make sambar and thoran, and my aunt would make two side dishes. Big pappadams would be bought for the occasion. Mango pickle and tamarind-ginger pickle would be there too. And of course, there would be three different types of payasam. The meet part overwhelmed the eat part, but when it comes to foodie memories, the first thing that comes to mind is the family, sitting on the floor, having the feast on big banana leaves, happily talking the afternoon away.
Get the recipes here at Something's Cooking
Ruchi Verma, Fashion Blogger
After marriage when one morning my hubby said let's have aate ka halwa ... I was like ..ok !!! I will try to make and trust me I'm still very bad in making sweets of any kind and this was something which I never thought I can make and be demanded. I went in the kitchen, though I know the process n it was my first time with full energy n joy I started making that. First 15 min was like wow what a smell ..I was feeling so proud of myself and self praising was going on " wah Ruchi you are great..first time you are going to give best halwa" But as soon as I poured water n all it turned out to some disaster and halwa was so hard that we can't imagine how to break it with hammer ... We finally threw out in front of a cow and that cow turned her face and went off ..she also knows not worth having it ... This is my disaster story of food memory...but yeah remember I still don't know how to make aate ka halwa it's 10 years of marriage...and when anyone likes to have my mother in law makes it... Btw I'm otherwise a very good chef at home ...don't underestimate the power of halwa girl.
Amrita Basu, Surgeon, Health & Lifestyle Blogger
I am a Bengali and my food memories are sweet and salty. Festivals, pandal hopping and visiting relatives means we had wonderful opportunities of nibbling throughout the day. No visit to a friend or relative's place was complete without the spread of sweets and savories. The Malai Cham Cham was the healthier option balanced precariously with the deep friend ladykini. Since too many sweets are difficult to have, they were often punctuated with salty homemade nimki, singara, or if not anything else Chanachur. Those were my wonder years when anything I ate, magically melted away and never showed on my tummy.
Anubhuti, Parenting Blogger
This one is closest to my heart. It is my birthday special dish. Every year, from the time I know about Pav Bhaji, my mom used to prepare this, especially on my birthday every year. What more, even when I went to Bangalore for higher studies, she prepared it on my birthday and missed me. There is no one in this world who can match up with the taste of Pav Bhaji prepared by my Mumma. Other than veggies and spices, it has a special taste of love. I am thankful for that taste of Pav Bhaji.
Roma Gupta Sinha, Writer & Personal Blogger
Indian festivals are my heart. I love all of them to the moon and back and they are an essential part of my roots. But if asked to pick one, Karvachauth is my most favorite one not only for how on this day, I love to clad myself into a beautiful lehenga, get lovely Mehndi carved on my hands and fast the whole day for Mr.husband's long life but also because every year on this day, he prepares my favorite food for me with his own hands, which feels like heaven. Generally, it is Kadhi Tadka, Kheer, Pooris and our traditional dish faraa. How after I see the moon and then him and finish my prayers in the night, he warms the food and lays the table and feeds me with his own hands is one of the most precious memory I weave each year.
BellyBytes, Writer & Personal Blogger
Memories for me are made of food. I still remember the taste of that mutton curry I had as a school girl every Friday in the lunch room. And what about the smell of vanilla that always reminds me of birthday parties? I’ve grown up in a home which had an open door policy which meant that people walked in for a cup of coffee, a mid night lunch and even a takeaway puri bhaji for the train journey. This tradition still continues in my own home. However, I’ve tweaked this slightly – I insist my guests share a recipe before leaving my home especially since most of my guests have been international. So I have Hobz biz Zeit, the Maltese sandwich, Spaghetti Aglio e olio shared by our Italian guest, A genuine French chicken hot pot and various Dutch recipes like Apple Pie and Stampot to name a few. My hand scribbled recipe book has Shakuntala Aunty’s “wattukolumbu”, Gita's “Chocolate Brownies", Minnies “Midnight sin chocolate cake" and Akkaji’s “Thecha”. Every recipe brings back memories of all the people who I met and shared a meal with.
There are foods that supercharge your memories, don't you think? I hope you enjoyed reading these fond memories. Today I want to thank my Mom and Dad for teaching me the art of cooking, my sister for always demanding a dish whenever she visits us and to all my dear readers for the constant support and encouragement. I wouldn't have made it this far if it hadn't been for you.
This birthday month, hold on to this space to unveil some surprises! There are few announcements on the way and a chance for you to win fabulous goodies! For now, let's party!
Let me also take this opportunity to make a request. If you've enjoyed reading what you find here or if my recipes have helped you some time, do click on this link below to drop in a good word or two. Each testimonial counts!
Nominated for the Indian Blogger Awards
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keerthi vydyula says
That's an unique way of sharing your journey and memories. Also a great way of showing your love to fellow bloggers.
What a beautiful way to bring together your blog friends on the blog anniversary/,birthday. I like it.
And yes, pav Bhai was on my list. I think I would like to try that recipe soon. Hope you won't mind if I buzz you for any confusion 🙂
Reema D'souza says
Congratulations Shalini! You are awesome and so are your blogs. Loved reading everyone's food memories! What a nice idea to celebrate your blog anniversary!
P.S. : The cooker story reminds me of myself 😛
Congrats again Salini and thanks a lot for making us a part of your celebrations. Enjoyed reading about all the memories.
This was a great post. I applaud your thought of showing gratitude towards fellow bloggers. That's so nice of you. I loved reading the post.
Oh wow! What a tribute this is, Shalini! A very happy anniversary to your blogs!
I love both of them and I think that your are doing a wonderful job in keeping them both healthy and running 🙂
Tina Basu says
Happy blog anniversary Shalini, lovely food memories of our superstar bloggers. Happy Alexa month.
What a lovely party you hosted Shalini. Thanks for sharing these food memories .
Congratulations on the Blog birthday. Lovely to read about favourite food memories .They are my favourite kind of posts .
Mayuri Nidigallu says
Happy Blog Anniversary once again!
So thrilled to find my little contribution in your anniversary post!
Here's to most post, more pictures and lots more of, and for both your blogs!:)
Rachna Parmar says
Happy anniversary, Shalini. I really enjoy your recipes and gorgeous pictures. How far you've come! Thank you for sharing some lovely food memories with us. I enjoyed going through them and also sharing mine with you. Here's to many more achievements.
Sanch at Sanch Writes says
Happy Blogiversary! Here's to many more years of cooking and becoming a masterchef! Your food is always mouth-watering...I hope someday I can visit for meal 😀
SHALINI BAISIWALA says
Congratulations Shalzz on the milestone; seems we share a blog bday too in common; high-five soul sistah!! 😉
From Gulab jamuns to paav bhaji to pasta- this post seemed to have it all and I loved reading through the memories. Thank you giving space to mine too. I wish you loads of many happy milestones with the blogging and hope we continue our friendship - yours is one that I cherish very dearly! lots of love and wishes
Shilpa Gupte says
A very happy anniversary to your wonderful blog, Shalini! Reading about your journey from an amateur cook to a food blogger is indeed inspiring! I loved reading about all the recipes these lovely bloggers shared here and all of these mouth-watering recipes made me so hungry despite me having my breakfast even as I read this post!
Wish you many more years of blogging and sharing your fantastic recipes, my dear!
Wish you the very best!
Lata Sunil says
Happy anniversary Shalini.. Many more anniversaries to come. This is my favourite cooking blog.
Sindhuja aka Suja Dinesh says
Congrats on your blog anniversary Shalini!!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute. Lovely compilation. So many memories and so many recipes in one place.Wow!!!