I come from a family where perfecting the art of making circular rotis can give you the title of being the perfect daughter. So there is always a competition of who can mould the softest dough without getting the flour all sticky in your hands. From generations, different techniques and tips have been discovered and past onto through chakla board and belan from mothers to their daughters, hoping this one power will make a difference in their lives. Because even if you cannot get that degree or get a job, at least you can always make full moon shaped rotis after a crescent moon shaped day. At least you can hope that your full moon shaped rotis will please your husband, should you fail in the pleasure department.
I come from a family where tea is seen not only as a simple hot beverage but as a tradition. Every morning, as we immerse ourselves in the warm sip of milk tea, we always find a reason to complain. The complaint is not about obvious things like the gastroenteritis it might be breeding in our stomachs or bones it might be breaking into. It is about more important things, like how you should not have let the pale yellow fatty cream settled in the top of milk to float into tea because it thickens its texture. It is about how you should not have added tea leaves before the water really boiled because you cannot get a medium soft skin color that way. It is about how you should have whisked the tea multiple times after putting adequate amount of sugar because it just makes the tea more uniform in taste. Because you see, tea does not go to your stomach. It goes to your heart. Because you see, tea is just not tea. It is the first offering you give to anyone entering into your threshold. It is the tradition we have been taught to follow while spreading our smiles which may not be as warm as hot boiled tea but it definitely comes close.
I come from a family where cooking meat requires an army of three. Because every time we cook meat we are in the war combating foul smell and fighting mixing of spices differentiated for vegetable and meat. Because cooking meat in the kitchen whose queen cannot even stand the ‘evil’ aroma can never be a full proof job. There will always be that cover of pressure cooker which will enter the forbidden zone or there will always be a slice of onion, laced with gravy, which was courageous enough to jump into the curry’s vessel. But when the pressure cooker blows its whistle (and the smell blows our mind) even our semi-pet cat makes its way to our family gathering and we bond in between tasting just one skin piece and offering a small piece to not human family member (/trespasser).
I come from a family where you don’t cook to eat but cook to impress. I come from a family where food is not just necessary for survival but for everything along with survival.
I come from a family where every time I enter into the kitchen, I don’t just enter into the kitchen but I enter into a war zone. And I always make sure I cook to kill.
Writer: Shuvangi Khadka
Shuvangi Khadka is an awkward young adult who likes to call herself “poetry enthusiast.” In between her torturouas path to getting a law degree, she finds solace in writing. Being an avid reader you can also find her reading any kind of book in any kind of place.