April 18, 2009
How can I possibly do my mother justice in a few paragraphs?
(photo credit: Jonathan Lee)
This woman is my number one hero, culinary & otherwise. She has not one, but two, masters degrees. She makes a damn fine margarita; in fact, she makes a damn fine everything. She has devoted her career to working with special needs infants & toddlers, and recently went back to school to do more graduate work in early childhood education. She watches The Daily Show and loves Anthony Bourdain. She was a hard-ass parent, for which I am grateful. She lives in Memphis, in the house where I grew up, and has handled the very sudden and unexpected loss of my father with a grace and bravery that takes my breath away. It is my supreme honor to be related to this woman.
You’ll notice, if you stick around here (and I hope you do!), that many of my recipes hail back to Veena, either as the original creator or as my inspiration. I learned to cook without realizing I was learning how to cook–by watching my mom in the kitchen, learning the names of spices and the proper technique for washing daal. Indian food was far from the only cuisine on the menu, though–I grew up eating traditional Southern food, Tex-Mex, pasta, the whole bit. My mom’s adventurousness is reflected by the cookbooks I inherited from her: among them, a first-edition copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
It’s always been my goal to be the kind of cook my mom is–one with a diverse repertoire, serious organizational skills, and the ability to throw something delicious together at the last minute. Just like Veena, no one goes hungry in my kitchen. And I’ll probably send you out the door with leftovers, too.