‘Food is the ingredient that binds us together’
I quite agree with this quote as my earliest childhood memory about food was sitting and enjoying my meals with my cousins and family. Be it a family gathering or a religious festival like Ganesh Chaturthi, we kids were told to finish everything that was served on the plate. There were no vegetable options as per each ones likes/dislikes. One vegetable was served to the entire family. Wasting food was unacceptable in the house. Exposure to different tastes, flavors, and textures at an early age and trying new foods laid the foundation for healthy eating. No one in the family knew much about nutrition then, but when you eat everything that is on the plate that includes all the different food groups and nutrients, it makes up a balanced meal. I now follow this habit for my little girl.
I grew up in a joint family in my early childhood where my mother and aunt would cook in the morning and leave for work and then my grandmother would take care of all the kids and ensure that we ate well throughout the day. She used to prepare an evening snack for all of us when we would return from school. It could be anything from poha, upma, sabudana khichdi, thalipeeth, ghavan, sheera etc. After a long day at school, we would look forward to this snack which was not only healthy but also made with a lot of love, which made it even more nutritious. I feel one’s state of mind/mood while cooking has a great impact on the food that is prepared. Packaged food like chips, noodles, biscuits, bread or eating at a restaurant was a rare treat. Home cooked meals were what we all grew up on.
I had read a quote which said ‘many of us have learned more about our ancestors in the kitchen than we ever will from a book’- Anna Thomas
My grandmother’s recipes, her cooking techniques were later followed by my mother and aunt.
When we started full-day school, my mother used to pack all the tiffins for the day before leaving for work. We would start our day with a breakfast of milk and a chapati roll with ghee and sugar before leaving for school. This breakfast would keep us full till out first small break at school. Lunch would always be chapati and vegetables and jaggery ghee or mango murabba. My sister and I would eat all the vegetables and would finish our tiffin regularly. Thanks to the ‘finish everything’ and ‘no food wastage’ rule that was inculcated since childhood.
In spite of being a full-time working mother, she would make sure that we carried home cooked food and avoid canteen food. In our college days, she used to make wholesome porridges using ragi or rajgeera with dryfruits for breakfast instead of the ready to eat cereal which is loaded with sugar. Dinner would always include some dal/ sprouts, salad, and buttermilk along with roti and rice. We used to carry lunch tiffins to college as well. Eating freshly prepared home cooked meals are definitely more nutritious and also help build your immunity.
Along with healthy eating, I am happy to be blessed with good genes (no family history of any major disease) from both my parents. In spite of multi-tasking so many roles, I am really thankful to my mother for teaching me healthy eating habits since childhood and for focusing on my health.
To thank my mother, I have penned a few lines for her-
She has managed work and home so well
She handles so many things, she is a multi-tasker as well
She is short and sweet, active and fit,
She makes healthy and tasty meals that we love to eat
She loves to shop, travel and have a lot of fun
She does not like to rest and is always on the run
She is a mother, a wife, and a grandmother
She manages everything like a pro, she is our home minister!