My Mother’s Kitchen

“Homemade food is the best.”
a lesson taught by mother
remains strong in my mind.

She had a retinue of cooks
who prepared all she wanted,
especially, what all her children demanded.

Her kitchen was evenly poised.
Quantity and quality juxtaposed.

She trained her cooks, sent them to cookery classes,
read out to them the recipes.
Her kitchen was a laboratory,
a venue where different cuisines took shape
The paniyarams, chutneys and puliyodharai
notwithstanding the samosas and the salads
were made with diligence.The aroma filled the kitchen.
Traditional ones were improvised.
Colours were worked out with skill.

Eggs could never make a foray into her kitchen,
she being a born vegetarian. Eggless cakes
were baked. They were such a delight to us, the kids.

Born in such an environment, I too stick to the old rule.
It continues unknowingly,
passed on to my children as well.

Not fortunate like Mom, I managed the show
with a single cook. Tutored him from the basics.
He mastered the culinary expertise in earnest.
He is a stellar performer.
He is the chef in the sophisticated
“The Oberoi” in New Delhi.
My kitchen is back to me with all its strength.
I slog and scour, day in and day out,
being a lover of tasty food
and a stickler for cleanliness.