Oh My Goodness, I am TIRED!
I cooked up at storm today. Chicken curry, cauliflower and potato curry, coconut rice, white rice, mushroom and green pepper curry, plus I made a tomato salad… and then an Indian dessert.
My in-laws, all of them were coming over. Plus, Sanj’s cousin from India has immigrated her, as has her aunt and family (which is made up of her husband and 2 sons). We met them last week and Sanj invited them over today for supper. When I asked my MIL if I need to do Indian food, she said yes.
The pressure. My mom is an excellent cook. In fact this is a huge part of her identity. Everyone loves my mom’s food. It has taken me years to really twik my own Indian cooking. First, I had to develop the interest in even cooking Indian food. It just seemed so overwhelming and a lot of work. After getting married, there was an abundance of Indian restaurants, literally around the corner from us and it was so cheap that I really wondered why bother cooking when buying it was the easiest option.
The foods that surrounded us when we lived in Scarborough (a part of the Metro Toronto area), were all totally different then what I grew up with. There were so many different representations of India. It was my first time having Butter Chicken… and it was delish! It was from this little hole in the wall around the corner. When I think of Butter Chicken, this is what I compare it too, though of course there are so many variations.
I then never worried about missing my mom’s food, as she moved in with us and lived with us the next 5 years. Why bother learning?
Eventually that need, want, desire, came and I discovered the amazing vast world of the Indian curries. It’s crazy how different each aunty’s curry is. Everyone has and uses their own preferred curry powder. Everyone has their own taste they are going for.
Since I learned from my mom, using my mom’s curry powder, the standard I set for myself is always “How close to my mom’s is it?”
Indian food is work. Or at least it is to me. If I am in the mood to cook, I actually quite enjoy it. Today I was feeling the pressure of performing… I mean I am cooking for real Indians that just came from India. Yikes!
My father-in-law looked at my spread and asked if I bought the food? lol I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or not! I decided to take it as a compliment.
I think I passed my own test, as there wasn’t much left… well really there was just some of the veggie curries left… who really wants that much vegetables? lol
Everyone is gone. Bellies are full. The day is over and I am tired.
Since meeting this family, I am constantly reminded of what it means to immigrate. I mean, it takes me back to my parents and the sacrifice and adventure they had leaving everything and everyone behind to come to this land of milk and honey.
My mom tell the story of passing a store and seeing the sign, “Pants… $1.99.” So she tells my father. Upon checking it out, they discover that pants… to be dry cleaned are only a $1.99.
My girlfriend reminded me that I, too, am in immigrant. I forget that sometimes, since this is the only world I know. I was 2 years old when my parents came here. I feel as American/Canadian as my neighbour.
As I watch this family find their footing in this new place… I am so grateful to my parents for all that they went through so that I know life as I do. At the same time, I look forward to going back to India someday and discovery all that is part of my heritage.