So take this scenario. You’re born and you’re lucky enough to be a girl. You’re raised by a family in which the values reflect the need for the female to be able to cook and make ‘everything’ i.e. a wide range of dishes. Thus she is raised accordingly. All in the name of avoiding having problems when she gets married.
Suraj and I were discussing this recently. We thought that ‘the way’ of making dishes may have been uniform when everyone lived in villages or close by and they married people near to them. Thus there was no conflict about how dishes were prepared or madeÂ becauseÂ there was no difference! However, now that communities have segregated and people live all over the place; things have changed.
We are also exposed to eating dishes from different cuisines, as well as, exploring how to make a wider variety of foods. This has led to a fusion of some dishes which has meant that they have ‘changed’.
CanÂ youÂ imagine theÂ pa lava this has caused? It sounds silly but one thing that can cause people to fall out is money and another is food! Often people leave weddings; not discussing the ceremony or venue, for example, but the food! It can make or break how an event is perceived. It is the same for issues like whether someone can cook and whether it conforms to ‘their’ style or not.
Even if you disregard dishes that have been fused with others and therefore altered; what about dishes that are just madeÂ differentlyÂ within families? ForÂ example, traditionally, one of items that ‘Indian’ people eat daily is rotli AKA chapatti. Some people make them big. Others make them small. That’s not such a big thing. However, some people make them thick and others make the thin.Â Imagine bread. Some people can’t stand or literally can’t swallow slices from a thick loaf and thus they need medium bread. So getting back to rotli. My mum’s family generally have thin rotlis. In my mind, the thick ones are too doughy and I find them difficult to eat. However, Suraj’s family generally, like thick rotlis. We haven’t even discussed the colour of it yet. You can make rotlis with white flour, brown flour or a mix of the two. Thus determining the colour of it. Also how doÂ youÂ cook yours? 🙂 Some people cook them til they’re quite brown. Others don’t like any brown marks on it at all. However, some feel that the latter means they’re undercooked.
So however, you like yours; what do you do if you marry into a family who wants them made differently?
Are you supposed to forget everything you learned? Are you supposed to wipe the slate clean in terms of your taste buds, what you like, dislike etc?
Also when you get married you’re an adult! The family would assume you know how to make certain things and they wouldn’t necessarily be happy aboutÂ re-educatingÂ you. Depending on the dish itself they may have to tell you what to do every step of the way!
Surely everyone’s a loser in this case?
What’s theÂ alternative? We all become less fussy, less stubborn, less passionate about petty things and more tolerant so that we can avoid such harm.
In case you’re curious, the inspiration for writing this post has been coming together over the last year or longer. It’s strange to be in a situation in which you think you can make something and feel that you make it really well but then hear ‘we use this to make…’ or ‘we make it this way’ or ‘Navnats do it differently’. I’m sure it’s not a rare event either! It happens within families before marriage, let alone after getting wed! Thus IÂ thoughtÂ it was a post worth writing for (future) mums, wives, hubbies, in laws and so on to consider.
Anyway to go with the example of rotlis. Here’s some pics for the visual folk: –
Cooked ‘well’ & thick
A tiny one
Thin and cooked to a ‘medium’ extent
Thick and cooked to a ‘medium’ extent
Thinner and quite ‘white’
Aruna Shah · January 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm
Hi great writing. We get used to taste( mum’s food), that is why husbands say it is not same as my mum makes. They need to acquire or get used to new flavour and taste that comes with your food. I think we have to be bit more tolerant with each other, whether its food or the way others think. I thoght in this day and age we will be different when it comes to be in-laws. What I saw and still seeing is completley opposite. I hope I can be more tolerant and try harder to understand new generations view.
Heena Modi · January 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm
I really appreciate you haring your views 🙂
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