Family food is a collection of treasured recipes – from family members, neighbours, friends and even acquaintances – that have improved my cooking skills, but more importantly taught me life lessons like generosity and the joys of sharing.
The humble chutney sandwich is such a staple snack for most Indians – so much that few maybe fed up eating it. Most church gatherings, in particular, will have some form of this green sandwich for the hungry souls – a comforting snack that I have never shy away from. But not all chutney sandwiches are created equal, getting the green chutney right is so important! For me, it is (another precious ‘Grandma’ neighbour) Aunt Fiola’s sweet and sour green coconut chutney that ticks all the essential checkboxes for creating the perfect chutney sandwich.
This is one of those treasured recipes whose source is not an inanimate book. In fact, aunty Irene is anything but inanimate. She is one of those liveliest, full of energy, really loud grandmothers who has no time for political correctness. She speaks her mind and she speaks it loud and clear. Hidden in this robust personality is a nurturing woman who is generous and welcoming. We were neighbours for decade or so until my family moved to another area. It has been seven years or so since we moved, but I still remember with much fondness all the beautiful memories with her – most of which dealt with food. Aunty Irene loved to cook and more so she loved to share – and when it was prawn cutlets that she had to offer, I was a happy, happy neighbour.
Family food is a collection of recipes that are perpetually etched in my mind as treasured food memories. These recipes – collected from family members, neighbours, friends and even acquaintances – have improved my cooking skills, but more importantly taught me life lessons like generosity and the joys of sharing.
Is it just me or does certain food tend to leave a lasting impression? Whether it’s festive dinners cooked by mum or a family member or that “little something” that your neighbour shares oh-so-generously as she fixes a quick snack on a weekday but chooses not to eat it alone – food seems to rises above its utilitarian purposes in such instances. For me, it’s a window to a soul, an extension of love, an opportunity to gather (maybe even make amends?). Is it any surprise that a meal plays such a crucial role in most social, cultural and religious gatherings?