|mmm wontons but alas, not mine (so didn't think I'd be blogging about them!) Image: What Did You Eat?|
This is such an important part of our childhood and adolescence, but of course we never realise this until we are adults as well. I remember sitting around the kitchen table with my mum, rolling dolmas (mine were always the fat ones), skewering meat for kebabs until our fingers were red from the capsicum paste or folding spinach and feta boeregs (you could just tell which (wonky) ones were mine), usually chatting about inane stuff but now I realise what special times these were. My mother probably had to beg me or threaten starvation if I didn't help, and at the time I probably saw it as a major chore but I do reminisce about these occasions fondly. I have retained most of the knowledge with regards to the dishes themselves but I have decided to get cooking lessons whenever I am with my mum (she lives interstate). Especially in Australia with such a multi-cultural population, if we don't get these recipes down now we might lose them, definitely if your mum puts her own 'secret' ingredients in.
I so far have got my favourites down - although they still never taste as good as mum makes - why is this so? I am following her instructions to the letter... But maybe this is the problem, she never uses measurements and weights - always does things by eye, so this may be something that comes with practice...hopefully. Still got many recipes to go but getting there.
One of my aunts was born in Calcutta and we always got to eat her amazing curries at the bring-a-plate family get-togethers we had so many of when we were younger. Some time ago, I decided I was not only going to learn the old ways from my own mum, but from others as well so I had wonderful thoughts of spending an afternoon with my Auntie J in her kitchen, grinding spices and learning to make traditional curry from an expert. I approached her about my idea and she said to use a jar as it was just as good and she had been doing so for years! I was devastated! All those spices! All those aromas!
Alas, it was not to be, but it has not put me off my mission. There are many foods that are certain aunt specialties (I am thinking of your mamool Auntie Z!) and I can envisiage many afternoons in kitchens soon. Plus I have a Punjabi mate who makes a mean curry so I might just have that sorted too.
|Tabouli (Image: Down to Earth Recipes)|