I’m cooking like I’ve never cooked before – adventures in the new land

I always liked cooking – not the kind that is forced upon by society as a ‘women’s’ thing, or the kind that you want to do seven days a week. My generation – my friends and family – have enjoyed the luxury of eating out every once in a while. But many of us, especially the women in the family, are still proponents of healthy home cooked food.

Ki & Ka (English: Hers and His) is an Indian romantic drama film that follows a young, married couple contradicting the gender roles placed upon women and men in Indian society. Did you watch it? Arjun Kapoor cooks in it!

My need to have more of the home cooked food developed when I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. The place I got admission at was dull and lacked the food options that my hometown Mumbai had to offer. Tired of this, I longed for going back home on weekends and have food cooked by my mother. As my mother got busier with her job, we started buying local tiffin services – still close to home cooked food as compared to restaurant food.

Now that I’m married and living a different lifestyle in a new country, I long for Indian food – home cooked still. I try new recipes and take a monthly trip to the Indian grocery store. I still get to relish packed Indian foodstuff from there, something I used to share with my elder brother back in Mumbai. Yes, I am definitely also talking about Maggi noodles. We get them here, considering a lot of Indian reside in the state of New Jersey, also in and around my area.

So, I’ve learnt to cook more at home and eat less outside. I wish I could stop it all together, considering the chemicals being found in outside food, but hell it is hard. There’s a restaurant here called Chillis that had a ‘El-Nino’ Margarita. Haha.


After I moved to the US, I initially bought a lot of packed food from the local stores. For example, orange juice. My husband showed me how it was loaded with sugar, so I stopped buying it. I bought fresh oranges instead. A simple nudge did it. I now have fresh orange juice, loaded with pulp fiber and no added sugar. Guess what, I even got a bonus! I dried the peels and crushed them to make my very own facial scrub. This way, I’ve managed also not to use the microbeads in synthetic scrubs that cause marine pollution and death. These are banned in some countries including the one I reside in currently, but need more awareness and legislations worldwide for a blanket ban.

I’m now watching ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan on Netflix. Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth – COOKED is an enlightening and compelling look at the evolution of what food means to us through the history of food preparation and its universal ability to connect us. Highlighting our primal human need to cook, the series urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.

He says cooking makes us human. He mentions how we have lost touch with how the food gets to our plate. For all we know, there are people like me, providing environmental services, that calculate footprints for such a thing. I eat chicken, but I don’t dare bring it home to cook myself. Over time, I’ve been bending towards home-grown as well as home-cooked food. However, it is a big challenge – but we can at least start. I want to. By not cooking, we are losing on the knowledge that comes with it. I highly recommend you watch the series ‘Cooked’, it is truly enlightening.

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