I am not sure how to start this.. not sure about what exactly I plan to do here… of all things the least that I expected was a cooking journal of mine. But.. well here I am! and even I am a bit surprised with this 🙂
This blog is going to be about cooking stuff… recipes or lets say MY version of recipes. I am not a professional cook, not even an excellent cook but I have learnt cooking the hard way! And I am still learning.. every day since the past eight months (It’s the month of April 2010 today as I write).
A few words about myself –
I was born in a small town in UP and completed my education in Kolkata, WestBengal. Being a Bong I love authentic Bengali food but I have developed taste buds for all kind of cuisines – be it North Indian, or South Indian or Gujarati. And yeah I just love Chinese!
I am an HR by profession or rather used to be, back in India. Gave all that up post marriage when I had to move out of the country to the US. That was eight months ago. Right now I am in Connecticut, US… full time house wife and enjoying what feels like a long vacation, or as my friends call it – extended honeymoon.
A bit about my near and dear ones –
My husband or BBC, as I call him, is a software professional these days… 🙂 (he keeps telling me he will change his profession soon!) He is a great friend, a fantastic son… and son in law, an awesome brother, a wonderful husband… and above all a very good human being. The most important thing to mention about him, in this journal, is that he LOVES to eat. So I realised soon after marriage that the way to his heart is going to be through his stomach… good meals!
My core family (before marriage) includes some wonderful people..dad, mom, my brother and my uncle. My family (after marriage) includes again some amazingly wonderful people.. father-in-law, mother-in-law, elder brother in law, sister-in-law and their son – ‘bebo’. My grandmothers, aunts and uncles are excellent cooks and all love to eat!
How Pam lands up in a kitchen –
I had occasionally, you can say rarely, cooked before. My first stint was making tea when I was in school. I used to hear all my friends would cook main course meal while I could just manage tea which gradually proceeded to making omlette and maggie. I never had to do it … so I did not do it (PERIOD!). Those days I felt I,anyways, would one day have to do it, so why do now! Why not sit back and have meals cooked by others and when time comes I would pick it up. That’s how life is.. you do things you have never done before.
Once in a while I learnt a few dishes but never took it up seriously. It was just before my marriage that I realised the time has come when I might have to manage 3 meals a day and I was not sure whether I could do it. Then things started happening in no time.. my marriage.. moving out of my house into a new home and then finally to a new country. I still remember the first evening in Connecticut and my dear loving husband asked me…”Now tell me your status about cooking so that I may do whatever needs to be done”. A sweetheart that he is! Did I mention that he is a great cook.. he not only cooks awesome meals but he can (in techie terms) troubleshoot any of your culinary disasters into a wholesome yummy one. And so he never ever bothered about my kitchen skills. Well I definitely did!!!
That day I had assured him that I would manage (somehow) and since then I had been managing my kitchen.. managing well with lot of confidence (which, I admit, does falter sometimes) and lots of appetizing menus. It took me approximately a month or so to get hold of my job role :). It was initially not too easy. I have (and I still do sometimes) served my husband with weirdly tasting food and he never for once complained. What happened, as a result, was I came across lot of ways to manipulate the small errors in my cooking. I knew what I should do if the food was too salty or too tangy. There were so many hit and trial methods.. so much of internet research… but all resulted in me knowing a little bit more.
All this while I had done sufficient research on the website for different menus… and have tried and tested some of them. I would like to mention some of the real good ones that I came across like:
- Sanjeev Kapoor’s recepies at http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/ – This is the first site that I trust and refer to whenever I need help. Of course he is one of the best in his fields.
- Hetal and Anuja’s recipes at http://showmethecurry.com/ – It feels good to see a video and gives me more confidence in what I need to do. Also they present really well.
- Apart from them I also came across Meena Agarwal’s recipes at http://www.hookedonheat.com/ , one of my friends cooking blog: My Saffron Kitchen at http://www.mysaffronkitchen.com/ – a friend from my MBA days who I never thought would be interested in cooking at all!) and one of my favorites for Bengali cuisines/daily meal ideas – http://www.bongcookbook.com/ .
There are a number of others, but the main point is these sites are really helpful for freshers like me. Though I would refer to them now n often I never really got inspired enough to create one for myself.
When I first started experimenting with cooking I realised that I did not have certain ingredients mentioned in these websites. To this, my husband gave me a very valuable tip:-
- to ignore recipes which are too complex and time taking.
- to ignore recipes which need too many ingredients specially if we do not have them.
- In case you do not have a particular ingredient or spice try to do without it,
And well.. I never regretted following his tips. So I always mention that they are MY version of the recipes with some additions and deletions 🙂 and they taste perfectly fine.
Finally how it all started –
To come to the end of my long conversation – I never intended to make this blog. It was just a simple thing – a movie. Me and BBC happened to watch the movie – “Julie and Julia” where the girl Julie is a big fan of Julia’s cookbook and wants to cook all the 524 recipes of that book within 364 days. She starts a blog and gradually her blog becomes very popular. It was the thrill of watching that movie and a PUSH from BBC that I decided to use my free time (no thanks to my H4 visa that I can not work in the US) to post all my tried and tested recipes into a blog. And lets see where we go from there.
So here I am… trying to compile everything that I have learnt till date and all that I am gonna learn to cook from now on into my journal – Pam’s cookbook.
Do peep into my kitchen whenever you want to.
Happy Cooking and Bon Appe’tite…