If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know that lately, the thought of going home in a few weeks has consumed my every waking moment. I’m looking forward to so many things: to reunions, to catching up with friends, to lazing around the house all evening and waking up late each day, I’m looking forward to the monsoons and oh yes the food!
No blog post about Calcutta can ever be complete without stories of food. Not mine, at least. Over the last few years and from my travels abroad I’ve realized that whenever Calcuttans gather together, the conversation inevitably shifts towards food. In Calcutta, we are bound by a common love for exquisite tastes and delicate aromas. We love the process of cooking as much as we enjoy the eating. To us food is a phenomenon that unites and allows us to make personal connections. Lock us in a room and we’ll reminisce about Biriyani from Park Circus – with alu of course! Puchkas from Gol Park or Ballygunge, rolls from Park Street and a host of other culinary fare that we are so obsessed about. To us, food is so much more than a daily necessity.
For those of you who have not visited Calcutta let me say this: Calcutta food is the ultimate gastronomic adventure. People have been following Calcutta’s food trail through the serpentine alleys of this dilapidated city for centuries. The old eateries are juxtaposed with the new and line the roads and streets wherever you go. There are some forgotten or little –known restaurants dishing out delicacies that were made famous during the times of the British Raj, little known roadside shops that sell great street food that’s easy on the stomach as well as your pocket and people come from far-flung corners of the globe for almost ritualistic visits to the ‘must-eat-at’ places and the ‘just-can’t-miss-it’ delicacies that are only available here. Calcutta’s cuisine is as diverse as the number of people who call this marvelous city home.
But for me, some of the best delicacies that I’m looking forward to eating can only be found in my mother’s kitchen. The tastes, aromas and the textures of those dishes have been frozen in my mind and have become synonymous with home. Nothing brings me more delight than sharing a home-cooked meal with my family and friends and that’s what I’m most looking forward to. I want to be surrounded by the people I love, eating the food I love and just enjoying the feeling of being loved. In my home you’re free to help yourself to as much happiness as you want. There always enough to go around and enough for you to carry home as well. Basking in the joy of being home and relishing in the company of the people who make my life worthwhile is what makes my mom’s cooking the best cuisine that Calcutta city can offer!