Food Memories. The Power of Smell and Simpler Times

My daughter is 3 years old and we talk a lot. I started talking to her the day I knew I was pregnant and have gone on non stop. I have talked to her about my work , the people I meet, my hobbies, my husband and his interests, and sometimes even talk about what I read in the newspaper! When she was young, I think what really mattered to her was the sound of my voice. She used to try to make sounds too and we sure laughed together! These days, I ask her questions about her play school and her friends. Boy, she enjoys taking about her day. Sometimes when I talk about my work and day to her, I watch her tiny face intensify in concentration, trying to comprehend what I’m saying. It is a wonder.


Yesterday, I was talking to her about this opportunity I got to write about spending time with her. I asked her- “ Baby, should I write about what we play when we go to the park; or about how we talk so much; or about the times we cook together?”. Unaware of my needing and answer, She was busy looking out the balcony, saying something about our neighbor’s kid. Something about how he bowls really well when they play cricket. I thought, “maybe I haven’t really gotten my point across to her. Maybe she is too small,” and then I totally forgot about this conversation. A few hours later, when I was putting her to sleep she said, “Amma, tell that uncle (She calls my colleague’s –aunts or uncles) about how we make rotis ( Indian flat bread) together and about how we talk all time!”


My husband has a full time job and I’m pretty much on my own with my daughter. Though time and again we have tried with paid help, I still end up having a lot to do and so I figured, the easiest way to do things is to ask for my “daughter’s help.” It is definitely messier and takes longer to do, but then we have an engaged and happy toddler. That certainly makes up for the mess! I started cooking with my daughter from the time she was 2 years old. I sometimes give her pea-pods to peel. Sometimes I give her some dough and a rolling pin then I watch in amazement at her small hands working to make a roti, she wants it cooked and loves to gobble it up. Both my parent’s family and my parent–in-law’s family have a traditional Indian mindset that – “ Nothing conveys love to a child more than food.”


Both my husband and I have been spoiled when it comes to food. We have experimented a lot with different cuisines and love a variety when it comes to food. That being said, there is something very simple about the food our mothers made for us that makes us remember it with fondness! In my husband’s case its also the food his father cooked for him! I personally believe its a nostalgia of simpler times – when we didn’t have responsibilities and all we ever wanted to do was play outside a little more than our parents would allow us. My husband and I have been trying to recreate that childhood for our little one. We have been recording recipe’s from our parents and making traditional food for our little one in hopes that she too has “food memories.” We hope that in the simplicity of the smells and taste of the food, she relives these simpler days when life grows harder for her – as we are sure it would and does for everybody!


This Blog First got published in getconnectdad

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