I have been fascinated by the kitchens since my childhood. It was my place of mystery and magic. I would sneak in and conduct my evil scientist experiments when mom wasn’t around - they were mostly results of my own interpretation of recipes from the cookery shows I watched on TV. Poor Chefs!
Mom was a generous lady. She allowed me to experiment with one recipe every day. Even after my marriage, I kept working on my cooking skills by attending numerous cooking and baking workshops with leading chefs in Bhopal and Delhi. I was about to start my professional cooking career but life had other plans for me.
I was blessed with an adorable baby boy but little did I know that raising him was going to be an uphill task. My baby suffered from ‘red cell aplasia’, a condition as lethal as blood cancer, to put it in layman’s terms. My son had to undergo multiple surgeries as a toddler and these continued as he grew up. Alongside surgery, he also underwent chemotherapy which took a severe toll on his physical and emotional well-being. Naturally, my son needed my full attention, and as I focused on him fully, and my professional aspiration went sideways.
However, my culinary skills came in handy when I started cooking everything at home for my son because he was not allowed to eat food from outside. My passion for cooking continued as I prepared meals that had to be nutritious and healthy but nothing less than a delicacy - my son, even with his condition, was a little child. In some ways, the kitchen magic I had experienced was being recreated. A steady supply of chocolates, cakes, pastries, soups and salads from Chinese, Italian, Indian, Tandoori and Mughlai cuisines, kept coming in from mum’s kitchen for my little wonder. I had to think hard - for instance, to ensure intake of the highly recommended walnut, I would make special walnut powdered cakes. My kitchen had to innovate every single day.
It has been 20 years of running this experiment. I, along with my husband, still help my son with making notes and preparing for his examinations. We take care of his overall well-being. At the same time, I have taken care of the crazy, hungry (no pun intended) culinary professional inside me. While I cannot step out to work because of my responsibility at home, I have started a takeaway/ home delivery joint which I run from home. Why not spread my kitchen’s magic to serve Lucknow with healthy, tasty, fresh and mean fingerlickers!