14 September 2016
Love in Every Bite
Food festivals are an exciting event to go to, but how many people get to go to one almost every night? Not many I would say, although I do. Or at least it always feel like one; This food festival is called my grandmas house. Where you never know what she has been cooking up, but you can always count on it being delicious. The spices and aroma of the food hit your nose before you even step foot into her house. She is always full of surprises, and I finally got a chance to figure out why after interviewing her. I chose to interview her because we have a special bond with each other through food. Her favorite hobby is cooking; to her, food is a physical object of love. She pours her heart into every meal she makes, and you can taste it in every bite.
My grandma grew up in New Delhi, India with four other sisters and a brother. Growing up with many siblings was challenging at times, although having servants made it a lot easier. The servants helped by cleaning the huge house my grandma grew up in, as well as assisting her family in their daily lives. Her grandfather was the headmaster of a nearby school which is where the wealth in her family came from. Her dad was a super attendant at a jail, and her mom was a loving house wife. My grandma grew up with a strong family relationship, which she continues to carry on to my family. “Growing up with many other siblings taught me to share, how to be patient, and how to problem solve from a very young age.” (Sappal) Her and her siblings would bond through playing tennis, shopping, playing dress up, making music, going to the movies and cooking. Cooking was the main hobby shared amongst all of her sisters and their mom.
I learned that the bond with food my grandma shares with me, is the same bond she shared with her mom. Every Sunday and Wednesday, my grandma and her mom would walk to the market. Although the walk was far, it was their alone time to catch up and share laughs. “The market was a beautiful place. We would walk down the many rows of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and spices while being greeted by each of the sellers. Back then, the food was cheap so we got as much as we could to stock up for the week.” (Sappal) At home, my grandma learned to cook by watching and helping her mom. Her mom taught her all the recipes that she now cooks for me. My grandmas favorite word is “garam garam” which means “hot hot” in Hindi. She loves all her foods temperatures to be steaming hot.
She carefully takes out the food that has been waiting for me in the oven and pot, and gently places it on the table in front of me with a smile. With her bad knees, she waddles back into the kitchen to bring me an ice cold drink. I first pick up the warm fluffy naan bread and split it down the center to let all the steam out. It is traditional for Indians to eat with their hands, so this is how I grew up eating as well. I take a small piece of naan bread and use it to grab the chicken in the curry. Along side the naan bread is usually yogurt, cucumbers, rice, and another entree dish such as Chole. Chole is cooked chickpeas mixed into thick, warm curry broth. I always wondered why my grandma makes so many different protein entrees along with several starches as one meal. I realized it is part of the Indian culture to eat that way, and was how she was brought up. She has made these meals for me very often for the past fourteen years, and I still look forward to and savor every single bite.
My grandma and I both have a sweet tooth, it is no surprise that dessert is our favorite part after a hearty meal. There is no better Indian dessert than Prasad. It is a dessert loved by many, not just Indians. Prasad is a very sacred dessert that you will often see at church, weddings, and birthdays. Indians pray with it and believe it is good luck. It is a simple dessert prepared over a stove with just wheat flour, water, sugar, and an indian powder. My grandmas special touch is to add raisins to it, which gives it a fruity spark. This is the one dish my whole family and I all love. It is very important for us to enjoy this dessert together for it to bring good luck to us. This recipe along with many others are the recipes her mom taught her. I love that I am able to be a part of her families history by the meals she cooks for me.
Although my grandma makes all these amazing dishes now, it wasn’t an easy adjustment for her when she moved from India to Hawaii. Her, my grandpa, my dad and his sister all moved when my grandpa got offered a job here in 1970. For my grandma, moving here meant learning a whole new language, having to make new friends, learning to drive, as well as starting up a life in a different community. She didn’t have a lot of her usual Indian spices and products conveniently available for her anymore. “These challenges were significant, but small.” (Sappal) That attitude was what kept her motivated to adjust to living in a different country. Once she started to figure out where places were located, she got a job at an indian imports shop in 1974. There, she learned a lot about business and how to communicate with people in English. With my grandmas intellectual skills, she quickly became the store manager. You would think this would be the final achievement for her, although it wasn’t. “I always dreamed of opening my own store. The perfect space opened up in Koko Marina, and I saw that as an opportunity to make my dreams a reality.” (Sappal) 42 year later, this dream is now more than just a reality, it is a legend. This legend is known as Cosmopolitan Sunshop. It is a swimwear boutique that also carries beach essentials. “Why a swimwear shop?” I asked her. “I saw a need for a specialty swimwear shop in the area. There was nothing like it, which was why it quickly became a hit especially with tourist.” (Sappal) She did have her fair share of famous customers as well. Elvis Presley, Robin Williams, and Shiela E, being a few. Although her full time job was dedicated to her business, she always had time to make her home cooked meals for her family after. After talking to my dad, he said, “I loved my moms cooking, It was what I looked forward to every day after school. I remember every year for my birthday parties, my grandma made all the food and it was always a hit.” (Sappal)
One day when my grandma was working in her store, an author from the local newspaper approached her. He had told her that he heard about her amazing Indian cooking and would like to feature her and some of her recipes in the local newspaper. She was thrilled to take part in this, and had a great time doing so. This article ended up being huge, which led to many people contacting her to sell them her food. It’s accomplishments like these that make me realize how amazing my grandma is. She is an outstanding role model and influence for me, as well as everyone around her. I try my best to learn from everything she does. Her cooking brings our family together and always puts a smile on everyones faces. No matter how bad of a day we’re having, it always ends up being a good one when my grandma says the words, “Food is ready.”
“I am surrounded by the ones I love, I have my dream business, and get to cook every single day. There is nothing more I could ask for, and am thankful for the way my life turned out.” (Sappal) She is a firm believer that everything happens for a good reason. I try to follow the outlook she has on life because it is always positive and insightful. I hope to be able to maintain an outlook like this and be able to incorporate it when I am cooking up the recipes she’s taught me so far. Every time I cook food I think of her and I know she thinks of me as well. Interviewing her has given me a much greater understanding of her past and present. I feel I am able to relate to her better, and in more ways than just our bond with food.
Sappal, Kamlesh. “Love in Every Bite.” Personal interview. 01 Sept. 2016.
- INTRO & CONCLUSION:
Food festivals are an exciting event to go to, but how many people get to go to one almost every night? Not many I would say, although I do. Or at least it always feel like one; This food festival is called my grandmas house. Where you never know what she has been cooking up, but you can always count on it being delicious. The spices and aroma of the food hit your nose before you even step foot into her house.
If she isn’t cooking, she is crocheting, exercising, taking care our family, or running her business. She is always full of surprises, and I finally got a chance to figure out why after interviewing her. I chose to interview her because we have a special bond with each other from food. Her favorite hobby is cooking; to her, food is a physical object of love. She pours her heart into every meal she makes, and you can taste it in every bite.
“I am surrounded by the ones I love, have my dream business, and get to cook every single day. There is nothing more I could ask for, and am thankful for the way my life turned out.” (Sappal) She is a firm believer that everything happens for a good reason. I try to follow the outlook she has on life because it is always positive, insightful, and caring. I hope to be able to maintain an outlook like this and be able to incorporate it when I am cooking up the recipes she’s taught me so far. Every time I cook food I think of her and I know she thinks of me as well. Interviewing her has given me a much greater understanding of her past and present. I feel I am able to relate to her better, and in more ways than just our bond with food.
2. PARAGRAPH CONTENT & FUNCTION
P1: I explain my grandmas passion for cooking. This is significant because I want to talk about how my grandmas cooking comes from love and caring. This is an intro paragraph. It develops the theme of cooking and love. It does fit in the order of the essay.
P2: I explain my grandmas background growing up. This is significant to understand how much has changed in her life. This is a body paragraph. It lets the reader understand the circumstances. I think it was good it came next in the essay.
P3: I talked about where my grandmas passion for cooking came from. How her past is portrayed now in my life. This is important because i mentioned that I wanted to know why she does some of the things she does now. It fits in the order4 of the essay.
P4: Next I talked about her move from India to Hawaii. How food still played a huge role in her life as well as her business she started. This adds to my grandmas character. This is important because it shows a lot about my grandma as a person. This paragraph is in the right place.
P5: This paragraph talks about my dads love for my grandmas cooking. It is a small paragraph that can be incorporated elsewhere.
P6: This paragraph talks about her accomplishments with cooking. It is important to add to the value cooking has in her life. It fits in this part of the essay.
P7: This paragraph talks bout my grandmas love of the life she lives. I think this paragraph can be polished. It needs to wrap everything up better and relate to the intro more.
I think it would be helpful to add hyperlinks to some of the foods, where my grandma is from, and her shop in hawaii.
4. VERBS & NOUNS
Verbs: cooking, crocheting, exercising, pours, taste, clean, playing tenis, shopping, walk, eating, makes
Nouns: I, me, dad, India, mom, brother, sisters, servants, author, cosmopolitan sun shop, kook marina, hawaii, hawaii kai, grandma