Craving Ammachi’s Home Cooking

I am craving mama’s home cooking.

(The Malayalam word for mother is ‘ammachi’. That being said, we actually used it in reference to my grandmother, though; and to this day, my niece calls my mom, ammachi.)

I am craving Ammachi’s home cooking.

I left Denver around 7:00 AM. Driving through eastern Colorado, all throughout Kansas, Missouri at night and finally Indiana, is not easy. My dog stared out the window wondering what had happened to the pretty landscape from previous weeks. We arrived at my parent’s house at 2:30 AM. I was fortunate enough to have family and friends call me keeping us company on the 1100 mile journey. What kept me going during the lull was the promise of my mother’s cooking for a late night meal once I arrived home.

I was greeted with a hug from my mom; and after a nice, hot shower, I sat down for some late night grub, reminiscent of many late night grubs while I was in school and many nights since. Except this one was after a long day of driving as opposed to a long night of drinking.

I’ve always loved to entertain those close to me, inviting them over to my place when and where I would cook them a meal. Chicago was home to many meals. Over the last couple months, I resurrected that practice in Sausalito, inviting my team over for dinner one night, some more close friends another night, and a huge feast while I was visiting Santa Monica with some of the best people I know. I thought of all of that as I sat down to eat tonight.

My mother’s cooking is exceptional. I’m sure many people say that about their mothers, but I cannot imagine another mother cooking as well as my mother. And that’s no disrespect to any other mother, many of whom, I’ve enjoyed a hearty and delicious meal. It’s just that my mom is on another level. If there was a Hall of Fame for chefs (and there probably is and I just don’t know about it), my mother would be enshrined there with a statue at its center.

Tonight, I had a version of aloo gobi (with with cauliflower instead of peas), a special fish curry, a nutmeg pickle and a bed of basmati rice. Tomorrow morning, I would have masala dosa. Later in the afternoon and evening, I would have Kerala chicken curry, shrimp masala, chori (aka red beans), green beans again served around a bed of basmati rice with spiced curried yoghurt served atop it. And then a couple days later, breakfast was served with pallapam and egg curry, the breakfast of champions. My mother literally had made and was cooking my favourite meals. Taylor stared at me, matter-of-factly-stating, “papa – you’re good, but you got nuttin’ on ammachi!”

I thought of my friends that I had invited the last couple months. And I gave a nod to my mother, without whom those nights would not have been as special, since she (and my father) taught me everything I know about not only cooking, but “cooking with love.”

PostScript… Not to be outdone, but my dad, who is also an accomplished chef, cooked an amazing beef stew last week and a pot of Chilli over the weekend, as my mother served masala fried game hens on the side, which I had after driving back from Chicago. And then this evening, cooked Chilli chicken, zucchini, more Kerala chicken curry, and vegetables. Both of them are so amazingly talented!


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Late night grub: fish (salmon) curry, aloo gobi (potatoes/cauliflower/tomato/curry leaves), nutmeg pickle, basmati rice
Greatest Dinner of All-time – clockwise from top – chori (red beans), Kerala chicken curry, aloo gobi (potato/cauliflower/tomato/curry leaves), green beans, shrimp masala

 

Breakfast of Champions - pallapam with egg curry
Breakfast of Champions – pallapam with egg curry

 

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