When we started out with our unschooling journey, we felt a little like knights in shining armor freeing ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles. Hence the name of the blog.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Food and Layers of Learning

I was harboring fear and irritation whenever Raghu asked for "interesting" food.  His kind of 'interesting' usually involves me going waaay out of my comfort zone.  He drools over Nigella, Masterchef, Jamie Oliver and devours cook books.

A couple of evenings ago I plunged into buying alien items like rice-paper, sesame oil and Sumac.  That evening I created a dish inspired by Nigella and some techniques i'd learnt via Masterchef.  The stuff was eaten so fast that i never managed to photograph it :-)  I created rice paper rolls with cooked corn-rice, cooked and raw cucumber and shredded lettuce stuffing.  It was incredible.  We dunked these translucent, beautiful little parcels of semi-cooked and raw elements in 2 kinds of home-made, asian dips.

What is my point here?  Well for me this was an act of courage.  I want to honor it / myself.  I was able to be playful and relaxed while creating, nay inventing, new food while meeting Raghu's taste, my pantry limitations, dinner rush, and all the other "perceived"obstacles.  I did keep daal and chaval on the side as a backup, just in case :-)

So what are the layers here?  I went way beyond just creating the food.  I was able to get past the fears, irritation (why not focus on the million other things i make?... I already make many different cuisines for my gourmand-son) and learn to go with the flow.  I set an intent "to meet Raghu's need for new foods with love and to make it happen".  And it happened.  This intent setting business is heady stuff.  I don't quite know when the internal shift happens... but by setting my energies in the right direction and not lingering in doubt, fears, irritation or too much left-brain analysis etc... I am happier and able to stay in the moment with love and gratitude and an open heart that says "even what you think is impossible can happen if you want it to".  Ok... a bit dramatic... but truly... buying rice wrappers, fancy-shmancy ingredients, paying a bomb, not knowing whether they will get used fully, whether i'd make anything good with them etc... and whether the kid will eat it etc... tests my thresholds :-) out here in India.

For Raghu he got to see me take a dip in uncharted waters.  He, needless to say, was thrilled, cheered me on and was an enthusiastic taster while i cooked.  He spoke with me about other ingredients we can source in Pune (he wants me to cook him endives and bake Beef-pot-pies next :-) We spoke about why i get irritated with his frequent needs for "interesting" foods.  I shared how i feel stressed by the cost of these imported ingredients.  A simple slab of haloumi sets us back quite a bit here (haloumi being a simple, salted, Arabic cottage-cheese variety that i took for granted growing up in Abu Dhabi) or even a simple Cheddar.  And Raghu is quite the gourmand... he knows his cheeses, oils, meats, salad dressings, nut butters, etc.  But as we talked I realized.... OMG i love it.  I love how much he knows about food... his passion for new tastes and exploration.  And Ravi, dear Ravi, confirmed for me that we should just keep money for it... like we would if Raghu wanted a class.  When it comes to money and seeing it as a flowing, moving energy... Ravi is awesome and inspiring to me.

Raghu surprised Ravi and me by having boiled, salted peanuts sold by the toll booths on the way to Dharwad.  Also road-side, large watery cucumbers slit and dipped in spicy salt.  He has been adjusting to the local cuisine and eats many, many more Indian (read: ingredients are easy to procure and cheaper and more local for me) dishes these days.  But he is a 'foodie' and misses bagels, pretzels, well-made shawarma (tasted last in Abu Dhabi) and other international foods that we (parents who travel and work in different countries) have exposed him to since an early age.  So I move, learn, change, unfold, whisper sweet intents to the universe and the layers of learning dawn upon me everyday.




4 comments:

Sangeetha Shankar said...

Hema loved ur post. I can somewhat relate to what you go through since Chellu is also mighty interested in cooking. Ofcourse she dosen't ask for gourmand stuff but yes its always something that I don't usually cook. I could so relate to your irritation and some of those emotions that hit you when your kid says "Amma i want to cook". I too try to put it off so much envisioning a lot of mess ...but the truth is that Chellu if left to herself would cook the entire day! And these days she dosen't bother even asking.She barges in , opens the fridge & goes about her business. Yesterday night she created two dishes by herself - cucumber tidy piles & stuffed cucumber with cheese& tomato & salt all on the floor without using a cutting-board. By the time I realized what she was upto it was too late. But I do set rules about cleaning up. Do you do that too?
Your blog was inspiring ..yes its all about intent . And all about truly honoring what our children ache to do. Definitely lots of learning here! :)) Love to Zoya..

Hema Bharadwaj said...

Thanks sangeetha. Struggling with clean up was my usual mode. These days the kids are older, wiser, cleaner... Heee, heee :-) Also i have learnt to leave things to my helper and do not insist on cleaning things right away unless there is egg or meat involved. Happy to read about shrutakirti. Such fun to see the way their brain works even as I smell something burning :-)

Pushpa Ramachandran said...

hey.. I'd be happy to join a "pay for a gourmet meal" evening..I miss a lot of stuff as well, so if Raghu and You are up for it, I can fund for special food and get treated to a nice evening out at your restaurant um sorry home :):)only limitation- menu would have to be veggie...

Pushpa Ramachandran said...

Ooops! just reading this! so spontaneously posted.. this post is obviously old and u guys are obviously busy.. so dont take it seriously for another 6 months:)