Bong Mom's CookBook: Chingri Macher Malaikari
One of my favorite little games to keep kitchen duties interesting is to pick a random ingredient in the cupboard and then to make a meal using it. So far I have made chocolate cherry mace cookies for mace and mini muffins for mini muffin papers (technically not really an ingredient, but equally taking up shelf space). The next ingredient is whole cloves. I found that cloves are native to India, so naturally I want to make an Indian dish. It also just so happens that I am deeply embedded in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. Her tale of the Bengali Gangulis is so sumptuously written that I feel like I am embarassed to know so much about the inner dreams and fears of Bengali immigrants. Since I am feeling so connected to Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli, I am delighted to attempt to make Chingri Macher Malaikari before I finish the book. And to eat it while reading and feel that I, too, understand their cravings.
When I read Diane Mott Davidson's first novel, Catering to Nobody, I felt especially connected with Goldy Bear by cooking the recipes that were used in the plot. In ninth grade when we read Homer's Odyssey my friend and I made our project, Cooking the Food of Ancient Greeks, and spent the day making dolmas and lemon chicken soup. Cooking makes me feel connected with cultures and history in a way that is so satisfying for my soul.