I’m talking about my mom. She rocks my world. But as my sister says in her ardently written post about her at Rabbit Food Rocks, she was not one to go out to numerous social events and need “me” time. She didn’t feel the need to dabble in all her hobbies if they took time away from her duties as housewife and mom. And she definitely didn’t go to weeknight concerts or evening girls’ nights out. She didn’t have us dine out if she was busy doing something else besides cooking our family meal that day. She really didn’t have “Aarti’s time”. She solely worked for us. Kind of like our employee, but really our boss. The leader. That was our stay-at-home-mom.
(I should mention by the way, that the original name Aarti is pronounced with the “t” like a hard “th”, as in the word theology, not like in the word “the”, and not a hard “t” as in tomato).
On most days that I talk with my Mom, since the last 15 years that I’ve been living on my own, there are at least a few tenets of life that are preached to me. Most, at least at the time, I half-heartedly listen to. Eventually these words of wisdom embed my life, without me realizing it. People say they turn into their moms. I think that’s pretty much a good thing.
She taught me an art that I believe is fading fast. The art of cooking and feeding and mingling and sharing. Not only the art of entertaining, but also the art of wanting to entertain. She’s a social butterfly and so am I. I took these skills that I learned from her for granted until recently. The fact that I could roll a roti in under 30 seconds is entirely attributed to her. The fact that I prefer to have my kids’ birthday parties at home and not at Jumparoo or Gymboree or whatever it’s called, and feed the kids and their parents tons of homemade food–that’s because of Mom.
This past weekend, I went to Camp Blogaway (here’s a great recap), where I met people of all walks in life. All food bloggers and writers, but also women (and a few men), who were executives, day job holders, stay-at-home moms, working moms, single gals, and just all fabulous personalities. You should see their blogs so you can meet their personalities as well, right here. But it was a weekend of community and unabashed sharing of stories, personal lives, and lessons on balancing everything in a world that is too fast-paced.
One afternoon, I met a couple of women who had teenage girls. They were leaving camp early to go to one of their girls’ proms. And I just thought that was so amazing. They were at a blogging camp—something they loved to do. But the ultimate sacrifice was to leave a place (mind you it is not the easiest place to get to, at 7000 feet elevation), to go be with their kid, who wouldn’t necessarily appreciate it but would remember it, years later. And I only say that because my mom was the same. And I was the same kind of teenager. I always say this to people and I said it to those women: “I didn’t appreciate my mom until the day I brought home my first child from the hospital”. And ever since then, each day, that appreciation and admiration grows steadily.
Here’s a recipe for a chutney Mom makes all the time. I remember always getting annoyed when chutneys (aka Indian condiments, not fruity marmalades!) were being prepared. “IT’S TOO LOUD!!” Cuz that stupid Osterizer blender (which I now own) made so much noise and we could never gossip on the phone with our teenage friends or watch TV in peace. Happy Mom’s Day to all of you moms that have a boisterous kitchen and boisterous happy children.
Cilantro Chutney (aka “Green” Chutney)
Makes about 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
¼ cup raw unsalted peanuts
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped, discarding only the thick stems
½ serrano chili pepper, coarsely chopped, seeds and all
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peeled gingerroot
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup water
1) Place peanuts in a blender and grind to a medium-fine powder. See my discussion about blenders here.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, adding more water if necessary.
3) Use what you need and freeze the rest!
Copywright: Shef’s Kitchen/Shefaly Ravula