Shef's Kitchen

Food and Cooking Stories from an Indian-American girl nicknamed Shef

This Aarti Doesn’t Party May 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shefskitchen @ 2:23 pm

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.

Beautiful lady, isn't she?

(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.

Camp Blogaway Attendees

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


19 Responses to “This Aarti Doesn’t Party”

  1. amee Says:

    great post, shefy! love the photo you picked out of mom! And you turned out to be such an amazing mom too! 🙂

  2. Valentina Says:

    i love this. happy Mother’s Day to you!

  3. Hi!! Thank you for the teaching us the correct way of pronouncing Aarti! It was great meeting you last weekend and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch! Take care!

    • shefskitchen Says:

      You’re welcome! I thought you all should know 😉 Was awesome meeting you as well!

  4. Amit Says:

    Loved the pic. Thanks for sharing. You and Amee express soo well. Your Dads got something to do with that! 🙂

  5. You are so sweet to say this! IT was my daughter, Olivia’s prom, and it was definitely the right decision to careen back down that hill to be with her. Such a pleasure to meet you! Even though Camp Blogaway was short for Nancie and I, we still loved it and so enjoyed meeting you. Can’t wait to make the chutney (and your mom did a great job–you are lovely!)

    xo, Jill O’Connor

    • shefskitchen Says:

      Was a PLEASURE to meet you both as well, but too brief 😦 You are so sweet to say the same. Your words and our conversation really made an impact on me, as did other conversations during Camp Blogaway. What a super weeekend! I’m glad I have a link to your site now!

  6. To me, there is no higher calling than a stay-at-home mom. I thank my mom all the time for staying home with us. Like your mom, she taught me the values and worth of cooking, spending time with family, preserving traditions, and so much more. It warms my heart to see you have such a loving relationship with your mom as do I. We’re so lucky.

    • shefskitchen Says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Susan! Thank you for reading and stopping by. Moms are the BEST!!

  7. Kim Says:

    A beautiful tribute to your Mom!!

    I didn’t really appreciate my Mom as a child, or even as a teenager. But I REALLY missed her after I left for college, and I’ve longed for her since. 🙂

    It was also WONDERFUL to meet you at Camp!!!


  8. I adore Indian food, and I love hearing about your family. You and your sister’s stories are so charming. Thanks for sharing.

  9. […] Same as above, adding in a thin layer of cilantro chutney. Recipe coming soon!   Here is the recipe!! […]

  10. […] talked about chutneys here before, […]

  11. […] talked about chutneys here before, […]

  12. […] talked about chutneys here before, […]

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