As my mother-in-law always told me, the most important ingredient in any dish is love.
Love is exactly what you could see and taste in the home economics classes at Shri Shikshayatan School In Kolkata. While cooking under their watchful teacher’s eyes, students told stories of their favorite memories of food and family celebrations. It was obvious that they understood the value of good food at a family gathering.
What was also obvious was their care for their cooking and each other.￼ Students helped each other when ingredients could not be remembered – no recipes here! Their teaching inspired one young lady to remember the flavors of her mother’s dish, which made her eyes flash as she realized what was missing. Students tasted each other’s Chaat and made either suggestions or “mmmmm” sounds!
What was mesmerizing was watching them work in teams. One rolled out each circle of savory Puri dough feeling it after every roll, picking it up, flipping it over, working it again, testing the edges, glancing at each other’s work to remind or suggest.
Another team fried the Puri in three ways: deep fried in basket shapes with carefully carved slits, deep fried flat (and they puffed up beautifully) and shallow deep fried flat.
The flavors of India are intricate and skillfully combined – but the tastes I will remember as the best are from the loving hands of Shri Shikshayatan School’s Home Arts students and their teacher.