If you had told the 18 yr old me that I would be a passionate baker with penchant for cooking, a green activist, a "creative" person who would one day love to express herself through writing and photography - I would have laughed (and hard) to your face. No, not being rude, but that notion would have been implausible to the outgoing, "I am happy to just eat- thank you
" me with dreams of working a 8am to 6pm software career; and possibly travelling the world. But life happens and like they say "Never say never!" since no one knows what this journey brings. Except for the travelling part, I have done and doing other things that I never thought I will ever do! My blog - chefinyou.com
has transformed me in so many ways and this following list would be my top 6!
Blogging started this passion for growing our food in whatever space we got. From starting the process with 3 small pots to now multiple raised beds, this love affair has come far. Hope it continues and passes to my little one. While I just have two articles - How to build raised garden beds
and Bell Peppers (Capsicum): Planting, Growing & Harvesting for Beginners
, I am hoping to add more as and when time permits. The husband comes from a family of "green thumbs" and that was such a bonus for the transitioning me.
2. Birds and Bees
Who knew a simple thing like blogging could cause such a domino effect? Once that led to gardening, my attention naturally turned to Nature's pollinators - bees. Then started the process of growing flowers to attract and keep them happy. Then my attention turned to birds. Feeding birds had an added benefit - they also ate the unnecessary pests from our garden and kept our produce safe for us. They are such a calming presence from morning to evening and are a welcome part of our garden. My son has joined me in naming the squirrels in our garden. If you are in our neighborhood, you will either find me scolding my son or the squirrels for being mischievous.
3. Iron Clad Vessels
I am like a kid at a candy store around cast iron pans! These last for EVER and are just so versatile. Do they need care? Of course they do. But the benefits for such a small payment is immense. When seasoned properly, even eggs slide off like water from a baby's bum. That's how smooth and slick free these are. I still remember how my mom was at her wits end looking at my cast iron collection when she visited me years ago. She complained that cooking in my kitchen was akin to working out in a gym cos of all the heavy lifting! Ha Ha. She could not lift my skillets (and I have quite a few) but in all honesty, she got better at it after few weeks. Can you see the all round benefits? :)
4. Beauty in its fragility
If I terrorized my mother with Cast iron skillets before (heavy!), I have now added this clay pot (fragile) to her horrors as well. These are prized in India and in places like Kerala, these are family heirlooms passed down generations. At this point, have to mention that I am indeed blessed to have friends in my life who enable/gift me with such valuable possessions. Who knew, that I would get this excited to see/own a simple mud pot? Wonders happen.
5. Getting real by saying NO to plastics!
Once you get into "Nature" business, awareness of man made toxicity increases. Oceans
, animals and birds
, why even us
are all being burdened by this plastic poison. Our society is into everything superficial and plastic. Getting real is just a step away. I started this process in my home 5 years ago trying to get rid of as many harmful elements as possible and its journey began in my kitchen. My kitchen now is 99% plastic free with stainless steel, glass and ceramic replacing it. I am yet to find ways of bypassing plastic packaging - that's a work in progress.
6. Homemade solution to homemade mess!
Very surprisingly, the process of making my own home made cleaning solution has been therapeutic to put it mildly. I started this when I couldn't find toxic free alternatives and there was period in our lives when I was always covered in something white (washing soda, baking powder, epsom salts, citric acid et al) and smelled like vinegar (much to my little one's displeasure!). I still remember being extremely proud when I made moisturizing bars to give away as gifts. Now, there are so many better options in the market and I buy them whenever I am hard pressed to make some of my own.
Bonus - 'Cos Its a piece of cake!
Ahh, making 3D cakes had to make its way to this list - even as an afterthought. For a person who did/does not care for eating cakes (yes, its true!), I seem to have quite an inclination making them
. My opening line to most of my acquaintances is "I make a good neighbor" for the sole reason that all my "experiments" will end up in your mouth! Given that, none of my proverbial guinea pigs run away at my sight, I think I am not torturing them... yet! But the inception of my 3D cake making happened when my little dude turned one. We were not into parties and hence thought to make my own cake on a whim. Who knew that this journey would have lasted for so many years. This is still a "once/twice a year" undertaking, but my family seems to be happy with my creations till date - and that to me matters the most. :)