I grew up at my mother’s side, mainly in the kitchen.
In this blue-tiled kitchen I memorised my math tables while Dhandar bubbled on the stove and spent many days helping my mum create yet another set of thermocol fairy wings for the upcoming fancy dress competition. Throughout the years, I’ve seen her make circle-shaped sandwiches (because I hated the square shaped ones), home-made chutney’s, curries to warm the soul on a rainy night and out-of the box attempts at dessert.
In fact, I am sure this love for creating food runs in the family as my maternal grand-mom, or ‘mamaiji’ as I used to call her spent her life catering for others and making packed lunches/dinners. I remember as a wise little 8 year old telling her that I could possibly not continue living if I didn’t have her red coconut curry atleast once a week – “Before you die, make me a huge pot of curry so that I don’t miss you too much“, I think were the exact words.
However, despite my love for eating Parsi food – or bawa delicacies as they are colloquially called – I grew up only learning to make European/International flavoured food. Pre-marriage, I was called “Miss Continental Cook” by all and sundry because at any dinner party I’d be the one experimenting with nachos or steak or shepherd’s pie; leaving the sumptious prawn pulao, kebab, dhansak etc to my mom a.k.a. “Mrs. Parsi Cook”.
And now, here I am 26, a freshly minted Bawi Bride, away from my mom in another country with no idea how to cook the Parsi delicacies my man (and ofcourse I) grew up with.
I realised though that I am probably not alone. The love for Parsi food, I think is conversely proportional to the size of our community. Despite this love, there are hundreds of brides each year in a similar situation as me with no idea how to cook the food we love as the recipes that were always passed through the generations are hard to get/learn as we move away thousands of miles away from our parents. So, as I learn to cook my Parsi favourites by wading through the Jamwa Chalo Ji’s of Katy Dalal and my hastily scribbled food notes (made thanks to midnight Skype calls with mom) I decided to document my journey.
The hope is that all us Bawi Brides can learn to cook these traditional delicacies together. Follow me on my journey and share your Parsi favourites too so we can leave back a legacy of our traditions for the next generations of Bawi Brides to follow. Something they can Google this time around.