Make yourself a nourishing cuppa.
Let’s catch up around my kitchen table.
This is the story so far…
Except that’s not how it turned out.
On Sunday nights, I would take the nourishing delicious meals that I had prepared for my family the previous week and throw them away. We couldn’t make the time to sit down and eat the prepared meals, because of how gruelling our schedule was. This wasn’t how I was raised, and I remember crying and feeling helpless when I emptied the containers out week after week. I wanted to do better but I didn’t see a way out.
I learned from a young age that the heart of
the family beat in the kitchen, around the table.
My husband and I moved to Canada 17 years ago, the kids arrived, and good food became even more important.
I started writing Maple and Marigold in 2017 because I wanted to share how spices, herbs, cooking techniques and healthy shortcuts can add the flavour of India into daily cooking in Canada.
My kitchen in Canada looks a lot different from my mother’s back home in India. Our spice palette aka the spice box aka masala dabba is made of the same colours but our life is a whole lot different. That means I am constantly looking for ingredients and shortcuts that help me get amazing food to the table, faster, without sacrificing any of the flavour I remember from my mother’s cooking.
With some experimenting over the years, I’ve recreated traditional dishes like keema matar (ground meat curry) to become a regular weeknight dinner feature, found acorn squash to be an delicious replacement for lauki, and discovered that turmeric makes an excellent addition to mashed potatoes.
Which brings me to spices.
I believe that food is more than fuel. Food can support our immune system, reduce inflammation and boost our mental health.
Traditional Indian wisdom has tons of advice about foods, herbs and spices in particular. Whole spices bring flavour and aroma and texture but that’s not all.
Certain foods and spices have nutritional qualities that can heal and protect. Turmeric and fennel seeds can form our first line of defence against colds and coughs. Ajwain (Bishop’s weed) is known to soothe a troubled digestive system. Like these examples there are many others that can help support our immunity, remove inflammation and boost our mental health. Generations of grandmas knew it long before we did when they comforted kids with a cuppa haldi doodh (turmeric milk) at bed time. I’m glad the science is finally caught up.
Food nourishes and heals but there’s more. I believe that good food should also be good for those who grow and raise it, the community, and the planet.
So I started going behind-the-scenes at farms and grocery stores and with farmers and researchers to understand our food, and the work that goes into production and distribution. I wanted the facts. What I found shocked me.
I discovered 58% of food produced in Canada is wasted. So I went back to my roots and started writing what we could do in our homes.
In today’s fast paced world of takeout, drive-throughs and meal kits, it is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with what we eat.
I love the convenience of how easily we can feed ourselves, however food is more than just energy.
This journey has helped me understand not only the path that our food takes from farm to kitchen table, but has also helped me see how as a family we can use our buying habits to vote for change.
Small sustainable steps can have a big impact over time. Many consumers doing their best within their means can make a difference.
Steps like using cauliflower and broccoli stems in everyday cooking, shopping our pantry to see what we have, and finding out from the grocer why strawberries are available all-year long.
Spoiler Alert: it’s because we keep asking for them in the dead of winter.
I invite you to join this journey so that together we can take small steps towards an abundant and sustainable real life.