Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Estonian with a small appetite

Produced & Edited by Signe Ivask
Tartu, Estonia

I have never had problems with eating. While growing up there was a law, that me and my brother needed to obey: not only eat your greens, but eat the other stuff as well. And there were not foods that I did not like. Really. And now, as a grown up, I have changed, there are so many foods that are not my cup of tea. Maybe the law was not that bad after all and maybe the freedom of choice has changed me to worse?

When talking about Estonian food, then it might seem really bland to a person who is used to lots of spices. We love salt and pepper. That is it and all.

The very first time I had Indian food was back in 2012, in England. My friend’s stepfather is indian, so he took us out on Christmas Eve to eat Indian food. It was their tradition. I agreed to join them, but warned everyone, that I do not take spicy and hot food well. The first experience was bad, my mouth was on fire, I swore I was done with testing other culture’s food. It was just too much to handle for this lover of bland taste.


It was after the first shopping tour when my roommate of SUSI2016 asked if she could cook us anything to eat. I was more than happy, because I prefer home cooking to every other food. Everything was going smoothly until Mausumi asked me to chop chilis. TWO of them. “You are a crazy lady!” “Oh you think we should add three?” THREE? I usually add a quarter of a chili to my food (IF ANY). Not two or three!

Probably some kind of voodoo seeds.
To be completely honest, then a huge amount of thoughts crossed my mind, and the thoughts consisted of me and the spicy food and me not eating it. With a brave heart and soul I chopped the chilis like a true champion, considering different strategies in my mind: how to avoid this food and if I manage to do so, what should I eat then?


I was wrong. So very wrong. And I am embarrassed of how wrong I was.

The first food - and every other ever since - that Mausumi made, was excellent. Absolutely perfect. There were hints of hot, but it was not overwhelming. And it was good, believe me, it was very good. It had spices, but they did not damage my stomach or mouth. What is more, she took my weirdness into account and did not add meat to the food. She is lovely. She is a wonderful cook.

Lentils and rice.
The first food was called khichudi, it consisted of rice and lentils and a few of indian spices. Seems such an easy food, but I cannot make it on my own, it would not taste the same. It tasted heavenly. I do not know how she did it. 

This was the beginning of our tradition. We… okay, Mausumi cooks every now and then. I missed her cooking while being on the road. We shop together, but she cooks and makes wonders happen in the kitchen. Amel chops the vegetables and I, well, I take pictures (see below).

Amel preparing a fresh salad.

I must confess that I have cheated my way out of cooking. But maybe this helps: I wash up the dishes. Maybe? Anyone?

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