Food that takes us back in time

I guess everyone has those special dishes that take them back to their childhood days. I have a few that instantly transport me back in time. Here’s one that brings back special memories. Our mum’s favourite dish – stuffed cauliflower with green peas and chutney – it reminds me of the time my eldest sister entered a cooking competition in college. My teenage sister who very rarely made visits to the kitchen decided to master this dish. It was special, both in taste and appearance. I recall my dad advising her to try something simpler but she was adamant. She wanted to impress her teachers and friends in college. You can imagine our plight. She would practice the dish every day and we had to eat it for six days at a stretch! She had mastered the dish by day six (thankfully) and pulled it off by winning the first prize, but at home, it was only cooked again after two months!
Another dish that is very close to my heart has been lovingly named ‘Picnic Aloo’. It reminds me of my childhood travel on the Indian railways. A simple dish of boiled potatoes prepared in a blend of Indian spices and eaten with fried puris (a type of naan bread), our mum would always pack this in the traditional Indian tiffins or dabbas when we would travel as a family. Midway through our train journeys, she would carefully take the tiffin and lay the food out for us to enjoy along with some home made mango pickle. Today, when I make this dish at home, just the whiff of its aroma takes me back in time to those simple, long and fun filled days on the train!
What’s your favourite childhood dish?

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