25 October, 2020

Memories On A Stove

Recreating flavours of home keeps them connected in faraway Goa

Assavri Kulkarni
Memories On A Stove

Recently, at a working-class dhaba in Los Angeles called Taste of India, I ended up talking to the Punjabi cook about being homesick. “My husband only cares about the business,” she said, “but when I cook, I don’t have business in mind, really. What I like is giving the Americans a chance to love our Indian food. Better than that, I love giving the Indians here a chance to feel connected to home. Everything here is so different, every little thing, but when these guys bite into our famous bharta and bhuna gosht, they forget how far away they are from home.” I asked her how long she had been in LA. “Twenty-eight years,” she answered. Isn’t this home, then, I asked. “Well, you know how it is,” she answered, pouring us another chai.

I have met her mirror image, four mirror images, back home in India, Bardez, in north Goa. These four women—Elizabeth Sall of the Lila Cafe, Mariketty Grana of Thalassa, Yogini Rammacher of Villa Blanche, and Kornelia Santoro, who has just...



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