Remembering Recipes

This story is part of our March “Spring Break” newspaper, currently available online only.


Navroop Kaur, Staff Writer

The fast pace of daily life can steal some of the important moments and memories that bring us lots of peace and comfort. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate more as I’ve gotten older is the joy that comes with cooking and eating. Busy class schedules means that I’m often grabbing whatever I can find for breakfast and fitting lunch in between classes. Break from school is a time for me to slow down and rediscover a part of my life I grew up with and enjoy an important part of our lives; food. 

A staple in my household is tea. From chai, green tea, or a mix of whatever we find in the house, tea is constantly being made in the kitchen. Surrounded by the steam from the boiling water and the smell of tea brewing, my mom and I will get together around the stove and catch up with each other.

In my home, tea is especially meaningful because it signifies unity and connection to the people around you. Tea is prepared to be shared with people, while listening to their stories and connecting over common interests; a comforting tradition that is shared and perpetuated throughout generations. 

One of my favorite tea combinations is made by adding a few cardamom pods, anise, cloves, and a few spoonfuls of loose leaf rose tea into the boiling water. 

Growing up on a vegetarian diet, a lot of dishes were centered around foods such as potatoes, grains, beans, and lentils. One of my favorite dishes my mom prepared was a vegetarian sandwich known as a Bombay sandwich. This is a popular street sandwich and something my mom introduced us to, quickly becoming a household favorite. 

With my extra free time during this break, I was able to remind myself of recipes I had forgotten about. The Bombay sandwich is usually made with potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and usually paired with a chutney. There are many variations for fillings but the common non-negotiable ingredients are chutney and a mix of spices. A green herb chutney made from cilantro and mint is a favorite for my family. 

Speaking of favorites, french toast is a classic in many homes. It was a childhood favorite and something that was associated with special occasions and a special treat for breakfast. So, when my brother and I were roaming the aisles of the grocery store and saw a fluffy brioche bread, this reminder of childhood comfort food re-emerged. When we have the luxury of time in the morning, my brother and I take the time to cook these recipes we otherwise do not have time for. French toast was a classic childhood recipe that we finally have the time to enjoy. 

Familiar smells and tastes are powerful when it comes to associations with memories and nostalgia. Most of the dishes in our home include a variety of spices and herbs– so incorporating those into this french toast recipe is another way of blending comforting flavors that fill your home with the smells and sounds of the food you love. 

Cooking, in my home, was taught to be a mindful experience. Each ingredient has its importance, not only to the dish, but to the overall environment.

So this time, in an effort to blend different flavors and ingredients to a familiar recipe, we made our favorite: cardamom syrup. Crushed up cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick added to about a cup of water and some sugar. Let the sugar dissolve and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes. This syrup added to the french toast was a perfect blend of flavors and foods that our house enjoys. After the addition of honey goat cheese and a variety of cut up fruit, it was the perfect comfort meal to start the day.