Mother's Day - Celebrating the Nourishers in our Lives

Mothers play a pivotal role in our lives.  Could anyone really argue against that?  And it is not because ‘Heaven is under the Mother’s feet’ – although there is not much one could say after the Quran gives Mothers a position that exalted.

When do Mothers not nourish us, unconditionally?  Mothers sacrifice their own bodies to nourish us in their womb.  Mothers nourish us during in the early months of our lives.  Mothers nourish us emotionally with love, attention and sometimes discipline as we grow into toddlers and then teens.  Mothers continue their roles as nourishers of our growth into adulthood, and beyond, if we are lucky. 

Let’s talk something more basic – food.  Everyone has their own loving memories of the tasty, delectable foods their Mother cooked for them, so lovingly and tenderly.  Sometimes because you were sick, or just not feeling well; or acting like you were not feeling well just to not go to school.  Sometimes it was because you were feeling down because you did not do so well on the exam, or your Dad scolded you for not doing well on the exam. 

Whatever the occasion, there was always that special food, made just for you.  And you would enjoy every bite.  I can still remember the layered parathas my Mother made for breakfast.  The hot steam rising, and the sweet smell of the Desi Ghee emanating from each layer as they got separated.  That delightful sight and smell wafting in through your nose, making you hungrier.  That golden crispy piece of dough wrapped around a perfectly fried egg…the perfectly cooked egg white bordered by a sublime brown edge, dipped in the golden, runny yolk – the prefect ‘Nawala’ as it made its way into your mouth, ready to be relished slowly… 

But I have to say the dish that I remember the best, were my Mother’s thin, sliced, fried potatoes.  It was a weekly, popular, most requested.  Me and my siblings helped as much as we were allowed to.  The potatoes had to be sliced just so thin.  Then they were washed clean.  The wide, flat pan was coated, no, soaked, in ghee.  The sliced potatoes were added to the pan carefully, to create as close to a single layer as possible.  A pinch of salt, some ground red pepper, and a spoonful or two of cumin.  That was it.  Then the wait for the potatoes to get crispy on one side so they could be flipped over.  It only took about 30 minutes, but the results were heavenly.  Somehow each slice was a crispy and crunch brown around the edges and on one side, but a golden yellow, soft, and tender in the middle.  We would cherish every bite of the potatoes by themselves, with a handmade roti, or with a spoonful of white rice.

I am so glad my children were able to enjoy those potatoes as much as I did – they requested my Mother to make them almost as much as I did, and she would make

them with a delightful laugh, asking them to help just like she used to ask us.

Old age gets to all of us, and my Mother has not been able to make the potatoes for a while.  But she is still the same loving person, and she still loves food.  We often talk about the many wonderful, shared memories, which somehow end up around food and cooking. 

So, here's to all the Mothers out there who have nourished us all our lives, by feeding us, cooking for us, consoling us, encouraging us, and staying quiet when that is what we needed.

Sure, we have Mother’s Day on a certain day, but we all know that the real Mother’s day is every day of the year, whether it is with our Mothers with us, or with them in our hearts.

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