...the pesto pasta at Luca's restaurant in Rome, I confess, was love. It was served piping hot with the Parmesan and olive oil oozing, a taste that made me weep. All the loneliness I had felt in the few hours before disappeared. This was the reawakening of a love affair I had started with Italian food over 4 years ago here in Rome.
Food and I have always shared a mutual love. Born into the Hindu Hare Krsna Religion just about guaranteed that at the very least we would be well fed with a variety westernised Indian prasadam (a word meaning "spiritual food" - " By the tongue you can chant Hare Krsna, and by the tongue you can taste Krsna prasadam, spiritual food") . It also meant that we were vegetarian, a lifestyle choice I have since, and always will maintain.
How good is payday? That little nudge of joy I feel in the back of my stomach when that wonderful fortnight rolls around started when I was a child. Payday meant food! The food that as a child was better than a birthday; chocolate milk, chips, rice bubbles, ice cream, frozen chips - basically the foods that were shelved at eye level in the supermarket ended up on our kitchen table every second Thursday. I think that Thursday Payday may have been my Mums least favorite day. She despised shopping centers and supermarkets, almost as much as she disliked teenagers. After her long night shift, she would walk into the supermarket with a trolley and walk down each aisle pushing products off the shelf into the basket. After being unloaded from the car and dumped on the kitchen table, "first in best dressed" took its meaning. At best the goodies lasted until Sunday. Not because there wasnt enough, but my brothers had developed tendancies like bears in the winter hibernation season. They could stock up easily until 2 more Thursday rolled around. I guess I can thank them for my slim physique.
My Mums idea of cooking, gotta love her, was filling a pot with cold water and pasta shells and boiling until a block of pasta formed, ready to be sliced and served with split peas or the like. And so our step father became the cook. He wasn't any better, but he didn't actually have a job, so it was the least he could do. What a fortunate country Australia is where you can make a career receiving dole checks!
Thank god for Katy, my eldest sister. She ensured we kept a fine pallet for good food and passed on her knowledge of Indian cooking.
As a result my cooking is really the only thing I am truly "cocky" about. Ive not yet met someone that hasn't enjoyed my culinary skills...