SONGSOPTOK: What, according to you, is the most important place in your house for communicating with the different members of the family? Why?

SHYAMOSREE: Certainly, the place in question is the drawing cum dining room ,where I love to communicate with other members of the family . There is the television and the dining is adjacent; therefore, we gather there, informally, to have a chat on any topic, from politics to every other issue, over a cup of tea/coffee

SONGSOPTOK: In a lot of homes, kitchens are considered to be the nerve center where the whole family congregates at regular periods of the day. Is that the case in your home? Can you give us a brief description of such interactions?

SHYAMOSREE: In case of my home, the kitchen is solely my affair with the helping maids. I interact there only with them Interactions with family members are never there.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you consider cooking as a chore or do you enjoy cooking meals for family and friends? What is it you like most about cooking? What do you like least?

SHYAMOSREE:  My passion is cooking , hence I do enjoy it , naturally. I like the most cooking special dishes for my family , be they traditional , fusion or continental. The least that I like about cooking, is the daily menu and the staple food.

SONGSOPTOK: When you were growing up, did you often visit the kitchen? Was it to raid the fridge or to spend some time with whoever was cooking the meal?

SHYAMOSREE:  Yes, in my teens and in twenties, I used to cook special items in my mom’s kitchen. Never did I raid the fridge and I clung to my mom to learn her signature items.

SONGSOPTOK: Were the cooks mainly women in your family? Did they teach you how to cook? Do you have family recipes that you cook frequently?

SHYAMOSREE:  Yes, the cooks have always been female members in my family. Yes, I learnt cooking from my mother, grandmother and from my aunts too, though my father shared with us the details of my paternal grand mother’s culinary expertise.

SONGSOPTOK: Is your kitchen different from your parents’ or grandparents’ kitchens? In what way? Are there features that you particularly miss? Why?

SHYAMOSREE: No, my kitchen is featured in the model of my ancestors.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that cooking habits always reflect the culture and the practices of the societies we live in? Why? Do you consider this to be a positive or a negative point?

SHYAMOSREE: Yes, of course, cooking habits always reflect the society, we live in. This is certainly a positive point as this cultivates the tradition, the heritage of the generations.

SONGSOPTOK: What kind of food do you like to cook – traditional family dishes / traditional dishes of the country / society you live in / innovative and experimental cooking / fusion cooking / … Will you share some of your favorite recipes with us?

SHYAMOSREE:  I love to cook all types of the above mentioned. Right now, I cannot sort out my favorite ones as there are too many to mention!

SONGSOPTOK: In this context, do you favor the restaurants that offer the so called traditional food? Or would you rather cook it yourself? What is your experience, if any, about these ‘retro’ eateries?

SHYAMOSREE:  The idea to set up such eateries is definitely good ! I would love to taste their items, though at the same time, I would love to cookthem, in my kitchen.My experience in this case, is okay!

SONGSOPTOK:  ‘Fusion cuisine’ has become very popular almost everywhere around the globe. What is your opinion about this trend? Are you an adept of this type of cuisine? Why?

SHYAMOSREE:  Of course, this is good! Time changes and anything hackneyed should be made interesting, in course of time, with innovations .

SONGSOPTOK: Do you watch live cooking shows on TV? What is your opinion about them? Do you think that these programs, immensely popular in almost all countries in the world now, have actually contributed to better cooking and food habits?

SHYAMOSREE:  Yes, I do watch them, they are interesting, most of the times and certainly, they have contributed to better cooking and growth in food habits .

SONGSOPTOK: Do you teach your children to cook? Do you think that a lot of our traditions can be handed down to the next generation through cooking and food habits? Why and in how?

SHYAMOSREE: No I do not force my children to cook, but if they want they can! Yes, traditional and even nontraditional, signature recipes can be handed down to next gen, through cultivation of cooking items and through development in food habits.

SHYAMOSREE CHAUDHURI:  An English teacher by profession with a passion for cooking and with an never ending love to all God’s creations.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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