Christmas is a time when families gather around sumptuous home-cooked meals, with recipes that are passed down generations. Author and chef Maria Goretti shares her Christmas traditions. “When we were kids, every year my mum would make baked chicken and it’s something I still make for Christmas. I am a big fan of East Indian bottle masala and I have learnt how to incorporate it in my chicken,” says Goretti who fuses her East Indian roots with the French cooking techniques she learnt at culinary school.
The 48-year old, whose tryst with cooking began with the birth of her son, says it all happened organically. Along the journey, she fell in love with the whole process. “Food is magic and I think no matter what phase of life you are in, it does have the power to heal. It’s cathartic to the person who makes the meal. If it’s made with honesty and love, and with the intent of sharing, it becomes such a beautiful binder. Food is like music; there is no demarcation or language that you can’t understand,” she says.
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Currently exploring some lesser-known parts of India with her kids Zeke and Zene, she believes that travelling is therapeutic. “To travel is to feel alive and to feel peace. It’s something that heals and soothes my soul. I love kitchens. Every time I go to a new place, I always go and learn something new. I come back with a recipe or two. I take back a piece of that place in the form of food,” she says.
Travelling and being on the road in the new normal can come with its challenges but not one to lose heart, she says it is ok as long as one takes requisite precautions. “This is a different kind of world and you have to sensible. Don’t be paranoid, it’s not going to help anyone. You just have to be smart about it. See to it that you keep yourself sanitised and safe,” she advises.
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One takeaway that she takes from this pandemic is that planning is futile. “Not that I was ever a planner, this pandemic has reiterated the fact that no, don’t make plans because things can turn any second and you have to be open to whatever the universe is giving you. I am sure amazing things await,” she concludes.
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