Valentine’s Day Special




It is February, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. One of the most romantic moments occurred to our Konkani mam while walking through the pizza aisle in his favorite food store when his loving wife said. “None of these frozen pizzas have the taste of your homemade pizza.”,

Konkani madame could no longer enjoy readymade pizza. That is the beauty of home cooking made with generous amounts of love. Amchilgelo mam muttered and that made for a classic TV moment.

Every cook seems to have their own rules about which foods should always be prepared fresh and which can be purchased, whether from a grocery store or restaurant. Some of these reasons are cultural and some are personal. My mother used to make her own butter. I bet the present generation would think it is rocket science and would not even dream about making their own butter. When our kids were younger there were always a few cans of Campbell’s soup in the pantry. Now that they are grown and gone, our cupboard has never since been graced by those red and white cans. These days soup or kolombo is always made from scratch.

In my experience, when you cook an exotic dish people think you have some kind of talent. We recently served our guests homemade falafel and hummus. Even though we found it a breeze to make, they were impressed because of the perceived difficulty. I think it is because the packaged and restaurant varieties of these foods are so ubiquitous that we imagine them to be trickier to make than they actually are. Few things are more exciting as a cook than the moment when you discover that food you believed you had to buy is no trouble to make.

We each have our own mental barriers about foods that are too intimidating to prepare but once tried, the homemade version will often trump the packaged version.

Browsing through the library of cookbooks, I came upon an interesting book, “An Unapologetic Cook” by a young chef named Joshua Weissman, who is trying to encourage people to make more foods from scratch instead of buying them. Weissman’s argument is that you do not know how much better something can be made until you make it yourself. This brings me back to the comments from Konkani mai, that homemade pizza made with sauce from scratch made grade A plus for authenticity and taste.

What is the point of making your tomato sauce and pizza crust when it is so easy to buy? Mr. Weissman offers a few different reasons. He observes that making your own is an instant ego boost and an even bigger flavor boost. What about making something like butter? Josh’s view is that it is “essential to learn how to make “one of the greatest foods on the planet.”

It is certainly a fun project to follow Weissman’s butter recipe by whipping heavy cream in a food processor for a few minutes before straining and rinsing in ice-cold water. Once you try your finished pat of golden butter you think “wow, did I really make this?”

That evening Konkani mam got an interesting suggestion from his Valentine, “How about franchising your pizza recipe?”. Cheers and smiles!!!, A happy wife is a happy life, that was the musing from Konkani mam. That made for a very happy Valentine’s Day in this Konkani household.

Here is a challenge for my OKA family. How about making something romantic for your Valentine from scratch and sharing it on OKA Facebook page. Creativity and romance all in one.

Wishing all of my OKA family Happy Valentine’s Day!

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About the author…
Madhav Shanbhag moved to GTA in 2017, after spending more than 40 years in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In retirement, Madhav enjoys the luxury of a few hours of leisure and nature time