My nani was a simple homemaker. And an excellent cook. Not only her regular khana was fingerlicking good, but also her sweets and pickles were out of this world.
As a small child, I had observed her, on various occasions, making sweets for her extended family – her married daughters, sisters-in-law who stayed in Delhi, her own sisters who were scattered all around the north east. She effortlessly made parwal ki mithai, mohanthal, kaju and badam ki katli, besan ke ladoo and what not. And very carefully, she put chandi ki varakh on katlis and mohanthals. It was a treat to watch her working in the kitchen. In the summer vacation, she made pickles – mango and gund.
My nani put adequate amounts of sugar (sugar was not a bad word then and the words like ‘processed’, ‘refined’ and ‘organic’ had still not been coined) and copious amounts of ghee. No wonder her sweets tasted like little bits of heaven.
Fortunately for me, my mother inherited the cooking genes from my nani. She is a super cook as well.
It’s been 14 years since I have been married, but my mother still sends me ‘moong ki dal ka halwa’ and ‘churme ka ladoo’ on Diwali. Her sweets have sugar and ghee and her love.
When I ask her, why so much ghee and sugar, she tells me, “It’s homemade. You know what quantity of sugar and what quality of ghee you are putting in, unlike market bought where you are not sure whether they are serving you hydrogenated oils.”
Point noted. The culprits are not sugar and ghee, but the mediocre quality food and adulteration that is found aplenty in store bought foods.
At least with homemade foods, you know what you are eating, even if it’s sugar, ghee or refined flour.
Now, you know why homemade sweets are better than store bought ones.