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The official student news site of Coppell High School

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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

Ode to her: Connecting through cuisine (with video)

At age 5, leaning in to take a bite of the peculiar pile of random chunks my mom placed in front of me, my tongue was immediately hit with the zestiness of the lemon and spicy sauce that coats the potatoes, the crisp and potent flavor of the raw onions, and the chill of fresh cucumbers.

This flavor, so unique and complex, was comforting.

Aloo achar is a popular Nepali dish often served at dinner parties and religious events. Aloo achar, both in Nepali and Hindi, translates to pickled potato. A pickled potato is not a potato dunked and sealed in a brine of various vinegars and spices mixed together, but it’s surrounded in a complex sauce full of spices and oil.

I have tried this achar everywhere, and I can say for sure, nothing compares to my mom’s aloo achar.

Some of my fondest memories with my mom always somehow connect to food. See, my mom never actually learned how to cook these dishes. Her mom never taught her, and her grandma never taught her. How she puts it, she just has that “hand.”

“Hand,” in her terms, refers to someone who just understands how to cook and the way flavors work together to create a dish. My brother does not have the “hand”, and my dad most certainly does not have the “hand,” but she always tells me that I have the “hand.”

From a young age, even before I was told I had the sacred hand, I involved myself in the kitchen. I loved to cook and bake, and it was always something me and my mom could do together.

We would spend hours in the kitchen learning how to make complex desserts, and even the times that we would fail, at least we had tried together.

The more time I spent in the kitchen, my mom started teaching me recipes related to my culture. She would lead me through the process of making both traditional Indian and Nepali meals so that I would miss her food when I go to college.

Through learning these recipes, I have been able to stay truly connected with my Nepali culture. In dishes such as aloo achar, Nepali cuisine uses specific ingredients in order to acquire the taste it develops in its food.

Food allowed a pathway for me and my mom to foster a relationship that resonated on a deeper level. Whether we were running around the kitchen trying to find ingredients for our next creation, or sitting and calmly creating the dish, we would spend hours talking. From starting on simple topics from my mom’s day, she always finds a way to loop in her past or a moral lesson, and in the end, I always learn something.

When I take a bite of my mom’s food, I’m transported back home. For me, home is subjective, because I’ve moved from one house to another through Canada and Texas. Somehow, my mom is able to incorporate all these feelings of all these different places into one nostalgic flavor that coats my mouth, and to me, that’s something no one else except my mom can create.

Follow @rhea_chowdhary and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributor
Rhea Chowdhary
Rhea Chowdhary, Video Editor
Rhea Chowdhary is a junior and the video editor of The Sidekick. She produces, assists and collaborates on videos of the community of Coppell, and creates lots of multimedia content in general. You can contact her by email ([email protected]), and follow her work on Instagram (@rhea.chowdhary) and X (rhea_chowdhary).

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