Meet Anshu Wadhwa Pande a lawyer turned food blogger at www.thesecretingredient.in and a mum who shares on her journey of her life in the hills, on motherhood, on little joys in life and on food.
“I am the only child of my parents and since a little girl I have been taught to be strong, virtuous and kind to people and animals. I was always a tomboy which meant to do things which were a little offbeat for girls of my age. I learnt Taekwondo, played Basketball, was into swimming at the same time learnt music and also reiki. My mother and me share a very close bond. She is not just my mother but also my guru, my friend, my partner in crime and at the same time, someone who would lend me an ear when I need it the most.
I never had interest in cooking until I got married. It was then I started learning how to cook from my mother over telephone calls. I would ask my mother in law what she wanted for dinner and instantly rush to the washroom with my phone. My mother instructed me how to make that dish and I would casually come out and cook that for everyone. This went on for good three months until I was on my own. That was the only cooking lessons I took in my life. And today whatever I am is because of my mother.
I lived in Mexico for four years and that is where I became a mother of a handsome boy. A couple of years back we moved back to our country and decided to live in Almora. It’s a small and relatively less popular hill station in the Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. We are lucky to be living in the lap of nature surrounded by breathtaking views and a clean environment.
Moving from a big city to a suburb on the hills wasn’t easy as life on the hills is not always a piece of cake. It has its own advantages and disadvantages. Apart from the clean environment, hills are far away from the city hustle bustle and very peaceful. We do not have issues like traffic jams, pollution and unbearable summers. We may have limited good schools and almost no places of amusement for kids but when I see my son bonding with nature, chasing butterflies, kissing flowers and hugging dogs I know we have made a right choice. What nature can teach you no one else can. I get to spend good quality time with my son because there aren’t any distractions of a city life. At the end of the day I am content with what life has given me.
I started food blogging out of sheer passion and which eventually became my profession.
Honestly, a part of me misses my law profession but I guess nothing can take that learning away from me whether I practice law or not. The lawyer inside me often pushes me to encourage people to fight for their rights. Be it empowering women, protection of intellectual rights and even enforcement of right of education amongst kids. Nevertheless, my passion for food makes me hungry to do more in food blogging and I can’t be more content with life.
As an outsider it might seem such an incredible thing to have a mother as a food blogger but in reality its a funny story. My little one thinks cakes and cookies and breads can be made in a figgy and that whenever he orders they should be made available. As a mother I have to churn out new healthy recipes very often because ordinary doesn’t please him. In nutshell the bar is raised. A food blogger mother has to have new recipes up her sleeves and not to mention it should be plated beautifully.
I may have learnt a lot of recipes from my mother and got acclaims but then there is something special about the way my mother cooks them, it makes them outrageously delicious. How hard I may try, I can never match to her perfection and taste. One such recipe is a Punjabi dish made from Cauliflower Stems “Gobhi Danthal”. Whenever I am home I request her to make the same for me.
I love Pastas and for me nothing brings in more comfort than making a pasta. Pasta dishes are very versatile. The dish can be easily adjusted to suit anyone’s preference. You can make it healthy by adding no cheese or cream and using whole wheat pastas. The sauce variations are endless and can be pulled together in no time. I have done broccoli pastas, Pasta made with vodka sauce, pasta Salads and even traditional Lasagnas which are elaborate but still fun.
I wish I belonged to an ordinary class of food bloggers and could name a few of my favourite restaurants. I live in a remote place where eating out is out of option. There are very few eateries out here which do not offer elaborate menu. If craving sets in, multi cultural cuisine is often made at home be it Thai, Mexican, Italian and alike.
I love to experiment with new kinds of food and love to recreate dishes following their traditional recipes. My son, Vedant is 4 years old. Motherhood has made me more patient and less reckless. It has instilled in me sense of responsibility especially towards my kid. It makes me think about the world from a new perspective. I carefully watch my action and words because I know I am a role model for my kid. Growing up kids are like sponge they absorb everything around them.
Therefore to set a right example is very important. I am not sure what future holds for him but all I pray that he becomes a good human being who respects nature, dignity of labour and woman. I will ensure I instill in him these virtues which act as a guiding light for him.
I am sharing three recipes here from my blog – Chyawanprash Cookies: http://www. thesecretingredient.in/ chyawanprash-cookies- ayurvedic-chyawanprash- cookies-eggless-whole-wheat- chyawanprash-cookies/
Wild Fiddlehead Fern & Angel Hair Pasta: http://www. thesecretingredient.in/wild-fiddlehead-fern-angel-hair- pasta-pahadi-lingda-with- garlic-and-herb-pasta/
Vanilla and Pomegranate Cake: http://www. thesecretingredient.in/ vanilla-pomegranate-cake- vanilla-cake-with-pomegranate- syrup/
Lately, food Blogging has become a very popular hobby and there is no harm in pursuing it if it is triggered by passion. I would like to say a few things to my fellow food blogger friends:
- Be original and never try to ape anyone. It’s a tough competition out there so originality is something which will make you stand out.
- Be proud of your traditional recipes, they are the ones which need to be treasured and passed on to the next generation.
- Never ever try to copy anyone’s work, by copy I mean indulge in Plagiarism. 4. Try to capture your food with good photography. If the food looks tempting people are lured to try it. “
When asked on three kitchen tips for others to implement in their homes, Anshu shares,
- “To get fluffy Rice add a tsp of Whisked curd to it while cooking the rice will fluff up and each grain will be separate.
2. Keep lemon in microwave for 5 seconds and then take out the juice from it. You will get maximum juice out of it.
3.When Cooking Spinach if you cook it covered the colour of spinach will turn darker from fresh green and if you cook it without its lid on it will retain its beautiful green colour.”
Wishing Anshu a great journey ahead in food blogging, being a mum and everything she pursues in life.