Mother-to-Daughter Mistranslations (Newlywed Cooking 101)

2014 Aug 8 - by dulhan
For those of us who have moved out, it is a struggle to recreate the culinary perfection that is a mother’s cooking. This being said, a portion of the blame belongs to the old-school moms who do everything by estimation or “andaaz.” “You’re making daal? Just add a pinch of cumin and a dash of red chili powder.” Yep, we’ve all been there. How much is “ek mutti” (a fistful) of “atta” (flour) anyway? Sigh.

Some of the random tidbits of wisdom our mothers impart:

1. Mismeasurement


Gif courtesy of Ok Movie Quotes

To the Mrs. Bhamras of the world, we love you; we just don’t understand you sometimes!

o Mom: Just add a “chumki” of haldi.

o Translation: Add a sprinkle of turmeric, close to a ½ a teaspoon (tip of your index finger).

2. Weighing in confusion


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o Mom: Too much salt? Adha kilo potatoes add kardo (Add 1/2 kilo of potatoes).

o Translation: If your vegetable curry is too salty, add a ½ kilogram of potatoes/1 pound of potatoes / 4-5 potatoes (of average size).

3. Dismay over lack of cooking skills


Gif Courtesy of BidnessETC

o Mom: Why don’t you ever cook?

o Translation: Isn’t this the second time this week you’ve ordered out?

4. Anxiety over eating habits


Gif Courtesy of MensXP

o Mom: You look sick. Did you eat anything? An extra roti wouldn’t hurt.

o Translation: You haven’t called for cooking advice and you’re slightly skinnier. You must be starving.

5. Cooking and marriage


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o Mom: Shaadi hone de, tab pata chalega.

o Translation: You’ll realize and come to your senses when you’re married. (Evil cackle optional).

6. This generation has it easy


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o Mom: In our times we didn't have so much luxury.

o Translation: Using Shan Masala to cook isn’t really cooking.

7. Chubbiness isn’t endearing when you’re older


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o Mom: Why don't you walk or work out more? You look “healthier.”

o Translation: You are starting to put on weight.

8. Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult.


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o Mom: You finish your studies. You can learn cooking any time.

o Translation: There’s still hope for you beyond Ramen noodles.

South Asian moms may not abide by strict teaspoon or tablespoon measurements; but they do add a special magic touch to every dish that makes it absolutely delicious. Their means of “andaaz” (guessing) is a perfected art that might not translate readily to their daughters, but it can be taught with practice and love. At least, we hope it can!

Image Courtesy of Infinite Promises WordPress

Thank you to the moms who cooked the most amazing meals at home without any expectations of praise. You fed your children as a means of necessity and did so without complaint. We love you and your crazy system of cooking.