Though her first bake happened at the age of 12, she is of the belief that baking is a far more difficult thing to master than cooking. As the age old saying goes, ‘Cooking is an art, baking is a science.’
“As a child, my parents wouldn’t let me go near open fires and stoves, hence I started first with baking. The thing with baking is once you go wrong, you’re wrong. With cooking, however, you can keep tasting a little here and there to check its progress.
With cooking, you can cover up or correct a mistake, with baking you just can’t,” says renowned chef Nita Mehta, the author of about 350 cookbooks, in Chandigarh on Monday.Nita Mehta’s first cookbook came out in 1993 and was titled Vegetarian Wonders. Recalling her readers’ faith during the start of her career, she says, "Back then, readers said that the recipes were written very carefully and there was no margin for error. In fact, some of them even remarked that they felt that their mother is standing beside them and guiding them through the dish."
She also believes that there is a lot of misconception surrounding rice and its so-called fattening qualities. It’s not rice that is fattening according to her, but the fact that people overeat it. “That way, even rotis can be fattening. Rice does to a dinner table what ornaments do to a woman!” she says.
Healthy eating according to her is going to be the next big thing of 2014. “Brightly coloured vegetables, such as bell peppers and broccoli, are going to become a staple for Indian diet, considering the growing health conscious nature of the people,” says Nita.
She also believes that the trend of global travelling has increased and thus refined the palette of Indians in general. “They go out and try all these exotic dishes. When they come back home, they want the same thing; people are also starting to favor authentic world cuisine and not the Indianised version of it.”
And what is her favorite world cuisine? “Definitely Thai, because of its fragrant flavours and spices.”
Any tips for beginners? “When you are reading a cookbook, have faith in it. Read the recipe carefully, collect the ingredients and then start cooking.
Better still, work it out in your mind first, and then do the actual cooking. Also, always cook in a good mood; food is the expression of love. That’s why mothers’ food is different than the staff’s food.”