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what love tastes like

WARNING: This post turned out to be so much longer than I planned. It just goes on and on and on. Sorry!

My little family had the honour of being the token Indians at a completely crazy Halloween party hosted by a delightful Irish couple and their friends. Batwings on head Girl went above and beyond the call of anything I’ve ever seen. The house was truly the most haunted one on the block, the treats were gooey and bloody and oogly boogley and there was even a pumpkin brain with blood glooping out of it. Yes, it was a fantastic party!      

It was also there that anoder crayzy Irish woman in her delicious accent asked me what my death row meal would be – and without missing a heartbeat I said it would have to be mum’s pork curry chawal. I think it’s because you know when food tastes like love. You can really taste it. Food tastes like love when it’s made with love. 

Like the McDonalds curry Batwings served us that night. It was sweet and spicy and chickeny and divine. That was food from the heart. (I found out later, once I started to understand the Irish accent, that it wasn’t from Maccas. It’s made using McDonnell’s Curry Powder!)

That meal tasted of joy and friendship and was especially meaningful because a family opened their hearts and homes to us and welcomed us in. I also tasted Irish Poison for the first time. It burned a hole on the way down but my big brave husband said I was a wuss. He diluted his with ice and polished off the entire glass. 

I asked my son what love tasted like. He said ‘Sweet, creamy and soft.’ And my other little boy said ‘Mum, you CANNOT taste love but you sure can feel it.’ I secretly think love is a big juicy pork rib for him, he just doesn’t know it yet.  

I also think my husband was being silly but he said ‘Bananas!’ and so, because I am a ‘research scientist’, I had to throw this question out there.

In no particular order here are some of the responses I got. My brave and beautiful friend Twisty Lovely Locks said ‘It is soft and very gentle on the palette and the taste lingers…’

One friend said ‘Bitter-sweet, usually.’ And another said ‘Mostly sweet, sometimes spicy sweet. And when it hurts, bitter-sweet.’ I also think Fluffer’s response makes a great pickup line. Ready? He says ‘Anything spicy that will make your mouth numb for a while but will not deter you from eating the same for your next meal!!!’

Mum wrote saying ‘Love can taste hot n spicy or deliciously creamy n sweet….. Depending on the mood!’ My woowoo sister said ‘It tastes like warm sweet velvety Kaety Aunty’s caramel pudding.’ Wow mum, that’s huge!

A cuzzie said ‘For me barbecue sauce, sweet smoky sticky and yummy’ and yet another had this description. She simply said ‘Strawberries.’ Strawberries must be popular, because I just had another friend say ‘True love tastes like pavlova with strawberries and bubbles. But a picnic with French baguette and cheese and a lovely chilled white wine is love too.’  

The Irish must love their berries because Sheena said ‘Delicious raspberries drizzled in cream… Ah that makes me think of home. We used to have “organic” raspberry bushes (organic as in we did nothing to them).’

Lots of kids said ‘Chocolate mud cake’ and their mum is still thinking about her answer. (But she got featured in the death row question so I might not wait till she replies!)

Then there was Taz. She said ‘Wow what a question! I’m inclined to answer with something sweet because it has good connotations. It tastes like the sweet light fluffiness of fairy floss and meringues.’ I also love this other reply – ‘Rose petal ice cream, martini, etc. Rose petal anything.’  

And then this from Shobanana. ‘Love tastes like a full meal. From tickling starters, some boring veggies, some interesting side dishes, lots of rice to keep you full and plenty of spicy kolambu to keep you going. And finally the sweet dessert to satisfy you. It is a bit of everything that I taste. If it weren’t for it all then there would be no balance.’

But I think my favourite one of all was Zinn’s. It deserves two separate paragraphs. She said, and I have to quote, ‘Oh god! Love! Love is an ocean-wide banquet full of unexpected delights and jolts, sweetness and craving. It tastes sometimes as crystal as water and other times as heavy as buttery-sugary-to-die-for-mouth-wateringly-delicious-chocolate-cheesecake.

It tastes like the comfort of a cup of tea on a rainy day and the indulgence of melted cheese like a big hug to your insides. It’s so unexpected that sometimes you bite into a particularly sweet-looking kiwi and it tastes like chillies that spark a fire. It is every lovely, warm, sweet, spicy, intense yet smooth, crackly yet enticing flavour that I could ever think of…’    

I thank you all for sharing your answers with me. I suppose I must share back with you and say love is holding warm kind hands with the people I love. It is a hug that trigger oxytocin and serotonin and it is a cup of tea in the Bollywood Zen Pergola… my children snuggled up by my side, the scent of jasmine and the sound of friends and family talking and laughing. Bamboo swishing in the breeze, my husband stoking the fire in preparation for our marshmallow toasting night…and the moon slowly rising…    

Tell me. What does love taste like to you?

Dee x 



love on a (sushi) train

School holidays are a manic time in our household and usually involve my two, plus atleast one or two of their mates. So that automatically becomes a madhouse with FIFA-15 and sausage sizzles being the flavour of the month. To break up the monotony (for me), I took three little boys to watch a movie and then to Sushi Maru.

It was there that I noticed the most beautiful young Japanese sushi chef. But that is not extraordinary. What was surprising was that there was a young Indian man working behind the counter too, and he could not take his eyes off her. He made every attempt to get her attention and was rewarded with the most precious smile when she glanced his way and caught his eye.

This reminded me of two very beloved friends of mine. My Irish sister Sarah, and The Singing Chef, Sarajit Chanda. Sarah ensured I kept my sanity whilst I worked at Banjara. I still remember her wedding day. All I could afford was a single red gerbera in my hair and a florist at Wynyard Station wrapped wire around the stem and fixed it for me…

Sarj (whose voice I still remember, especially when he sang Chaudhvin Ka Chand,) kept me alive with tandoori chicken and daal, prawns, kebabs and naan. To these two I am ever grateful… But this is not my story, it’s Sarah’s. So I’ll let her tell it.

“In 1999, I left Ireland for Australia in search of adventure. A linguist by profession, I had never travelled to an English speaking country before and at first missed the challenge of learning a new language. Within a month I found a job in an Indian restaurant and was surrounded by colleagues of many different languages and cultures. Before long I had fallen head over heels in love with Indian food and culture and with the tandoori chef!!

Sarajit Chanda had worked as a chef in Sydney for 4 years when I strolled into his life. Originally from Bangladesh, he worked long hours among people from his own part of the world. He craved interaction with “westerners”. He felt that having come the whole way to Australia, he might as well be in Asia. 

The two of us started to go for drinks after work and would chat into the wee small hours. My one year visa ended in February 2000 but before I left I made a pledge to Sarajit that I’d come back. I returned in September 2000 and before long we decided to get married and move to Ireland.

At our small intimate wedding in a friend’s house in Sydney, we did our bridal waltz barefoot on the lawn to “Have I told you lately that I love you?” as a friend strummed it on the guitar and crooned the words of Van Morrison. The handful of close friends present munched on tandoori chicken prepared by Sarajit and cooked on the barbie! 

On 5th March 2001, still recovering from Mardi Gras the previous day, we left for Ireland. There we had a traditional wedding with our family and friends and this time Sarajit cooked for 160 guests!

Upon arriving in Ireland we got jobs in  restaurants, I as a manager and Sarajit as head chef. We were biding our time until the day that we would open our own restaurant.

In 2005 we left Dublin for a small rural town called Ardee where the opportunity presented itself. News of Sarajit’s fabulous food spread like wildfire. Within our first year, our restaurant, Fuchsia House had been reviewed by all major food critics and was included in guidebooks of Ireland’s best restaurants.

In the meantime, our first child, Maya Aruna came along and in 2008, our second, Laoise Margaret arrived.

In 2008 the Irish economy took a nosedive and dining out suffered very badly. “Dining at home” grew rapidly so we launched a range of sauces for sale in shops called Aruna Sauces, named after Sarajit’s mother Aruna who bestowed her wonderfully wholesome, delicious recipes upon us.

In 2012 our third (and final!!) child arrived. Whereas the girls were named after their grannies, our little man is named after both grandads. Sachin Patrick has brought such a hoot of laughter into our lives during what have been tough economic times for us all.

Until 2013 we lived in an apartment above our restaurant. This was a great upbringing for our kids in terms of being around food, business and people all the time. Ironically though our cooking facilities upstairs were rudimentary.  I longed to teach our kids how to cook.

In 2013 we sold our restaurant and moved into a lovely house with a big kitchen and a 6 ring cooker! We now bake and cook and concoct and have great fun with food.

I must admit that after daddy, the best cook in the house is Sachin, aged 3.

Everything we do in our family to do with business, family, celebrations etc. revolves around food. It’s who we are, what we do and what we seek to pass on to our children.”

Thank you my beloved Irish sister for sharing your story. You have proved that love and tandoori chicken can transcend all barriers. I cannot wait till our families can meet again. Dee x