I am Dhivya, the founder, editor, photographer and dishwasher at Maple Chutney. Thank you for stopping by.
Writing a food blog has been on my radar for a long time, it is something I think about every day and I even have a roster of recipes that I want to test, create and post here. Somehow committing to it has been very hard. From the inception of a recipe to its completion on the blog the process is very daunting, I have waffled and have felt frustrated along the way. This time around though, I want to renew my commitment to it.
This is my homecoming in a way. I was blogging long before I knew what the term social influencer meant, I have organized blog meetups in Bangalore, met and made lots of lovely virtual blogger friends and then I stopped blogging. I fell into a hole so deep it was hard to claw my way back out of it. When I look back at all my posts, there is a certain immaturity in my writing, but it has personality and it reflects my indomitable spirit and I miss that. This food blog is a way for me to climb out of that black hole and to try and find my voice again. This time though, I want use food as my medium.
Cooking is not something I gravitated towards in my twenties, that is because in a traditional Tamil Brahmin household cooking is very meticulous and methodical which I was quick to regard as quite stifling. I can only laugh at my naivety now.
My mum is a wonderful cook and has learnt most of what she knows from my grandmother, who was instructed by my great grandmother. These recipes have never been written down in the past, but have been committed to memory and have been passed on from mother to her daughter. There is nothing precise about the instructions, measurements are vague often relying on handfuls, pinch or even aroma as a reference, but the result is a wonderful celebration of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours on the plate. My mother is well equipped and knows what needs to be cooked on a certain occasion or festival and what combination of recipes would be fitting for an everyday lunch or for something more elaborate. I have come to rely on her deep insight into Brahmin food and her resourcefulness in the kitchen. I also appreciate the rigour that has been bestowed upon her by our collective predecessors. Over the years her taste and opinions on food have also been influenced by our Punjabi neighbour, her coworkers, sisters, friends, mother-in-law and magazines (I still find snippets of recipes tucked away in her little diary). And to a great extent my opinions have been influenced by hers.
When I got married to Vivek, I realized his family learnt cooking no differently. Their passion and enthusiasm for food is infectious and I have added a whole new repertoire of recipes to my ever expanding collection. Needless to say both of us love to cook, eat, entertain and generally like to keep it interesting when it comes to food.
That said, I do not prescribe to any trendy food labels, but I am a vegetarian. I grew up in a vegetarian household. I drifted a little when I moved out for university, but have long since come back to my roots for health and environmental concerns.
Maple Chutney is a way for me to document, tweak, and adapt everything I know about food. Melding old with the new or something inherently Indian with something local (maybe Toronto). Everyday I am grateful we get to enjoy such wonderful flavours in our kitchen and I want this blog to serve me as a reminder of sorts. It is also a way for me to inspire my daughter to be creative and have some fun when it comes to food.