Heritage Lessons Learned in Our Mothers' Kitchens

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother recently, since the publication of my newest novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, which is about three generations of women – grandmother, mother, daughter – and what they learn, both positive and negative, from each other.

Or perhaps the novel came about because I’ve been thinking of my mother for the last five years, ever since she passed away.

My mother was the most important woman in my life. She taught me much of what I know about life, though I often resisted her lessons. I loved her deeply, but my love for her was tinged with many other complex emotions.

I think I’m not the only daughter, who feels this way.

In any case, I wrote the following piece for Redbook, pulling up memories of what she taught me in her kitchen.

Some of those lessons I’ve tried to pass on to my sons, though I’ve modified them to suit my own philosophy.




As always, I’m interested in knowing your thoughts. What lessons did you learn from your parents? Which ones, among them, would you gift to the next generation?


Chitra's Creative Cuisine: Stir-fried Tofu with Bean Sprouts, Cilantro and Ginger Root

In my upcoming novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, about three generations of women–a grandmother, mother and daughter who love, support and battle each other–Tara the daughter says that she likes cooking things that require only 20 minutes of time, from the chopping board to the table. I often feel that way, and on some of those days I create my own dishes. Today was one such day because I'm getting really busy with pre-publicity for the novel, which is coming out in April 2016. Below is the recipe I cooked up, stir-fried tofu with bean sprouts, cilantro, and ginger. I was really pleased with how this healthy low-carb dish turned out, and I hope you will be, too.

stir fried tofu with bean sprouts and cilantro

Ingredients:  One 16 ounce pack extra firm tofu, 16 ounces bean sprouts, half inch ginger root, grated, quarter cup chopped cilantro, four T peanut sauce, two T soy sauce (more for taste if you like soy sauce), one t Sriracha sauce, 1 T sesame oil, garlic powder, onion powder and salt to taste.

Cut the tofu long and thin, as in the photo above. Sauté for two minutes in a nonstick pan. Add all of the seasonings. Sauté for one more minute. Add the bean sprouts. Sauté for one minute. Take off the stove and mix in the cilantro and ginger.  Serve by itself if you want a low-carb dish. Otherwise serve over hot brown rice.

The whole thing took me 10 minutes!

Let me know if you try it and how you like it, and if you have your own favorite 10 to 20 minute dish, please post it below.