Baking Traditions and Beyond: Meet Puja Thomas-Patel, the Mastermind Behind Indiaphile
Look who's baking at BakeCamp Weekend 3: San Fernando Valley!
When it comes to celebrating Indian culinary traditions, Puja Thomas-Patel, the creative genius behind the food blog "Indiaphile," is a name that stands out. A passionate cook, Puja is on a mission to demystify Indian cuisine and make it accessible to all. Her journey from rediscovering her love for cooking to inspiring countless food enthusiasts is both heartwarming and admirable.
A Glimpse into Puja's Kitchen
Puja's blog, Indiaphile, is a treasure trove of Indian recipes, both traditional and creative, inspired by her deep connection to her roots. Her culinary journey began in her childhood, with memories of her time spent in Bombay and on her family farm in Maharashtra, as well as visits to relatives in Gujarat. Her experiences at boarding school in Panchgani also played a significant role in shaping her culinary identity.
Indiaphile, established over a decade ago in 2012, is a labor of love for Puja. Every recipe on her blog undergoes meticulous testing, ensuring that it is not only accurate but also adaptable to suit the preferences of her readers. Puja is all about making Indian cooking accessible and enjoyable for everyone, from novices to experienced home chefs.
A Personal Food Journey of Rediscovery
Puja's journey into the world of food is a poignant one. Despite growing up in a family where cooking was a tradition passed down from generations, she initially distanced herself from it as she rebelled against traditional gender roles. For years, she survived on fast and frozen foods, claiming that she didn't know how to cook.
However, her relationship with cooking underwent a transformation. Puja realized that food was more than just a daily necessity; it was a link to her heritage, connecting her to the women in her family who had toiled in the kitchen. It became a way for her to preserve and share her culture as a member of the diaspora.
Her mother and grandmother's commitment to cooking was inspirational. They dedicated time, effort, and love to feed their families, observing intricate rules for ingredient pairing and cooking for specific occasions. They followed rituals, like fermenting mangoes to make chundo or boiling milk to make yogurt.
After years of avoidance, Puja returned to her food traditions to honor her ancestors and celebrate the women who had nourished their families with love and dedication. She is now grateful for the heritage recipes passed down by her mother and the insights into her family's history that she gained through food.
Cookies and Diwali: A Special Connection
While Puja's love for Indian cuisine is evident, her affection for cookies is no less passionate. She adores spice cookies and brown butter chocolate chips, and her kitchen is never short of creativity. She recommends using fruit puree and yogurt as excellent egg substitutes in cookies, a helpful tip for those with dietary restrictions.
One of her favorite cookie-related memories is inventing Indian-inspired cookie recipes for Diwali each year, a tradition she now shares with her son. This tradition has become even more special, bridging generations and creating lasting memories through the simple act of baking.
Mango Cookies at BakeCamp LA Weekend 3: San Fernando Valley
Puja's dedication to her culinary roots and her innovative spirit have led her to explore the fusion of Indian flavors with classic treats. She's set to showcase her baking talents at BakeCamp LA Weekend 3: San Fernando Valley on October 22. One of her delightful creations in the works is Mango Cookies, a fusion of the exotic mango with the comforting familiarity of cookies.
With her deep respect for tradition and her flair for innovation, Puja Thomas-Patel is a remarkable food enthusiast who inspires us all to embrace our culinary heritage and create new traditions of our own. Whether you're a fan of Indian cuisine or simply a lover of good food, Puja's journey is a testament to the power of food to connect, preserve, and celebrate our diverse cultures and histories. Don't miss the opportunity to taste her delicious Mango Cookies and experience a piece of her culinary adventure at BakeCamp LA Weekend 3!