The First Visit - Kishore's Mom comes to the US
This summer Kishore and I had a visit from a very special guest. Kishore's Mom...Amma.
I had heard a lot about her and I won't lie I was a little worried...who wouldn't be!? I mean we'd communicated a few times via Facetime but this would be different...What if she didn't like me, what if there was a lot of awkward silences and misunderstandings (we don't speak the same languages), what if she didn't like my cooking!? So many questions!!!
Kishore told me REPEATEDLY not to worry that everything would be fine, usually that helps but this time it didn't, after all the relationship between Mother and Son is very different then that of Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law.
After all, I grew up listening to oldies and this was always a staple on WCBS-FM NY...
What if there was some truth in the song? The "what if's" were really starting to pile up, so I decided to go to my Mom and Aunt and ask them how they approached their Mother-in-laws.
They both gave me good advice; that the most important things to remember are:
A) Be yourself (Don't pretend to be someone you're not, it will only cause problems later.)
B) Mutual Respect (You have to give it to get it), and
C) Understand that differences don't automatically mean problems, if anything it's a great chance for learning.
This advice is so simple and so true, and it helped me to put things into perspective.
So the day came when we went to pick her up from the airport, I was nervous but excited at the same time. The wait felt like forever, then suddenly Kishore excitedly said with a big smile on his face, "She's here! That's Amma! Let me take a pic!" She said, "Hi" and gave us both hugs, it was the warm greeting I was truly hoping for.
|Amma and Kishore|
Throughout the two months she was here, we went to the historic farm and ornamental gardens, to a lavender farm, cherry/peach picking, and sightseeing in NY and DC. Despite my fears of the language barrier, we had no problem communicating. She and my mother went on trips and talked, they don't speak the same language either but they still understood each other and more importantly they had fun together. We all had fun watching Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-In's and Dives together, Telugu TV and movies. We had a great time in the kitchen together, practicing and learning from each other.
I introduced her to handmade Corn Tortillas, Aguas Frescas, and Falafel; She introduced me to Idli, Kara Boondhi, and homemade Indian Pickles. Indian Pickles are not like what we put on our hamburgers. They are made from various kinds of fruits and vegetables that are cooked in oil and spices. They are great as an accompaniment, with rice, idli, or dosa. They are great for days when you are a little too tired to cook; just make some rice and a salad, add the pickle to the rice and you have a meal!
|Amma and Mom|
I'm looking forward to visiting her and learning more from her. Just the other day I told Kishore I had a hankering for Rice Idli and Ginger Pickle. She tried teaching me Telugu and as difficult as the language is, a few words stuck...
To me she is not Attaya (Mother-In-Law), she is Amma (Mom).
|Dad, John, Mom, Amma and Kishore|
Here is one of Kishore's favorite pickles from Amma
Amma's Shrimp Pickle (Royyala Pachadi)
2 lbs Large Shrimp
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1tsp + extra Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin (Jeera)
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 cup Red Chili Powder
2 tsp Garlic Ginger Paste
1 tsp Lemon Juice
4 Green Chilies
A Handful of Curry Leaves
1 cup Desiccated Coconut
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1. First shell, de-vein and clean the shrimp. Then boil them in water with a 1/2tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt until they are pink then strain them and put them in a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the cooled shrimp until they are crispy and golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels and allow the shrimp to cool.