It's probably one of the hardest thing I have done. To write ‘about me’ I’ll give it my best shot. I am Maitreyi, also go by Simi to many of my friends. As a young preschooler, my friends had a hard time pronouncing my name. I came home one day and told my parents, “I am Simi”, I have no idea where I got that from. After a few weeks of negotiation, everyone started calling me Simi at home. With a coffee cup as a profile picture and Simi as the author, I began my journey. I am surprised, how blogging has changed me, I love sharing my life and my food with you. Am not shy anymore to tell you who I am or how goofy I can be.
It was summer break and I must have been five or thereabouts... my mother was working on an oil painting. I remember her mixing colors. What followed thereafter really interested me…. scoping the colors on her brush into meaningful strokes on the canvas. I was enchanted and wanted to dip my fingers in the colors, and she let me. During the weeks that followed, I made my first art doodle. There were mountains, flowers and me feeding some chicks. Excited that her daughter had created something, she even sent the doodle to an art and craft magazine and it was published. I am really glad that I have a copy. That is probably where my love affair with weaving visual stories started.
School and University brought me a career into the world of data and numbers: media planning and advertising. I liked working with data but something was missing. Motherhood... changed my life, I did not want to miss a moment, translate that to 'stay-at-home' mom. I began to enjoy cooking. It brought me more pleasure than sitting in SWOT meetings all day. I fell in love with my kitchen, my spice rack, my collection of assorted bottles, all the colorful daals (lentils). The colors, textures and aroma seemed to engage all my senses and quench my creative thirst to some extent. Mixing ingredients to create a meal that not only fills you but feeds your soul, has something mystical about it. It's just not a meal you serve to satiate your hunger, it's more than that. It is not something you can quantify or put into words, it can only be felt. As I look back, my fondest memories, have been around people and food. (thanks to my mother, who is an amazing cook)
Some mornings, I would find myself doodling in my art-pad, some that went nowhere and some that satiated the artist in me.I would study painting for hours and wonder why I wouldn’t be able to create something that touched the depth of my inner self. The artist in me was still unfulfilled.
It was a weekend when I started my blog, just on a whim, to describe my successes and failures in the kitchen. It was more like a list of recipes. Soon I realised the images that showcased the food and the recipes were poles apart. Even though my recipes had been tested multiple times in the kitchen, the images did not do them any justice. We eat with our eyes first but I was having difficulty expressing it visually. I had thought that I was an artistic person and it broke something in me to see my dum aloo (stuffed potato) images. I had spent four hours cooking an exotic silky curry that tasted real nice, but the images had a different story to narrate. I started learning about photograph. It was like learning a new language. The more I learnt, the more I enjoyed the journey. Somewhere, it fulfilled the artistic urge in me. There was color, depth, light, shade, everything that I loved about painting and most importantly it tied so beautifully with my ardor for cooking. I love the visual aspect of food. Imagine a cold autumn day: the cool cloudy sun streaming through a window and a warm bowl of Thai curry soup on the table by the kitchen window. It’s such a comforting feeling and to transform this emotion into a photograph is very gratifying. I call my art ‘Culinary Optics’ because it ties together both my passion for cooking and photography.
As my creative vision developed, I started painting my own surfaces/backdrops for food, it probably fulfilled my penchant for dipping my hands in paint (literally). Even though a lot of times they are not a prominent element in the photograph, they create mood or add just the pop of color required. But the process of painting these boards almost evokes a childlike excitement in me. I have blues paired with greens and purples with reds and pink and grays - the combinations are limitless. The best part, you don’t need to be a fine art specialist and if you don’t like the outcome, just repaint.
From blogging came growing my own herbs in summer. I have always had a fondness for gardening and that extended into my small patch of herbs, they can add life to any dull meal and are great subjects for photography.
It’s strange how every aspect of blogging has become a part of my life or one can think of it the other way! It all came together, bought congruence to my being. I don’t have to take time out to be able to blog, it not a task for me to complete. I have never made a schedule. From growing my herbs, cooking, painting surfaces, photography or shopping for props, everything gets done on time, that is what they probably call ‘finding your calling’.
This is my little home where I share who I am and what I do best - bringing fresh food to the table - capturing food through my lens. Hope you enjoy my space as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. Thank you for the support ! This is me and my blog is a true reflection of who I am.
Why turmeric n' spice ?
I know turmeric is a spice. So, what's with turmeric n'spice ? Growing up in India, whenever I asked my mother for a recipe or she gave me and my sister ( more my sister than me) instructions to make a curry, she would always say, "haldi aur masala". Even today, when I ask her on the phone she will say, "haldi aur masala" haldi meaning turmeric is to enhance the color of the curry and masala aka spices is for the flavor. So, there was nothing more fitting for my blog than turmeric n’ spice, after all it’s my memories woven around food.
You can view my portfolio - Simi Jois
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