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Name: Debjani Dass
Blog name: Keep Calm and Eat On
Where were you born? West Bengal, India.
Where are you living now? I moved to Newfoundland, Canada in 1999 to pursue a Masters in Ed. Psychology and I am still here!
Why did you start your blog?
This blog is for my little girl Saira, who was a wee little 18 month old when I started. As a new mother I was overwhelmed by the thought that I now have the responsibility to teach my daughter not one but two cultures: her father's, who is a thoroughbred Newfoundlander, and mine, a Bengali from India. I feared somehow she would never know as much about my life in India as I would like her to. And then, the idea for a blog happened. This is where she is supposed to come to find out where I was and what I was doing as we were raising her. This is a diary or sorts of our life and times around a plate of food that speaks about who we are in our hearts and soul.
How did you decide on your blog name?
The title is my advice to my little one. "Cooking is easy, it is fun, it is therapeutic, never be afraid of it. Food is delightful, it heals, it bonds so never be afraid of it either. When you are far away from your mother's kitchen and your heart is aching, take a deep breath and stir a pot of your favorite meal. Eat and your heart will sing, share and your heart shall grow. Keep calm and eat on, my sweet child!"
What do you blog about?
I write about food and it's emotional attachments, I write about love. There are recipes from my childhood, from cookbooks that I didn't quite follow, recipes that were born while staring at the pantry or even recipes that I follow religiously. I blog about the love that is dished up on our dinner plates in the form of edible magic.
What post are you most proud of and why?
This post is all about family - my family, particularly my grandfather who I never had the fortune to meet. This post is a proud moment and a tribute to him and the family and culture I come from.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I am not a writer. It takes me hours upon hours to get my thoughts down into a presentable form, but once in a while writing takes the form of release and in turn it becomes effortless. Once in a while I write things that I go back to reading over and over again to make myself feel good. This post was one of them. I was very proud of how easily my words flowed and how inspired I had been by my good friend Florence Jarvis, a cancer survivor and her blog, The Perks of Having Cancer. If this is another opportunity to get readers to come upon this blog post, I take it!
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
Writing about not being able to write brought out every bit of support I ever needed to be reassured of my feelings. It seems that no matter who reads your blog, if you ever needed words of encouragement during tough times there is never a shortage of bloggers out there to support you. There are people who read what you write even though they may not comment on your posts - but your readers will always empathize with you when you need it.
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without?
It's hard to pick between my iPhone, my camera and my laptop. They are indispensable to me as they all work together to unleash my creative juices.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?
My 'moshla'r kouto' - simply known as the spice box in English. Life without the aromatic seeds, roots and leaves, crushed or whole, that fill the box is unimaginable to me. Even though I love a good steak or pasta carbonara, I cannot go too too long without an aromatic curry.
Favourite food, care to share a recipe?
How can one who writes a food blog pick a favourite food? If I pick one (an Indo-Chinese chow mein, for example) I soon get reminded of the Mughlai Biriyani (fragrant Basmati rice cooked with tender meat in a pot) and my mind is in turmoil. Then I fear I am ignoring all the desserts that I can't live without! But if I look deep into my foodie heart I think I would pick Khichuri, the poor man's food, which is a mishmash of rice and lentils that can fill not only my belly but also the soul on any given day.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
In my bucket list are the Northern Lights and deep fried soft shell crab. Too bad I can't combine both at one time.
What makes your blog unique?
It is a love letter to my little one which could also be a love letter from any mother to her little one.