Language and Culture

Hi folks! Sorry for a lack of recipe again this week, it’s been a crazy time and I unfortunately have not had the chance to pester my mom into teaching me something new this week. Hopefully by next week we’ll be back into the swing of the regularly scheduled programming!

For now, I thought I would talk a little bit about how language has made me feel more comfortable and connected with my culture. I’ve noticed as I’m writing down these family recipes, I often have to turn to my mom and ask her what the English word for an ingredient is. Cloves, fennel seeds and lentils in my mind are more commonly known as long, sonf and daal. Even the titular spice of my blog is called elaichi rather than cardamom in my house, and for the longest time I could not figure out how to tell my Western friends about it.

It’s a very small thing, but being able to refer to the spices of my culture’s foods in my native language feels like an accomplishment. I’m not a Punjabi speaker, at least not right now. When I was young I used to be more fluent, but as time passed and I was in closer proximity to my Western peers, I slowly forgot the language. It’s a disheartening sentiment when my grandmother speaks to me and I can’t always understand what she says. But I’m taking small steps like learning the names of ingredients, and hoping that with every new word I learn, I’ll feel more and more like I belong. It’s a slow process, but I’ll willing to put in the work and I look forward to where the experience of reconnecting with my culture takes me.

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