Know your Blogger: Sarani Tarafdar of Cocoawind6:56 AM
|Sarani and her adorable 4 year old|
Sarani Tarafdar the gorgeous, vivacious face behind the blog Cocoawind wears many hats with equal elan. She is a mother, an ex banker, a part time lecturer, a cinematographer, a food blogger and a dear friend in need for many. I met her online a couple of years back in a Bengali bloggers group and spent many hours chatting on random topics, pulling legs, discussing food and what not. She spent a formidable amount of her married life in USA but you can hardly make that out once you meet her. Her sense of aesthetics, her beauty, her style rather everything about her speaks volume of her classic Bengali background. No wonder she has a fond relationship with food.
Her recipes are easy to follow, quick and a real life savers for busy mothers. Recently she again moved back to USA and is already being missed here at our Kolkata Food bloggers group big times. Here is a small interview with her.
1. Tell us about yourself
Born and brought up in Kolkata, majored in Commerce (M.Com). Moved to US (in 2003) after getting married 11 years back. 8 out of 11 year has been spent in US. Have worked in 2 banks in US and one in Kolkata. Quit my job to be with my son. 2006 was the year when I discovered my love for photography and baking.
2. How did you start cooking? Your first dish?
When I got married in 2002, I was still studying (final year of my masters). The only 3 things I could make before getting married were tea, omlette & toasts. When I moved to US after 11mos of marriage my list of what-I-can-cook had not changed. All I had was my Ma's recipes for chicken stew & daal tarka - handwritten, along with her best wishes, and my husband's assurance that he can make rice & daal. So most days we would eat daal/daal tarka, rice and chicken stew or take out! Whatever else I made would make used to turn out HORRIBLE. At that time I did not have a laptop at home, and googling for recipes was never an option. It was only in 2006 that I understood the basic concept behind cooking - then there was no looking back!
3. Who is Your biggest inspiration in cooking and how did you start this blog?
I am actually not sure!! My husband loves to eat, but most importantly I cannot eat food that tastes bad. There was a time when he would eat whatever I made without complaining, but I could just not eat it if it tasted bad. I guess it was my need to eat good food inspired me to be a better cook!
I started the blog in June 2012, after being pushed by a few friends to do it. I also figured that it would give me something to do once my son started school.
4. With a little super active kid how do you balance life and still take out time for cooking and blogging.
Well, I could cook only after my husband got back from work. I would plan out meals so that it would be sufficient for dinner and lunch next day - and yeah, my super picky son would eat better if I gave him different stuff for lunch and dinner. Also, I am a big fan of easy-to-cook recipes. You will see that the recipes in my blog do not involve too many ingredients or elaborate steps. Of course there would be times when I would let the tv or iPad babysit him.
Now my son is used to seeing me taking photographs of the food and he actually tries to help out. Blogging only happens after he is off to sleep or my husband is there to take care of him.
5. You have spent quite some time in US. how did the experience affected your style of cooking.
I learnt how to cook in US, so I am very used to the ingredients and kitchen appliances here. In fact, cooking/baking in Kolkata was a challenge. It took me about 4 months to start cooking in Kolkata (We were in Kolkata for about 9mos and just moved back to Mason last week) - and I would just cook what I wanted to blog on - thankfully there was a cook to take care of our daily cooking.
6. What in your opinion are the pros and cons of food blogging?
When you blog you are basically documenting your favorite tried and 'tasted' recipes. You can always refer back to those and you know it will turn out exactly the way you like. The challenge that I felt initially was measuring everything out. Previously I used to eyeball everything, unless I was baking of course.
I love to take photos, I used to take a lot of candids & portraits. Food photography was a whole new ballgame! I still need to learn a lot.
7. Tell us about your reader interactions. Any memorable incidents?
I am very new to blogosphere. It has been just a few months that people have been writing back to me saying that they have tried out my recipe to the T and it turned out awesome! It felt great.
8. Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?
My few months in Kolkata this time was very eventful. I tried out many new things. I came to be a part of this awesome food bloggers group, Kolkata Food Bloggers and have enjoyed every bit of my journey - we started as co-bloggers and became good friends. I taught Entrepreneurship as guest faculty. I also shot a docu-feature on the British influence on Bengali cuisine. And I enjoyed all of it. Though my primary focus will always be my son, who is all of four now - my enriching experiences in the last few months have given me things to ponder on. So whatever else I am doing in the future, food blogging will always be a part of my life.