Some memories are as special and pleasing as your favourite dish served by your loved one. Your taste buds refuse to forget some unique flavours and you cherish them forever. Actress and vlogger Anju Aravind opens up about her YouTube channel called Foodie Buddy and shares some of her favourite food memories.
You are an actress, dancer and now a vlogger. What do you have to say about your YouTube channel, Foodie Buddy?
I started my YouTube channel called Foodie Buddy during the lockdown period. I thought of presenting 21 dishes in 21 days when I was free from all my other works. I had decided to return to my regular busy schedule when the lockdown was lifted. But, the channel garnered positive responses within a month itself and I decided to upload videos once in a week. Even now, I try to upload content in my channel as much as I can.
Did you enjoy cooking from childhood itself?
Yes, I did. However, I was adamant that no one should accompany me in the kitchen. I had a habit of accusing and chiding my mother whenever something goes wrong with the dishes. But, I made sure that I got all the credit if a dish is a hit. I didn’t like someone else interfering when I am cooking. My mother and her younger sister were teachers. During the vacation after I completed class ten, I used to make evening snacks for my mother and aunt when they returned from schools. I really enjoyed trying out the recipes that came in Vanitha and Manorama weekly.
What is your favourite food memory?
More than the dishes that are cooked by me, I like enjoying the food that is cooked by my mother and grandmother. The dishes that were cooked by both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were spectacular. My father says I may have inherited the flair for cooking from his mother. As I am interested in cooking, I try to make the dishes as amazing as I can.
You have travelled quite a bit as part of filming. What is the most delicious dish that you had tasted during your trips?
I am not really interested in exploring food whenever I travel abroad. That must be because I am a very traditional person at heart. I used to miss our food whenever I went to foreign countries for programs. Once, we were given pothichor (lunch packets) by the organizers of a program. You just cannot forget the fabulous aroma that comes when the plantain leaf packet is opened. The rice that got mixed with coconut chutney, fish fry and fish curry was so delicious. My mouth fills with saliva even now, when I talk about it. It indeed is one of my favourite food memories. Things become valuable as you get it when you have been wishing for it.
Don't you try cooking new dishes?
I don’t usually try new dishes. I ask the recipe if I am curious about a dish. However, I don’t insist on going after certain recipes to make something new. Besides, I don’t like trying a recipe as it is. I prepare that dish only after seeing whether I could make my own contributions too. I would present it in my channel only if I am fully satisfied with the dish.
You run a dance institute and are a vlogger too? How do you manage both the professions?
My schedules are quite hectic as I manage two professions. Now, I don’t film outside much due to the pandemic. I get lots of programs especially from places like Chennai. I don’t commit to filming as I am trying to avoid travelling as much as I can. So, I extended the duration of my online classes. Besides my regular students, I began classes for students from countries like Kuwait, US and London. I realized that you could successfully train dance through online sessions. Initially, I had thought that it was impossible. I get more time for practising as I am taking classes from home. I dedicate my mornings for doing the chores and creating content for my YouTube channel. Besides, I don’t film for Foodie Buddy every day. I usually upload new contents once in a fortnight.
From Ambalapuzha paal payasam to some of the non-vegetarian items that aren’t familiar to Keralites, you present unique items in Foodie Buddy. What is your criterion for choosing dishes for your channel?
I choose dishes that may look complex and expensive but are actually easier to prepare at home. For instance, the tornado is quite an expensive dish here. You cut the potatoes in a unique spiral shape, dip in batter and are fried to crisp. When I showed it in my channel, people understood that it could be prepared very easily. Lots of people messaged and congratulated me for showing it. That vlog was received well.
What are your daughter’s favourite items that are prepared by you?
My daughter loves all the snacks that I prepare for her. As I don’t buy her fast food regularly, she loves it too. Though she is only 12, she is interested in cooking. She makes items like Nutella or chocolate spread that we think is very expensive. I felt happy when I realized that she is interested in cooking.
Do you ever pursue a particular taste or flavour?
I am not a big foodie. I enjoy cooking and serving dishes than eating it. I like cooking amazing food for my family and guests and I feel satisfied when I see them enjoy it. But, I ask for recipes if I like a dish while I am travelling. It is during times like these that I feel the advantage of being an artist. People are happy to share the recipes when I ask for them. As I am not travelling much these days, I haven’t tried many recipes either.