Mama said

Staying in

This shrimp stew has been in my family for decades. I remember eating it for the first time in the early 90’s, when my mom decided me and my brother were mature enough to handle the shrimp-curry-paprika-mix, but I think it goes back to the 70’s and the whole wine and dine-revolution. (This is my take on history, I imagine that it was in the 70’s that people started gather more freely around the kitchen table to eat hippie-food and drink red wine while having deep conversations about politics and sex. Before, I imagine, the eating experience was probably a lot more stiff. Like Sunday steak at your uncle’s and wear your tightest tie and don’t have fun: it’s dinner time.)

It’s one of my safe cards, this dish. I make it when I’m having guests over and I want to be sure not to mess it up, or when I want to eat something festive but not too advanced.

Every time I make it, though, I get confused with the parsley. I do like it, but I cant help but doubting my own judgement since I  feel parsley and curry might be a weird combo. Parsley to me is a very common herb while curry is exotic, and I wonder: do they match for real? Do they even have parsley in India? I can’t help but wonder if my mom went “hmm, what else can I put in here, oh, I’ve got a little parsley, I like parsley, parsley is good, let’s add some parsley” and then now my taste judgement isn’t evolved enough so I can’t tell it really shouldn’t be there.

I mean, there are a lot of adult-things I do just because that’s how my mom does. I put roses in almost boiling water and tulips in ice cold, because she says that’s how it’s supposed to be. I clean on Thursdays so my home is nice and shiny for the weekend, because that’s how it was in my childhood. I use old newspaper instead of a new microfiber cloth when I wash my windows, because when my mother was balancing in the windowsill twentyfive years ago, there was no damn microfiber. And for the most part, I put parsley in my curry because that’s how my mom does.

Nevertheless, in my Masterchef-fantasy, I see myself making this dish for the try outs and going up to Gordon Ramsay to be judged. He’ll take one look and then start screaming: “You put parsley in a CURRY SAUCE? Are you DEMENTED? Curry and parsley aren’t taste buddies, STUPID, how can you call yourself a chef if you do not know this? Get the hell OUT OF MY KITCHEN!” It’s ridiculous, I know. Why do I care about what Gordon might think? It’s not like I’m really ever going to apply for Masterchef (because I can’t chop even pieces of things) and if I like the damn parsley, why can’t I just put it in there and relax? Sometimes when I have important guests that might know something about this matter, I actually even skip the parsley, but that doesn’t feel right either because mama said parsley. It’s very hard to win here.

However, I’ve been doing some googling in the matter lately and apparently, a lot of people do put parsley in curry. It seems like it isn’t weird at all. I guess I should just relax and trust my palate then. And my mother.

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Malin Ågren is a copywriter living in Sweden. Food is her number one hobby.

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