StoryCooks: Patrick Koppula

StoryCooks is a new blog series we are trying to start on Recipeer: personal essays on how they first started to cook by people who care about food. Please share your story with and we'll contact you before we post it.

Patrick Koppula is the inventor of Recipeer

Well, Grandma, I didn't starve. It's been 17 years since you took it upon yourself to teach me how to cook, because you learned the college dining hall didn't serve Indian food. I didn't have a kitchen in the dorm, but since then, your love has created a life full of taste for me. Thank you.

The first thing my grandma taught me how to do is observe. She just wanted me to stand there without helping as she silently prepared the evening meal and this may have been the most important skill she taught me. Of course I'm now a lover of cooking shows, exhibition kitchens, & food blogs, yet I know all of them are artifacts and ultimately prelude to opening up the pantry.

I knew what onions should look like, smell like, feel like and of course taste like, for pappu (a spiced pigeon pea dish that is a staple of Andhra cooking) before I had to make them, so now, while I don't use the same knife, pan, spatula, nor even onions as she did, I can still make them exactly the same. I find this part of my memory rather amazing. It is able to work backward from an expected result and apply whatever methods and ingredients are at hand to approach that result. I'm convinced that this capability is thoroughly human and compelled by the idea it is possibly the thing that made us human in the first place.

I want to explore why and how we have managed to pass on this experience since we first learned, how we are passing it on now and how we can pass it on better, After all, we are what we eat, right?

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