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The poetry of food: This cooking channel is winning hearts with recipes and rhyme

A charming cook with a big personality, lots of old-world charm and delicious recipes has got Oldays Kitchen trending on social media

Barnini Maitra Chakraborty | Published 29.06.23, 08:08 PM

Usha Bishoyee’s cooking channel brings delicious recipes packaged in videos that will make you smile

All photos courtesy Oldays Kitchen

One of the things you will always find when scrolling through social media is food and recipe videos. The platforms are flooded with cooking channels, yet there are some who are making a difference. One such channel is Oldays Kitchen (@oldays_kitchen on Instagram). Featuring the ever-smiling Usha Bishoyee, on this vlog recipes and poetry — chhora — go hand in hand. The short videos have gone viral within just a few months of the platform being live.

An older woman in a taanter sari worn in the traditional aatpoure style recites an often- funny rhyme in Bengali before demonstrating a recipe in a quick few steps — Usha’s videos have brought her the adoration of many on the Internet.

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Started only a few months back, in March 2023, the OLDAYS KITCHEN channel on YouTube already has 402K subscribers and their Instagram page has 168k followers. Recently, they received the silver play button from YouTube.

Though the name may suggest recipes of yesteryear, the channel also features new and innovative dishes. Perhaps the name is fitting in the way that there is an old-world charm not only in the cook herself, but also the entire setting and production. Usha will remind you all of a fun, food loving aunt or grandmother. The uniqueness with which the recipes are presented has caught the attention of viewers on social media overcrowded with cookery channels.

The poetry of food

The recipes, shot and presented in the form of shorts or reels begin with Usha, a resident of Mohanpur in East Midnapore, introducing the recipe of the day with a chhora. Sample this:

Goromkal-e taper deshe

Sujji boroi obujh

Thanda korte chaile poran

Banao ei trending tormuj.

This was a rhyme the home cook used to introduce a recipe with watermelons. And it is not just the introduction or the recipe that make these videos unique. At the end of every recipe, she samples her dish and in a signature (fun) style, exclaims, “Daruunnn!”

The rhymes might remind one of the famous pice hotel Sidheshwari Ashram on Rani Rashmoni Road, where the bill is turned into a poem. It also takes us back to familiar poems from childhood like -

Phulko luchi phulko luchi, pet-ta phule dhaak

Phulko luchi phulko luchi, peter bhetor phaank

Phulko luchi ektu suji, ektu alur dom

Kella phote tar shonete pai jodi chomchom

A mother-son venture

Bengali recipes learnt from her grandmother and mother-in-law are Usha’s forte, but she also features many new and innovative recipes

Bengali recipes learnt from her grandmother and mother-in-law are Usha’s forte, but she also features many new and innovative recipes

Usha started cooking when she was around 15 years old. She loves to cook, and though traditional Bengali recipes learnt from her grandmother, mother-in-law, and other women in her family are her forte, she does love to make trendy items such as KFC-style chicken and Oreo milkshakes.

She first started a cookery channel in 2021 with a different name but it didn’t get as popular. Her second foray, however, has been a successful one. The channel has also helped Usha and her family stave off a financial crisis. Usha’s son Suprabha Bishoyee, a student of hotel management, helps select the menu and also shoots and edit the video. She also has the constant support of her husband. Recently the YouTube channel also featured an adorable video of Usha answering questions from viewers to celebrate 250k subscribers.

The idea of starting with a chhora was Usha’s. “There are many channels, which show a lot of recipes. To make ours different, I told my son, ‘Why don’t we create a small poem on the dish we are cooking and use that at the start?’The idea clicked and has been pretty well-accepted.” The rhymes are mainly written by Suprabha but Usha, too, pitches in with her inputs. The joint efforts have clearly created a winning combination!

Quick Bytes

When did you start to cook

At 15 or 16 years of age

The first dish you made

Maachher jhaal

Bengali or Chinese food, which do you prefer?

Bengali food

Unoon (traditional clay oven), gas stove, or an induction?

Unoon

Mixer-grinder or sheel paata

Sheel paata

Youtube channel or TV serial

TV serial

Kadhai or nonstick pan

Kadhai

Last updated on 20.07.23, 12:14 PM
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