Instagram cook finds new adventures in Timmins

When Indu Devadas came to Timmins three months ago, she wasn’t sure exactly what she was getting into.

She travelled half-way around the world from her home in Kerala, in southern India, and she wondered if something as simple as spices and ingredients she was used to using would be available.

“When I came here I was a bit confused and didn't know if Indian goods would be available,” said Devadas about her recent move. “I was relieved when I saw familiar things in the grocery stores here.”

Cooking is an important part of Devadas’ life, and has been since she was a child, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, she started sharing her food with the world on her Instagram account, Flavours of Indu, and has gained 8500 followers.

“Actually it all started as a pass time but after uploading the pictures, the response that I got was really encouraging,” says Devadas.

She says that her connection to food started when she would watch her father cook dinner as a child.

“My mother was a nurse, when she was on her night shift my dad used to cook,” she said. “For me food is a language of love.”

That love expanded her culinary world, as her husband has a taste for foods from other parts of their home country, and she started to explore other kinds of flavours and dishes through his tastes.

“My husband preferred North Indian food so that made me look into different delicacies of India,” said Devadas. “My family started giving me feedback about my cooking experiments and they loved it.”

She says she believes food is a universal way to bring people from all walks of life together.

“During some special celebration in my family like festivals, birthdays, weddings,etc...it's a pleasure to see all my favorite people squished in the kitchen, bonding over, making tasty food and eating together happily,” she says. “When you think about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays, where does your mind go? Food. Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham and birthday cake are all a meaningful part of celebration through food.”

Devadas says that the pandemic really shaped her online sharing experience, which started as a way to find some fun during lockdowns.

She had been working as an assistant professor when the daycares in their area shut down, and she had to give up that job to care for her young daughter.

“At that time I started my Instagram account for fun,” she says. “I took pictures of the food that I was cooking.”

Now, having moved to Timmins, she’s continuing her food journey and education.

Most of her followers are from India, so much of her content is focused on Indian food, but she hopes that her Canadian followers enjoy the meals she’s creating as well and she shares personal stories and connections in her post.

Having only been in the city for three months, she’s also in the grip of her first snowy winter experience.

“I was excited and am still excited about it but at the same time it’s a little tough for me as it’s my first time ever experiencing cold weather,” she says about her new home. “I have not explored the city much yet but I’m planning to do so in the coming days.”

As she explores, she will continue to share the new foods and new experiments with her followers.

“Food is an important part of the cultural heritage and national identity. Food brings people together on many different levels,” she says. “Food is a universal part of every culture.”

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com