During girlie days when girls would dream of their prince charming “Tall Dark Handsome” or “Knights in shining armor” (courtesy all Mills and Boon inspired), I would think of a Man with “saute pans, nonstick skillets”…….You heard it right I always wanted to marry a five-star chef as I detested cooking so very much. The only time I would enter the kitchen was to serve food to self or pick a glass of water. Little did I know at that age that men cooked only when paid for it (at least most of them) and all these Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, etc clans relish and cherish their wife’s cooking.
The kickoff of my first cooking adventure goes back to my college days. On an auspicious day I happened to be alone at home and received a call that, my aunt was due to arrive for lunch. Co-incidentally it was one of those days’ mom prepared enough rice only for me, else on the other days the whole neighborhood could lunch at my domicile. I made my first panic call to my mom, who so diligently gave me all the instructions over the phone “ How to prepare rice in a cooker”. Take a cooker, put a glass of rice in a vessel, wash the rice properly add double the amount of water to the vessel, keep the vessel inside the cooker covered with a plate after adding a little water inside the cooker, close the cooker with the cooker top and whistle, switch on the stove and wait for 3 whistles. After 3-4 mins of switching on the stove I could hear some rattling sound coming from the cooker. Panic stricken, I made another distress call to mom as I was sure I would blow up the building while cooking rice. The rattling sound seem to increase every minute. Moms first question was ” Did you put the gasket to the Cooker top?”. Geezz!!!
Whoever thought it was so easy to blow up a house —cook rice in cooker without gasket…My first under the banyan tree moment!!!
Word about my cooking misadventure spread far and wide and I soon became the talk of the town (at least within the family) for my culinary skills. Guess if I had stood for elections then I would have won in flying colors…. Days, years went by without me having any more adventures in the “KITCHEN” as I pretended to be the most busy person on earth, engrossed in books…(nice tactics haan!!)
5- minute fame
Fast forward 10 years as nothing much happens to improvise my culinary skills and I am at my prime age (courtesy Marriage market). We are still in the era where men (read it as their moms) want their wives to be good cooks. If there was a rating for culinary skills I would get a 0.1 on 10(remember I know to make rice now and that qualifies for a lot of things). I had already met my 6 feet something chocolate hero who is Tall, dark, handsome in shining armor…. (The 5-star chef with sauté pans, skillets all forgotten). Love was not blind but gave me Alzheimer’s and made me forget the chef part in my man when I fell for him hook line and sinker. Like a sincere to be wife, I sat with my mom and wrote down some of the basic, needed for survival recipes in my first time recipe book. Let’s call it my cooking Bible…. Little did nature, people around tell me that recipes in books don’t help us survive as it only tells us the ingredients and that’s pretty much as informative as knowing the topics for an exam.
My first experience feeding food to someone other than my chocolate man became a reality… Soon after I got married and moved to our little own abode I befriended a puppy near home. I started to feed the dog some left over food… The first night it wagged its tail like I was offering the best bone in the milky way. It ate without a wink and wagged its tail and then ran away. It felt so amazing, gratifying, satisfying feeding someone with self-made food. (guess one of those Florence nightingale moments) This continued for a few more nights. To be very honest I started to prepare a little more food just to feed the dog. On the 5th night I surreptitiously noticed that the cutie little puppy was exhilarated only seeing me but not the food in my hand. “Ignorance is bliss” said some learned person and I chose to follow him/her. I very conveniently ignored the signs. There was no sign of the puppy on the 6th night and nights after that. I was completely heartbroken. So my five-minute fame of feeding my hand cooked delicacy ended in Apocalypse ?
Athithi Devvoo Bhava
Every time we visited our in-laws place the constant complaint about my other half would be ” You have lost so much weight! Sad ? you don’t get to eat good non veg food in Bangalore”
I am a vegetarian by birth and non -vegetarian by marriage. There are various types of vegetarians
1. Those who eat only egg but are vegetarians
2. Those who eat only rice /curry part of the non veg rice or curries and still are vegetarians
3. Those who only cook non-vegetarian food but don’t eat the food and still claim they are vegetarians
4. Those who eat only sea food but still argue vegetarianism.
5. Those vegetarians who run a mile away when they hear, smell, see anything which moves being cooked.
This was one of the habits I have developed since wedding, buy groceries from places which have named the groceries. I used to ensure the grocery remains in the same packet to save me from donning the Sherlock Holmes hat to investigate if the dal is toor dal or Channa dal.
Even in my wildest dreams I have never pictured myself cooking, forget non -veg cooking. There, was my 6 feet chocolate hero standing and drooling over his mommy’s non veg delicacies. I, then decided I will leave no stone unturned in trying my hands in cooking the forbidden food in my mom’s house (praying I don’t see any stone to upturn in the near future). In just a few days I got the most awaited call of the century—- we were to have his cousin for lunch. Very casually my chocolate hero said ” Why dont you try fish fry?” . I said OK with the most exhilarating look I could manage. He rushed to get the ingredients needed for the delicacy. The idea of feast for the guest in my mind was rice, curry , sea food fry and yummy Jamoon. Advantage of buying jamoon packet is that the recipe is right behind the cover. I very diligently followed the instructions to prepare the delicacy… It was a pat on the back moment and I was very impressed with the result.
There, chocolate hero was back with the sea food and I was asked to clean them . The first time I cleaned veggies was after I received the marriage certificate , I was pondering how to clean the non veggie , veggie…I stood starring at it for ages and to my utter shock, the guest arrived bringing tears in my eyes. After the usual greetings , the guest questioned if all was well as I looked like I had just then seen a ghost. On understanding my plight , his cousin offered to clean the fish and also cook the same… There , I have done the unthinkable , made the guest cook for us . I was happy to atleast offer the sweet, JAMOON made by me. Lunch all made , done and cleaned.. Time for deserts…To my shock the sugar syrup has held the jamoons as hostage and I am unable to break the bond. I was thinking I should just offer the Jamoon vessel with a hammer to the guest and ask him to help himself. Atleast he might be able to do some work out with the Hammer. There goes the saying ” Nothing worth having ,comes easy “. I named the desert as ” Jamoon on ROCKS”
Colors of life
With time, I finally understood the trick of making Avial and fish curry the most staple foods of my hubby. One day I made Avial for dinner and when served my chocolate hero’s comment was “Why is Avial green in color, it should be red in color ?” I heard a similar comment on fish curry “Why is the fish curry yellow, it should be red in color?” Another Under the Banyan tree enlightenment – I realized that ingredients, taste and color are important to make the dish workable. To make life easier I have a few artificial colors at home to save the grace .
Internet is a boon and ban . It has been my agony aunt , my tutor when in need. I have learnt umpteen things about various items, dishes, tools in cooking.
• Microwave is not only used for reheating food but also to bake cake, bread. In fact some microwaves (LG for one) is really smart and can be programmed to make any Indian, kids , Continental dishes, etc ( my Einstein Eureka info )
• When dishes dont result the way they should , there is a very simple solution – Rename the dish to match the looks ? ( Eg: Jamoon on rocks)
• Never read a recipe like a science fiction.Recipes are like a dating service , they never end up looking like the picture.
• When nothing works there are always restaurants which deliver food home ?
• Internet has answers to questions like “Why does cooking take 4 hours, eating 10 mins and cleaning 2 nights and days?
• Whatsapp!!! Zindabad where recipes are posted, envied and cherished.
Life nahin hai Laddooo, else all of us would have diabetes…