I am going to write about my tryst with cooking and hope you will still like me just a little at the end of this!!
If you know me in person know of my love-hate relationship with the kitchen. I love food, I hate cooking!!
My tryst with the Kitchen started as a young girl.. I spent hours in the kitchen watching my mom cook as I sat on my perch - the kitchen counter! I would yap away and that would be the extent of my contribution to the meal!
When I turned 16, my mom declared if I wanted any fried snacks, I would have to make it myself... Reluctantly I began venturing into the kitchen to fry up a storm!! And leave dozens of unwashed dishes in the sink, and leave my mom wondering how I could go through so many dishes to make 10 pakodas!
Then I started working and staying on my own.. We put this learning to good use. And made pakodas for a gathering of 10-15 ever so often.. The guys would buy the ingredients and cut up the veges, I would then fry it and my Roomie poor girl would do the dishes!
I recall making rasam one day.. We (My roomie and I .. both southies) invited our friend a Punjabi guy for lunch.. He tasted my rasam and declared there was something wrong.. He walked us through the process of making rasam and we then realized we had forgotten both tomatoes and dal.. We employed a cook soon!!
I then decided to get married, but even before that I made sure DH knew how to cook. I of course refused to learn any cooking in the months before the marriage.. However, after the wedding I took 2 months off from work and learnt cooking (DON'T YOU DARE LAUGH!!) ....
The following conversation will tell you how well,
Me: I am making parupu-usili, I just soaked the dal..
DH: Please don't make parupu-usili.. just make std sabji that will do!!
Me: But I want to eat parupu-usili
DH: Then you should have soaked the dals at least 2 hrs ago!!
That would shut me up
Despite the fact that I would be stumbling around in the kitchen, I had (still have) the audacity to presume that I could cook in less than an hour.. at 11:30 AM I started thinking about what to make for lunch!
The 2 months at home did nothing to improve my culinary skills. I did spend a lot of time on Yahoo Messenger though!!
So finally I gave up and went back to the tried and tested Fried Rice and Sabji. Being South Indians we never could tell if it was good or bad,.. and we survived.
Then came the real trial. I moved to India, had a child and invited my MIL to stay with me. Now my MIL had to take care of Nantu and so couldn't cook on week days. She also couldn't survive on Fried Rice. So I did the unimaginable - I started cooking traditional South Indian food. Now if you know me, you know I am very paranoid when it comes to food.. so I made South Indian fare sans Salt, Chili , Coconut and Oil !!! I know you are pitying my MIL.. pity me instead!!
I have of course learnt a lot in the past 5 years..
I have learnt to blame the "podi" (Sambhar powder and rasam powder) or the brand of "rice" (oh yes I manage to burn that or make it into a mushy paste!!).
I have learnt the magic words "Calories", "Healthy food".... when my food turns out to be tasteless and flavorless.
I have learnt about the ready made pastes that make the gravies taste oh so wonderful!! (Only when I manage not to burn them)
I have learnt to cook South Indian food when North Indians visit and vice versa, and when I have a mixed gathering I make Pasta (You cant go too wrong with Pasta) or Thai Curry (Ready made paste remember?)
If the gathering includes Americans too, there is always take out and the pricey caterer!!
I have learnt to fake headaches or fever to make DH cook (even after he has had a long day!! :P)
And then I have learnt to say ....
To Nantu "You don't have to like it.. you just have to eat it "
To DH "If you don't like it, you can do the cooking"
And of course I have learnt that there is always the dependable pizza place!! :)
After Word: The reason I make this post is because I know so many of my fellow bloggers claim that they are lacking in culinary skills. When you read this I hope to put your thoughts in perspective!!
After After Word: The past years we have traveled a lot and eaten in a lot of obscure places. We have also been to some friend's places who are also unfortunate with their culinary struggles. While I empathize with them,
DH says "Oh I wish I could have a home cooked meal"
I ask "Really, you prefer my cooking"
DH says "To this, yes!!"...
Even though that doesn't sound quite like a compliment.. I cant help dance with joy!!