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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cooking and Me

It’s been ages since I sat down peacefully and wrote something… It’s not that nothing interesting was happening … On the contrary lots of things were happening… But I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write peacefully… That’s the problem with me … I need to sit down in my space with no other chores on my mind to be able to write something…

There are so many things to talk about… I just don’t know where to begin.

Oh well … I start with the fact that I LEARNT COOKING… Yes yes yes… ( I am doing thing weird mental dance) … For those who have been reading my blog you know that I just completely totally hated even venturing into the kitchen to make tea… And now I have learnt to cook a decent meal…( Its an achievement for me … It’s like conquering my own Mount Everest )

It all started with my cook’s announcement that she is taking an holiday for 15 days…I was like NOOOOOOOOO!!!! What am I going to do???? I can’t eat every meal out especially when I am trying to watch my weight… And what about H? He is a total home cooked food kind of a guy… I knew he would eat outside and not crib because he doesn’t have much choice but I felt sorry for him… I had a week to prepare myself mentally to eat outside or look for alternative cook … Something I totally dreaded… Both me and H are fussy eaters and after a long search we found this cook whose cooking style we both approve and like… Finding someone who can replace her and that too just for 15 days in a weeks period seemed like a daunting task…Still I thought I would find a new cook… The fact that I could try cooking myself just didn’t cross my mind…

I asked the maids coming to my building , kept messages with the watchman, spoke to the neighbours I had never spoken to before just so that I find a temporary cook but no avail…It seemed that it was a holiday season for the maids and the cooks… Everyone had taken an off and the ones who stayed back to work were already overbooked… I was late…

So somehow I mentally prepared myself to eat out… Trying to make a list of affordable places who served good fresh and relatively healthy food… I checked out a local ‘poli bhajji kendra'( it’s a local sabzi roti joint of home cooked food ) but the sabzi options there were so sad that I just couldn’t bear the thought of eating it everyday…The rotis seemed ok though.. Then slowly the thought crept into my mind … What if I could try making at least a sabzi ? I could get rotis from outside or probably eat it with bread but we could have one home cooked meal…

With these thoughts churning in my head I reached office… There one of my colleagues was proudly telling others how her 6 year old daughter baked a cake and how she loves helping her mother in kitchen… I was astounded… A 6 year old baking cakes ? I couldn’t even remember one childhood memory of me in kitchen… Whereas all around me the girls in my office were chatting about how they learnt to cook what… And every one of them seemed to be an expert cook… Everybody seemed to have their own special dishes which they promised to get sometime to office… I was quiet.. They turned to me and I said… ‘ well I have a cook so I don’t usually cook ‘ For the first time in my life I felt ashamed of the fact that I can’t cook… Though I never admitted in front of them that I can’t cook… It was not much about cooking … It was rather about the fact that I was so dependent on someone else for such a basic need … I couldn’t feed myself and my husband if the cook is not around … I was throughly ashamed… I felt touched that all thorough the years that we have been married H never complained about my lack of cooking skill inspite of the fact that he simply loves home cooked food and would be overjoyed if I ever cooked… But he never complained… I was choked..

All around me my colleagues were discussing recipes and I was listening for the first time… Usually when somebody started talking about recipes and stuff I used to turn my attention elsewhere thinking oh this doesn’t concern me… But suddenly this cooking chat became of vital importance to me… It seemed that I was in this completely new world which I had no clue about… I couldn’t make sense of the words they spoke , the ingredients , the cooking techniques… I was scared, nervous but determined…

I decided that I am going to learn to make 7 main course dishes so that I ensure that my husband gets varied home cooked food for a week. I realised that I might not like cooking but its a survival skill and I was totally determined to learn it…I surfed the net …Most websites had ingredients which I had no clue where to get… The Indian ones which spoke about ingredients I was familiar with had such elaborate procedures that I panicked…Then one of my colleague seeing my sudden interest in cooking recommended Tarla Dalal’s website…It was really helpful…I found some pretty basic recipes which looked yummy in the pictures shown…The instructions were simple and detailed …

I downloaded a few and suddenly could wait for the evening for my whole new adventure to start…I left a little early from office , excited about the grocery shopping… I had made a proper grocery list and was constantly checking and rechecking to ensure that I had everything before I reached home…I wanted to get the dinner ready before H comes home…Rushing home I quickly changed and went in the kitchen … All ready and excited… But soon my excitement went down… I realised chopping the vegetables is not as simple as it looks, it’s a tedious process and the preparation had taken such a long time that I was already tired before the actual cooking process began… The kitchen was looking like a war zone and I was dreading the fact that I have to even clean up after the cooking …I suddenly felt like bursting into tears and giving up…I came out of the kitchen sweaty, stinky and totally tired… Just then the door bell rang… H had come home… My grand plan of surprising him with my home cooked meal failed… I had tears in my eyes…

One look at me and he said , are you trying to cook for me???? He said with this incredulous look on his face… I just nodded without looking at his face .. But the joy in his voice was so obvious that I suddenly felt motivated… All was not wasted… The ingredients were ready… They didn’t look nice and well cut but what the hell one could still eat it… I could cook at least an edible meal…H asked if he could help me with anything… But now I was again excited … I wanted to prove myself… So I told him not to enter the kitchen just wait… So I bounced back in the kitchen trying my best to cook exactly as per the instructions … And voila !!! 20 minutes later I had a relatively decent looking sabzi ready !!!

H totally loved it and I have to admit it was yummy… I don’t know if I was just too hungry or excited to eat the veggie I had cooked… We had dinner in a completely messed up kitchen with a experimental main course but it was amazing….

I was tired but I couldn’t help feeling extremely proud of myself…

And thus started my cooking journey… I tried quite a few things after that… Nothing elaborate but totally edible and yummy…

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