All Talk and No Action Saturday, January 9, 2010

Food makes me happy.

Not just the eating part, but everything that goes in before the actual fare is ready to be consumed - the whole idea of a particular dish, its history, the method of preparation, the variations brought in by various regions, the trivia behind its sustenance...

I don't remember always being like this. Infact I was mostly content with whatever came my way. Simple, homemade dal chawal was often enough to make my day. Details never bothered me as long as whatever was served, was decent and palatable.

All through my teens, I prided myself on the fact that I could cook and survive, when cooking, was the last thing on the minds' of girls my age.It was so not 'in'! You cooked only if you had a guy and wanted to prove that you were a 'gharelu material'! Needless to add, I stopped stepping in the kitchen.

But how long can you keep the facade? Not long enough, if most ladies in your family love to talk about food, cook lavish meals and lap any opportunity to entertain guests with the newest recipe on the block!

Though this time around when I took charge of the rolling pin (belan, for the un-initiated), I was in for a rude shock! Gone was the bachpan ka pyaar and dulaar. All that remained were the perfection and finesse with which my mom prepared food, a model, I was asked to quickly follow. My lazy ways, slipshod methods and lax attitude had to be made redundant, if peace had to be given a chance in the kitchen.

'There is nothing like a bad food day Mukta!' Was often mouthed when I served anything less than good.

Now before you put on your over-imaginative thinking caps, let me assure you that my mom is not a devil. Far from it. Yet, when it comes to food, she can be very hard to please. Her own experiments with food began after marriage. That she turned out to be a fabulous cook, was a boon for the family and my bukkhad friends and a big bane for me!

Mothers who are good cooks can be hard on their daughters - They would love nothing more than to be beaten at the game by their daughters. This dawned on me fairly late.

My true experiments with food started only when I was in HK. After settling into the office, unpacking and crying had bored me to death, I decided to take charge of my life!

Being independent meant being really independent. So I decided not to depend on friends, Indians and office lunch parties to take care of my 'Paapi Pet'. All those who think I am being filmi, yeah, go take a walk

This round of my kitchen experiments was truly an eye opening, funny, satisfying and mostly, a humbling experience.

My weekly shopping trysts were loads of fun, specially, if done with friends. While they fretted over which milk to buy and what roti packets would last long, I mulled over which veggies to stock for the next week and what spices to experiment with. That I had no one to seek help from was daunting and liberating at the same time.

I was free to cook, eat, experiment, waste, order when lazy, skip when sleepy, hog when moody.

But with time I realised, that I wasn't very different from my mom.

Though wanting in style and speed, I too liked being methodical, I was equally interested in the details and would just not use shortcuts to save the hassle. Just Like for her, cooking was always an enjoyable activity and perfection would definitely come, but with patience.

I also realised that I cooked the best when I had no standards to match or expectations to meet. I loved it when after a long day at office, most friends called me before dialling in for parcel, just to check if I had cooked for them too, or had any leftovers. I enjoyed being told to 'head' the food department at the innumerable house parties my friends organised. AND I absolutely loved to surprise my friends with kheer, biryani, cutlets or dal chawal when they missed home.

All the above, made me respect the lakhs of women, housewives as well as working mothers - who cooked everyday, mostly without much appreciation, and tried their very best to brighten the days of their families, for food is not just about taste and aroma - it is very much about care, love, affection and bonding.

About my mom, I still have a million years to go before I reach her state of perfection, we still bicker on how things need to work in the kitchen and she still thinks I am a lazy bone who won't be able to find her way through the complexities of a kitchen-life. Yet, she is my best supporter, gets excited everytime I try my hand at a new delicacy and the only one whose approval and appreciation I seek when I cook.

I am not known to express my love in the open. Yet, just for this time, I have to say that I love my mom and am indebted to her for shaping my thoughts on food.

Well this post is special for another reason too. It is my first ever attempt at mobile blogging!!

Watch out all ye morons (all my friends), who dared to call me 'tech dumb'. 2010 will make you eat your words.


ashkd said...

True expression of pure love for cooking!!! :-) Go with it!!!!! 2010 also waits for your going with your this passionate love dream and life of yours.. :-)

allthecrap said...

superb post shows ur passion for food..nicely written..on a cell phone? really?? :O

Btw this post makes me feel that we are heading in some different zone as well :P (I hope you get this one ) as you said 2010 will change many things :D; more power to you gal!! keep blogging and cooking.

All Talk and No Action said...

@ashkd - thank you ji :) about dream, god willing, things should fall into place.

@allthecrap - i am glad you liked what i wrote. I wrote it at 2 in the morning and frankly, was tired of punching into the cell pad. But i was happy with the effort.
About 'different zone', i can think of a 100 things you mean here. So please elaborate :)

Anonymous said...

I have never seen someone so humble and honest and willing to help friends and prove them right....

Who else would spend 2-3 hours typing on a mobile and making some blog entry when one can easily use a computer and get the same done in say an hour or so and on the top of it reveal to the whole world like it's a big achievement....

Oh My God...!! [Janice (of Friends fame) istyle ]
The level to which people compilcate simple things and try to prove that this was a BIG achievement !!
Are you by any chance a MBA grad / Manager ?? ;)

All Talk and No Action said...

@anon - dear anon friend, thank you for your comment. Though I would have loved to address you by your name.

About technology - I do believe that if not used in moderation, It does spoil people. And I am glad not to be a pro at it.

To your Janice style OMG, I would give a Chandler like expression and add - thank your stars that am not an mba/manager - else I would have used a PPT to prove my point :)

Nirav..!! said...

goodie post,witty reply :) :-)

All Talk and No Action said...

@Nirav - Thank you for stopping by :)

Rajlakshmi said...

reminds me of my cooking disasters :D good luck with your experiments :D
nice post...

All Talk and No Action said...

@Rajlakshmi - Thanks for stopping by :)