A thought for food..

Cooking seems fascinating to me. The aromas rising from the pans and pots, the sautéing of the ingredients, the cool thing that mothers do that transforms absolutely nothing to mouth watering dishes in a millisecond, all have this happy, romantic aura around it. Yes, that aura as many of you may point out, could just be the smoke and steam in the kitchen, but it has me hooked.
As a child, I used to (and still do) love watching my mother cook, perched on top of the counter, and would beg her to let me do something but since my mother considered cooking too dangerous for a three year old, I was generally satiated with a boiled potato or a cup of curd and lots and lots of utensils, with which I would proceed to make a right royal mess out of the kitchen. As I got older, my begging gave way to being allowed to stir the pans but mostly I was delegated the ‘safe’ parts of cooking – also read ‘boring’. Now, before I give you a wonderful image of me, being the recently turned adult that I am, cooking away in the kitchen, I should tell you I have hardly made more than a couple of dishes. But those couple of dishes I made with such enthusiasm and eagerness, that I made my mother proud (I brag). My piece de résistance is an amazing tasting “avial” made with my mothers instruction, but I do make a mean pasta and have been declared a sandwich expert by my cousin, but before I get ahead of myself, I should also mention that my attempt at making idlis resulted in a congealed mess at the bottom of the steam cooker.
After a couple of hours of pouring over cookbooks and gathering the correct ingredients, my mother and I put together a very indianised version of a lasagna, and when you look around and see that no one has died of poisoning and after your first mouthful you realize that, wait, it actually does taste good, it gives you such a nice sense of accomplishment and contentment. Food really is beautiful.
Surprise surprise, I love cooking shows. I’m not sure whether I like cooking because of cooking shows or I like cooking shows because I like cooking ( another chicken or egg first conundrum), but I have watched hours of them ranging from fillet Mignon to chicken korma and cobb salad . My family doesn’t get this because we’re vegetarians and they don’t understand the point of me watching how to cook the perfect veal, because well, I’m never going to make it. But that’s not the point at all. The point is the beauty, the indescribable elegance of movements in the kitchen which I one day hope to achieve at least in Bharatanatyam, and how utterly delectable it looks when they place it oh-so-perfectly on the plates, garnished with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. As the ‘coriander in charge’ at home, before every meal I love chopping it into pretty little bits and sprinkling them over the rasam or even plain old curd rice for that matter (for which my brother hates me). Yes, it may be a little over the top when the chefs start talking about the humour and the emotions in a particular dish, but before you say anything, ooo look how pretty it is! Forgive me for being blasphemous but a melting chocolate cake or a properly made (and by that I mean Italian made) arabiatta, sometimes seems more beautiful than the Mona Lisa.
Living in a hostel seemed to have quelled my appetite for cooking (hehe), but I recently watched ‘Julie and Julia’, and it all came rushing back. That movie just made sense, and I have spent the better part of an entire day reading blogs about cooking and googling very cool sounding cooking jargon.
I know its very easy to say I love cooking after ‘watching’ people cook, and being treated as the resident ‘gourmet’ at home, but I have a feeling or at least I hope that I’ll still enjoy it when cooking actually becomes a responsibility.
I guess we’ll find out soon, because I’m pretty sure that after reading this, my mother is going to hand over her kitchen duties to me and wish me ‘good luck’. Hmm..

By
Niranjana Narayanan

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