If anyone of you has seen the movie “Julie and Julia”, you will understand from the subject what I am talking about. No matter how hectic is your schedule and your presence is absolutely solicited at ten different places at the same time- you belong to the category of movers and shakers, for keeping your mind sane, you need to pursue a hobby of some kind which makes you happy and gets you going. For some people its music, for some gardening, fine arts for some and yes! Cooking for some.
Cooking is an art. It is not simply the act of breaking ingredients into sizeable pieces, heating them and throwing in spices which are handy and in line of sight. Cooking is much more. Right from the selection of fresh and fragrant vegetables, chopping them into uniform and correct sizes, adding in just the right amount of the specific spices and condiments, waiting patiently for the dish to cook if it requires long cooking at slow flame, serving it on the right cutlery with garnishing providing the feast for eyes – it’s a big deal after all.
Similar to other forms of art, even this has to be mastered through practice over a period of time. Though some people come with a natural flair of it, unfortunately, most of us don’t and without actually grueling through the process and actually trying it out in the kitchen, through some magical elvish intervention, we don’t master the art overnight. Temperatures are bound to go high, overdose of ingredients is likely, or even the time for which it is supposed to get cooked can be exceeded.
If you are a woman who has been married for just a couple of years, you might have often come across this sentence from your husband after you made him a delicacy which is one of his favourite – “ It’s excellent but it’s not quite the same as mom’s”- and then he goes back into time with a tilt of head. Well yes! This might anger you but understand that food- even the smell of it, invokes memories. No two cooks can make the food taste exactly the same regardless of the similarity of ingredients or way of cooking- there’s always your signature in the dish you make.
In India, it is specially expected out of girls to learn cooking as a part of their grooming. But this trend is no longer in practice now. Though women are the masters of the kitchen traditionally, surprisingly enough, when you look at the chefs of the top notch hotels and restaurants- it’s ubiquitously dominated by men. We need to probe into the reason why is this so? Are women losing their touch or missing out on to the science of great food? According to me it’s simply because men, who normally do not cook, take their lessons real seriously when they’re up to it. For women, it’s just another day at the kitchen. Also, Indian women, who have been living in the image of the cook and the housekeeper for so long, are not interested in this activity anymore and don’t want to get engaged in it beyond a certain point.
Often when I talk to some of my very good female friends, who are smart and very competent professionally, I ask them whether they can cook or not. To my surprise, mostly, it’s a no. I ask them why. They reply why bother when the best of the culinary wonders are available for money. To them I tell how joyful is the experience of cooking, eating something which you’ve made right from the scratch and hearing other people’s compliments how perfectly it has been made. It’s simply wonderful and not at all tough if only some patience is kept.
So for those of you who don’t know cooking, now is the best time to start. You can start with something as simple as a sandwich and then move up gradually. For those who already know some of the routine dishes, why not try something completely new today?