Monday, January 26, 2009

Misadventures of the Married Kind- IV: The Domestic God in the Kitchen.

Continued from here

I’m ashamed to admit that before I got married, “Kitchen” and “I” weren’t words that could easily be seen hobnobbing in one sentence. Oh all right, I am not ashamed of it. In fact if there was any way I COULD stay out of the kitchen even now, I would.

And so, knowing my limitations, for the first few weeks after marriage, I was quite circumspect about the cooking projects – and firmly stuck to stuff which couldn’t be messed up – viz. mostly potatoes and other such accommodating vegetables ( When I write that famous treatise of mine – “ Vegetables for Dummies” , I shall have a special acknowledgement page for potatoes I think)

A few weeks of this and the hero started displaying chicken withdrawal symptoms. So I thought it was about time to up the collective gourmand ante and experiment some non-vegetarian dishes.

I had never cooked chicken in my life – all my mother’s attempts to instil some culinary sense in me had been met with firm (and vocal) resistance. The only recipe I knew (discovered by the genius of a school friend) started with the eternal words of “First you catch the chicken and then you behead it...” Experience had taught me that was not necessary – there were nice sealed bags of Real Good chicken easily available in the supermarket aisles.

Hero on the other hand had assured me that he often made chicken in the bachelor heydays. I assumed that was more than probable – people tend to know how to cook the stuff they like(note my extensive potatoes repertoire)

So anyways, I asked him whether he wanted to cook it the first time we got it. He refused on the grounds that I needed to learn (!). Somehow I muddled my way through it (with Ma on the speaker phone) and chicken curry happened.

After a few episodes of “You need to learn” I called his bluff and shoved him into the kitchen.

Hero with appropriately solemn dignity started prepping for the event. The knife tray was laid out. Onions were brought out from the basket; the chopping board was aligned (exactly parallel) to the kitchen platform.

And then the awe-inspiring process of actually cooking the chicken curry began.

First he ceremonially placed half an onion on the chopping board. Then he examined it with a narrow eyed concentration from all sides (picture a pro-billiard player with a cue – the way the eyes move from one side of the table to another. I assume that is the same concentration one would find the heart surgeon).

Then a terse command of “Knife”. He carefully he made the first incision across the heart of the onion. This surgery took approximately fifteen minutes – while I stood and watched with my mouth hanging open.

Then he wanted to sauté the onions – I stepped out of the kitchen and came back to see the milk vessel spluttering with some oil in it (fortunately no onions). When asked what he was doing with oil in THAT utensil, he calmly replied that he was cooking.

(Fortunately I managed to save the milk vessel before he added chicken into it. That also shed light on a few things which had confused me till date: - viz. why he had seemed astounded at my very modest number of kitchen utensils. I found out after inquiries that he had operated with three vessels which served as a multipurpose jack-of-all-trades – one day for milk, another for chicken, the third to cook daal in...).

I handed him a cooker instead. He carefully proceeded to dump ALL the contents in at the same time, added whatever masalas took his fancy, closed the cooker and turned to me and said

“Now we pray”

Hmm. I wonder whether THAT is the reason people say Grace before meals.

P.S. Further investigations also indicated that when he had given all those swashbuckling chicken-cooking assurances, he had actually meant the “Ready-to-eat” meals – the sort one actually dumps into a cooker and prays (that it’s fresh and one doesn’t end up with food poisoning)


Pinku said...

and seeing that you lived to tell the wasnt that bad isnt it...the prayers actually worked!!!

so now you can believe in God...see such a pious outcome of the experiment that started with the milk vessel.

Aquarius said...

oh my seems you and I r so much alike about the cooking aspect of life...I too like to run away from it every chance I get...Do read my post..'My experiments with cooking 1 & 2'.

Thankfully my better half is a wonderful I do manage to eat good stuff once in a while :)

Parul said...

Hello fellow potato lover,

So you got the India Helps mailer, eh? Pliss to fwd to all and sundry in your mailing list. Let's see how far viral marketing takes this one.

BlueMist said...

I so so appreciate your other half's guts and efforts to cook. I think when two people have same knowledge level it is easy to manage :D You should be proud that he tried to make you happy and gave you break from kitchen chores by donning the next budding chef :)

narendra shenoy said...

Enjoyed very much!

Nandini Vishwanath said...

:D LOL, hilarious. Why are husbands on either end of the spectrum?

P said...

hi hi both of you were so spoilt :D
And how was the chicken ultimately?

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Cool one.
Waiting for such inevitable times to come :|


Amey said...

Ahem... on behalf of all bachelors everywhere, I want to let you know that 3 is perfectly acceptable number for usable utensils in kitchen. (That does not include cooker and tava) Expect our formal letter soon.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Pinku - what makes you think we ATE it?

aquarius - "better half is a wonderful cook" - how come i never even SAW one of those? All males i know have been terrible in the kitchen. My dad was alone for a while and he used to make tea for himself and then give some to the watchman - after a couple of days the watchman fellow insisted that he would make the tea. My father claimed it was because the watchman was embarassed to be drinking tea from sahib. Ma and i knew better!

Parul - have done so!

Naren - :)

Nandini - cooking spectrum? Like i said i have seen only one type.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Bluemist - for the record, he DOESNT cook. I suspect even stuff which he knows how to do he has delearned after marriage. That attempt was because i shoved him inside the kitchen.

P - chicken had some damage control done and then it was ok. spoilt? hmmm. yus maybe you are right.

Nikhil - pls to post once they do. Misery loves company!

Amey - Are you in cohorts with the husband by any chance?

AmitL said...

That was hilarious-I never really looked at potatoes as 'accomodating veggies'(Must try my hand at them sometime)...ROFL-that the 'expertise'related to 'ready-to-cook' meals..but,then,believe me,that's an art in itself-reading their 'instructions',converting the' suggested additional ingredients' from their English names to what we call them in Hindi,going to the S/m to look for them,etc..and,I refer only to the veggie ready-to-cooks,here!!LOL.
But,u know,we 'other halves'(Didn't say 'better',to avoid any controversies at who's better)do tend to be be good at what we have learned..for eg,I'm good at making tea,coffee,roasting papad,upma..:)Of course,I haven't ever found too many bakras to try out the upma,yet,except myself.:)

Trauma Queen said...

ur misadventures give me stronger reason to not marry

however modern indian men may be - they r still scumbags who wanna watch tv while the wife cooks

equality is a crappy concept - it does not exist

Thanatos said...

Sounds like my daily routine! I have 1 vessel. ONE.

shilpa said...

Hahah thats hilarious! Man yours and mine are cut from the same cloth! Mine assures me that he can cook...only to turn the kitchen upside down in pursuit of Maggi Noodles...Hmmmmm..I guess we're eating out tonight!

Maddy said...

ah! I see the transition from DG to hero - things are looking up even though the chicken experiment did go down!!

Australopithecus said...

hey. i have 3 utensils only! most grad students i know do too :D

Lakshmi said...

just entered wonderland!! LOL! hilarious posts... :D

maidinmalaysia said...

oh finally! i nearly turned non-vegeterian by the time you uploaded this one!

lol! too funny