Friday, April 27, 2012

Kitchen Kitsch

As an adult human being capable of reasoning out (in most cases if not all) and making seemingly proper decisions, I also back myself to accept that certain things are just not cut out to be done by me.Note how I am using a passive voice to shift the blame completely on the things.Cooking for instance. Despite my best efforts(best,purely on basis of a personal perception,others' views may vary!), somehow this activity has not succeeded in impressing me with all its 'purported' pleasures,as evidenced by people like Sanjeev Kapoor or the guy at Vahrevah or for that matter the numerous number of food blogs on the interwebs.  My relationship with the culinary chores can best be described as one of the love-hate kind,with hate being the overwhelmingly dominant feeling.

Like every other relationship, this also keeps having its highs and lows. The highs are achieved with great finesse especially when I am out to make upma or variants thereof-that much derided,much despised dish which for some strange reason has a special friendship with me. I've also had a good rapport with making pasta,but then we both got so bored of each other that now I have completely stopped meeting err making it. Classic case of familiarity breeding boredom if not contempt I would say. And strangely the very same familiarity with upma hasn't bred anything yet.

Now the act of cooking rice is one facet (if you may) of that relationship where one wouldn't really expect to see any lows, but not with me.One fateful day,armed with a mind riding high on the glories of a powerful mix of jet lagged home sickness unleashed on self after having returned to Dallas from  an India-based vacation, I  resigned to the fate of having curd-rice with some pickle for lunch. The god damned whistles would just not come.Instead what happened was the aroma of rice burning under pressure engulfing my living abode,at which point I only thought something was fishy about something in the apartment. And then it went BOOM-the realization that the odour was in fact emanating from my kitchen.

Utterly aghast, I then proceeded to turn off the stove and unravel the mystery about what on Earth could conspire against a simple attempt at cooking rice. As it turned out, I had just omitted a simple but crucial step involved in boiling rice- that of adding water. What I was staring into wasn't just brown/black burnt rice, but an abyss , a bottomless pit of hopelessness into which I had plunged after enjoying a 3 week vacation when I had  the luxury of the choicest of home made cuisine without having to enter the kitchen but for more helpings of the deliciousness that was being served. The magnitude of damage that mega fiasco did to the pressure cooker was just unimaginable.The poor utensil still bears those slight marks of carbon reminding me on every single occasion, "WATER IS NECESSARY FOR RICE TO BOIL". Or anything for that matter.

But then as I look back at that incident, I just tell myself, "may be I ended up making FRIED RICE,quite literally" and shrug it off in a smug kind of way. Quite luckily,I've always been surrounded with people who cook well. In India,I never had to stay outside,so it was never a problem. After coming to the US too, I've bumped into roommates who cook well. I just do my bit by taking over the dish washing duties. And of course the occasional upma/pasta/daal. Actually,as I type this I realize that I make decent curries with potatoes/cabbages/cauliflowers and green beans too. But thats about it. Cooking,clearly is not my cup of tea!