Friday, August 27, 2010

From The Diary Of An Imperfect, Inexperienced and Newly Born Cook...

I was one of those girls who never bothered to venture into the kitchen not because she was never interested in cooking but mainly because my mom used to scare me with dialogues like ‘Don’t touch anything. The vessels are hot!’ or a ‘Get out of my kitchen. You’re slowing things down!’ or even worse ‘Eeee! Don’t use the knife like that! You will cut your fingers!!!!!’. Yes, here is a girl who was very VERY pampered.

I wouldn’t really blame my mom for freaking out whenever I enter the kitchen. After all, it was yours truly along with her lab partner who created a mini bomb in midst of mixing and matching chemicals during her school chemistry lab days. Cooking is sort of like a chem lab experiment, you got to agree; you either screw up things completely or you get it just right. The chemical solution that I made then was supposed to turn a bloody red color but instead turned into a light grey which then broke the test tube after bursting out with a mild fizz. I remember a student next to us remarking ‘You guys should never enter a kitchen’.

How long can a girl continue to be like that? I had to learn cooking for the better half, if not for me. I mean, I can literally survive on take out (read junk food) without ever getting tired of it but the husband (like any other guy living abroad) prefers home cooked naadan food. I had no choice really! Highly enthusiastic about finally getting a chance to experiment in this restricted (or even sometimes avoided ;)) area of the house called 'the kitchen', I searched for simple recipes to try out on the net.

Me – “Amma, this recipe requires tomatoes

Mom – “Tomatoes finished. I used them up yesterday.”

Me – “Ok, I will try this recipe then. Will use potatoes.”

Mom (giving me a smug look) – “No potatoes either. I made potato upperi today remember?”

I don’t know if she finished off all the veggies in the house on purpose so that I won’t enter the kitchen. But then I kept bugging her to teach me something, and she had no choice. She knew I couldn’t be kept away from a kitchen for long and shared all her naadan (kerala) recipes with me. I browse the net and try out some new recipes too nowadays. Some are a success whereas some others don’t turn out so good. I am still in the process of learning, and I guess cooking is something which you can never completely learn. There’s always something new to try out or some new info to be absorbed!

I have spent so much time eating up my mom’s delicacies that even if I end up some place other than home and start missing her food, I can always feel better by thinking that I have eaten maa ka khaana more than the average female who has learnt cooking early. You see, moms usually dump all their work on their daughters once they come to know everything -- like how it is in my case nowadays (ahem!).

'Dhanya's theory of Early Cooking' states that 'The Early Learner Makes Her Mother Lazy Faster by Taking Over The Kitchen In A Shorter Span of Time As Opposed To The Late Learner' (applicable if and only if you are a girl). To explain this theory in detail -

Cooking at an early age -> you helping mom more in kitchen as you get more experienced -> Slowly, mom starts avoiding kitchen complaining of body pain (mostly) or other such excuses -> You taking over the kitchen and hence eating more of YOUR food -> Altering mom's recipes -> Mom's priceless recipes getting lost/forgotten.

So if you're at home and your mom is all healthy and well, let her do the cooking I tell you! Pretend like as if you dunno anything or pretend you have a backache or a headache all the time (like my sister.. kidding! :D). Remember, you're doing this only to help your mom not to lose her magic touch. Plus, you get to taste more of amma's original recipes and not your kachda altered ones.

If you are in your teens or early 20s and worried about not knowing anything in cooking, let me assure you that it’s no big deal! You can always learn it later. Right now, just enjoy life – and yes, your mom’s cooking while you still can!


  1. Righto! I agree that once mom is in kitchen, no one else should be allowed as the world's perfect dish is under preparation! :)

  2. I fully agree with "Dhanya's Theory of Early Cooking". I'm helping my mom that way.


  3. i study abroad and therefore have no choice but to cook myself but when i am home for holidays i can only be found on the dining table being served dish after dish of yummmy food :) Agree with your theory completely, the next time my mom asks me to make anything i will try and use it on her ! lol :D

  4. That's such a sweet piece of advice..

    Even i do not like disturbing mom when she is making food ..lolz..

  5. LOlzzz :P

    u r so much like me ;)
    the fundas at the end specially :P

  6. all the bestoo!! :) to your husband.. you can still manage with take-away I know! :P

  7. LOL..Story of my life baby :)

  8. unfortunately i can whip up almost anything! Being a foodie,sometimes i have a less choice when it comes to eating what i want! The only option..cook and serve urself!

  9. i know how to cook since i was 17 or 18 may be .. not to please anyone else but 2 please myself :-D ...i dunno what it will be like cooking 4 sum1 else :P

  10. He he yes i generally don't prefer to go into the kitchen when mom is cooking something. But yes i do try to help her without disrupting what she is doing.

  11. Kitchen scares me too =/ nice post!

  12. Nowadays I see lots of boys in kitchen! Nay.. not me. And they make fun of me for not even knowing how to make an omelette. :(


  13. your theory is the reason why all my school friends know cooking and despise it school se hi :P :P
    mom also tells me dont learn now, enjoy yeh wo, but i want to learn coz job bahar milegi toh abhinav ke tarah hv to make aloo paratha etc. :O
    he's a damn good cook u know :O at least he says so...
    i hv to learn maggi properly pehle :-w :-ss

  14. I can cook :D I help mOmmy too. I make rice almost everyday :D
    But u know u shouldnt show ur cooking skills to mum otherwise as u said she starts taking advantage :(
    But i cooked fr mum and papa on their anniversary and fr mum on mother's day :D She was so happy she loved it :D
    But then she took advantage of me and asked me to make something nice fr papa's bday too :O :O
    Whenever i cook something nice i have my cousin bhai's over and they come with cadbury bournvilles :D
    Good luck to u on ur cooking endeavour and im always available fr tips :D *boasts*

  15. lol such an encouraging post to ppl like me who are so worried about not knowing how to cook at the age of 22... :)...I must show this post to my mom yaar...

    I can so relate to this post. I cooked at hme when my mom went to India for 20 days...She came back and played the same game with me..she didn't want to enter into the kitchen..I had to pretend I dont know anything(well I still don't know anything):)...

    happy cooking :)

  16. I learned cooking myself as i just love eating and cooking but my mom, like yours prefer keeping me out of the kitchen...:D

  17. hehe!!!finally made yur entrance into unforbidden territory doll :)
    guess u knw my cookin tales very well,its true we can nvr replicate our Ammas magic touch :)..but lets make our own cookin tales now to tell our kids in the future!!happy bdy dearie<3

  18. "husband (like any other guy living abroad) prefers home cooked naadan food." - thats what happening to me since I left India

    Btw I too am trying my hand at cooking but its only baby steps

  19. definitely I did not do anything when home, i guess boys never do.. but it came as a jolt when i moved here.. over the years i have learnt to cook and i must say I love cooking now...

    get the music on, open a bottle of beer or two.. get the cooking started.. and sometimes add a dash of scotch or brandy in the dish makes all the difference he hehehe

    I remember once we had a aunt come over, i was beating coffee added some brandy to it, IT was MYSELF, she came i had to offer her too , too religious this woman, she drank and said WOWOW WHAT A COFFEE how do i tell her he he he

    I will try to follow your rulses when i am back home until then I got to TOIL he he he

  20. Haven't been in your space in a very long time and just found out that you are turning into that young married woman, boiling the pot ! Hearty wishes; the pics look lovely ! Have a great life ahead with lots of home cooked meals !

  21. interesting advice
    what if same idea is used with mother in law ?

  22. totally relate to this .. my mom used to scare me away with "you'll spill this" , "Why are you dicing the carrots the wrong " way kind of stuff.. I have somehow managed to learn cooking edible food only now .. its not too difficult ;-) !

  23. yeah i know.. cooking is not a big deal at all.. i learnt to make a perfect curry on 2nd attempt.. only that everyone makes it a big thing for gurls before marriage.. i hate it!!! :x

  24. Just loved your blog!!
    Amazing..Though I'm new to the blog sphere..
    I can completely relate to what you said about cooking...My mom too scares me away from kitchen with her comments...
    I am yet to learn any decent cooking..My mom is such a sweetheart that she makes the best dishes and always makes it a point to serve it herself to us.
    There are times she had warned me about my life after marriage where my culinary skills would be put to test. I follow the same theory as yours. Me and my sis had often discussed the same ;)


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