I love to cook. I love to cook for people who love to eat. I love to cook for people who appreciate the taste, at least for the time and energy that went into it. Don’t ask me what is the connection between the title and this post…read on
The truth is women love to be appreciated. For things big and small. We Indians are not culturally a flower giving, love expressing, appreciating sort of people…though what has tradition and culture got to do with it I don’t understand. But oh ye man..get your woman a single flower once a while, tell her the curry is awesome, give her a peck on your way out the door…and you will see how different things can be. The 3rd happens everyday in my house 🙂
Let me not digress….as I said before, I love to cook, to experiment and make new dishes. Not that I am a Julia Child, but I like it. Not the sambars and rasams and the mundane daily stuff..but occasionally I love to give a twist here and there in those mundane things too-a different rasam, a different chutney.
I love to bake, I love to surf the net and try out new dishes. And when it is served with love, there is always an expectation on how it gets rated. But the expectation soon turns to hair pulling when all that I get back is SILENCE . The enthu on scrolling down FB while eating or looking at the TV screen is not shown on what is served. Here I would be waiting with bated breath on what K will say. But no, finally after a few mouths-“U tried something new?” is the question asked with the eyes still riveted to the TV. Then silence again…chomp, chomp, chomp. Why are men so un-appreciative, so uncommunicative? (for loss of better words)
Unable to wait any more, I normally take matters into my own hands (if possible legs too)..and this is how the conversation goes
Me-“I made this new dish. How is it?” (My face would have all the “arty” expressions)
K-Hmmm, I’ve just started eating na (this after half the food is eaten)
Me-But you have eaten half of it na, you should know by now whether its nice or not.
K-yeh its nice. See, dear the fact that I am eating without saying anything is proof enough that its great. Else I would have told you immediately that something is wrong..A broad grin follows
Me-a typical WTF moment later “But when we go to somebody’s place for lunch/dinner, how is that you say such good things just after licking the FIRST mouth and that too a teeny weeny bit”
K-Oh that I have to say..for courtesy sake!!
So, does that mean there is no need for courtesy at home? There is no need for appreciation at home? Everything a wife cooks after slogging in the kitchen, checking for salt, taste, tweaking the recipe to suit the husband’s palate is not worth it???? Seriously!!!!
But the moment salt is a little less/more, or half a chilli is in excess or the gravy is too thin/thick-then the comments come out in full flow just after the first mouth. How does that happen–bang on every time???? And the answer sometimes is “It’s not possible to appreciate every time”. But why? When you do something in office and present it to your boss, don’t you expect appreciation? Don’t you feel disgusted when there is no acknowledgement??? So why should it be different for the one at home? Buddha’s soul prevails into hubby’s body and silence prevails then on.
Next is the comparison to mom’s cooking. When will men understand that wives are not clones of their mothers to cook exactly like what she does? Agreed you have been eating her food for the last 25-30 yrs, but that is what exactly what we have also been doing in our homes. We have also been eating our mom’s cooking for the last quarter of our lives. So would you be ok if we cook “our mother’s cooking” everyday and crib about missing mom’s cooking? First of all you yourself do not know how your mom cooks or what method she uses to cook that particular dish. All you ever did was eat what she served and that was heaven. Not that you appreciated her in person any time for all the cooking she has done. How is another person supposed to know her way of cooking? My friend once told me “The more he says things like-this curry should have been made like this. This chutney should have been like this, the more I don’t want to cook like what his mother does. I can easily find out from my MIL how to make this stuff. But I don’t want to”. It’s irksome, its like that horrible scratching feeling on your back, where you want to dig your nails into and scratch vigorously, but can’t reach it.
Comparisons can’t get you everywhere. Specially when it comes to comparisons between two women…my dear men, you should know never to go there. At least try and appreciate the cooking, say good things first and then try and say things like “there is another way of making this same thing. Just check with my mom”, mind you that will help. But what do you do when you are not on talking terms with your MIL and still are expected to make similar dishes???!!!! 🙄
The minute we girls get married, we automatically tune ourselves into cooking what the husband likes and whether we know it or not, our palate changes to what the man likes. We too crave for our mom’s cooking, and believe me when I say that is the only cooking we learn. Anyway after marriage all that would change and whatever we learnt has to be un learnt–because HE does not like it that way or HE prefers it this way. Then why the hell do mothers and grandmothers keep on harping that girls need to learn cooking before marriage??? Might as well learn things from scratch after marriage-coz you are going to cook what He likes. I don’t think any woman cooks something for her husband and then makes something different just because she likes it that way. And then when there are kids-you anyway have to cook what they like. Where and when does a woman actually cook something because she likes it or because she wants to eat that particular dish? It would be Heaven on Earth if the husband decides to surprise his wife by bringing breakfast in bed or taking over the kitchen on a weekend. That should include cleaning up the kitchen after cooking too :-). What say?
I love my mom’s cooking, though she was good at making Non-veg, she only knew a handful of veggie dishes. My dad would be so happy and appreciate it whenever mom made her Mutton Biriyani. It was simbleee out of the world…the moist biriyani, with the mutton perfectly cooked, the spices and masala blended just right into the basmati rice…muaahhh. Her white fluffy aapams and chicken curry….(slurp slurp) are to die for. There was no appreciation otherwise from dad. Food always had to be on time on the table-breakfast had to be ready by 8am, lunch by 1230pm and dinner by 8pm even on weekends when my mom and dad were at home. So in a way being a working woman, there was no respite for her even on weekends. Actually there was more work on weekends!
The way my mom cooked, I was always under the impression she learnt everything knew the nuances from her growing up years…because she constantly used to crib that my sister and me did not bother to learn cooking at least to save our own lives. But the cat was out of the bag when once on our vacation to Kerala, I heard her own sister chiding her saying “She started cooking so well after marriage. When younger, all she used to do was climb trees and run around the fields whenever we used to ask her to help us in the kitchen. Because she was the youngest she was very spoilt and got her away for everything”. There, there it was…THE TRUTH! The truth which was used time and again in my house by me against my mom to calm her down whenever she started the “you should learn to cook” dialogue. Aha..revenge is sweet, whoever said so otherwise is a fool 🙂 😈
And then when I see those vivacious, bubbly, enthusiastic girls who loved to eat out while in college and while they were working, cook all 3 meals at home because the husband (who is highly educated, in a great job, has travelled different countries) does not like eating out and prefers only home cooked food, I feel sad. I feel sad when I think do these men ever consider what their wives want…at least once a while? Don’t they feel like eating out or ordering in once a while, just because she would like it or just to give her a break?
I’m glad I am free to cook what I want, when I want. Sometimes if I don’t feel like cooking, its not an issue at all-K gets food on his way home or we order in. K is such a non-fussy eater, he eats anything I cook for him :-). Though sometimes I want to empty the kadai on his head, most of the time I don’t mind that my taste has changed to suit him. Though he is a light eater and claims “just because I love that particular dish, I can’t eat the whole bowl”, I still believe you should be able to have 4-5 extra mouthfuls when you like something. Is it not? 😀
But I am at my wits end when
1. K finishes 3 dosas/3 chappthis with just 2 spoons of side dish.
2. when K asks for jam or honey or pickle as a substitute when I have toiled way in the kitchen and cooked stuff with love.
3. When I have guests at home and see them eating, relishing and licking their fingers and going for a 3rd helping when K’s small tummy gets filled with just the 1 and 1/2 helping. I just wish his tummy would accommodate more.
To top it all deciding what to cook everyday!!!! Argggggh!!! Sometimes I just can’t go to sleep if I haven’t decided what to cook for the next day!!! Yess I am like that 🙂
Leaving you with an image of Carrot Kheer I made for Ugadi 2013
Photo Credits – My dear hubby 🙂