I recall during my dating years with my husband,I almost judged him for his obsession for food.I never thought I could organise dinners and cook huge meals – from where will I get the time for that?
It’s been three years since my marriage and among other things – it has been a culinary rollercoaster, that I have thoroughly enjoyed. My husband is an avid cook and I started as a sous chef with him at home to overcome my fear of experimenting. Ok of course getting past round rotis ,finely chopping onions and adding just the right amount of garam masala was fun. Now, coming after work and spending time in the kitchen is one of the most relaxing things we do (Netflix comes a close second – and that’s almost an achievement!).
After work, going to the gym needs a lot of motivation. Thinking of kitchen time as an activity on the other hand in the name of feeding ourselves is the best thing that can happen to foodies like us.There is an element of discipline also now– we get up early on every Saturday and Sunday – home-made brunch is actually a thing! North African poached egg, mediterranean shakshuka, dutch style rolled egg, spinach and egg frittatas – we cannot repeat the same dish in a month for brunch.
We have to categorise the joint cooking activity into two categories–
- the need based cooking (meal preparation for the week with the necessary watch on boring concepts such as balanced eating (Green vegetables etc )
- the exciting one (turning the kitchen into an experiment lounge and creating our own version of Julie and Julia).
The cuisines and the courses vary. So do the variations in results (I can tell you Lauki with the peel isn’t that bad after boiling). Sometimes, it’s like a comedy sitcom with a kitchen setting with neither saas nor bahu. It does include some wine though (and I don’t mean that as a sauce). It has made us go all out. We have taken this to an extreme now swapping some date nights where we used to go out to different restaurants, to ordering “recipe deliveries” at home. Yes, the meal subscription bug where you chose the dish and they deliver the exact ingredients needed has been the new outlet for us to spend money!
You almost feel you are in Sanjeev Kapoor TV show with the accurate proportions of each spice (I am talking about the thrill of दो छोटे दालचीनी and finely chopped basil) placed on your kitchen slab in small neat packets. In our defence, we are a team solving a puzzle where the reward is always a feast. We have coupled it with other strange things – like buying a white plate so that food photography looks good. We are millennials after all – this is what should be doing! Post the photo taking and photo sharing session,the Whatsapp remarks from respective in laws provide additional flavour to our food. The joint activity has made us define some arenas too – baking and Punjabi food is mine, all things brunch and all things with cheese – are his. I am a stickler when it comes to recipes and he is all about customisation. To keep the romance going, on birthdays and anniversaries,we still manage to surprise each other by cooking a meal – only one person goes into the kitchen and the other waits for the surprise.We have also identified our true friends and grouped them into sections – the ones who run away because they don’t want to be force fed and the ones who are always available for free food.
There is a dark side to the story. There is the post cooking task of cleaning and doing the dishes. Imagine a box of crayons is given to a child and he is made to stand in front of white wall – can we blame the child? It’s pretty much the same analogy when you give a well equipped kitchen counter space to my husband. There is always a squabble for what we want on the menu and the way a particular dish should have turned out and it did not. I don’t know how but the time when we cook and talk about our day and synchronise the whole process from preparing the ingredients to garnishing is something I look forward to after going home. In our busy lives, this could have been a chore we both would have pushed on each other. I am glad it’s exactly the opposite.I can imagine us growing old and wondering where all the cholesterol came from and saying to each other “yaad hai tum pehli baar tumne plastic spoon ko non stick par use kiya tha”.
There are lots of kitchen anecdotes I have in my kitty now – I can’t believe I am saying it – thank god adulthood happened and living on outside junk wasn’t an option for the survival of the digestion system.
To more cooking and more kitchen time!