If I had an idli for each of the times I’ve been told, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’ I would be able to cover the earth till it resembled one humungous idli, and even then had some left over to munch on as I went about completing the task.
Born into a Punjabi family, I was under the impression that mine was a community obsessed with food, till I wed into the Andhra Community and learnt otherwise.
Every time I meet someone new, ‘Bagunaara?’ (How are you?) is more often than not followed by the question ‘You cook?’ When I smile and cheerfully answer, ‘No!’ the expression on the opposite face it a Kodak moment. When Amma is with me, she hastily steps in to add ‘I am teaching her to cook and she is picking up recipes very fast!’ The Kodak expression is replaced by relief for a fleeting moment, before the next question appears ‘So you will cook after you learn?’ to which I still smile and still cheerfully answer ‘No!’
Thing is, I can’t cook, rather, I don’t cook.
Oh hell! Why am I sugar-coating words, I D.O.N.T L.I.K.E to cook! A multitude of cooking lessons from Amma and there is still no sign of my inner Nigella Lawson making an appearance anytime I enter the kitchen. I do rustle up a few dishes, because I HAVE to not because I WANT to and no, cooking them doesn’t give me the ‘joy’ or ‘sense of accomplishment’ that many people I know get from preparing a meal.
Now, in my newly-adopted community, if there is anything worse than not cooking, it is not cooking for your husband. And I have committed this blasphemy and continue doing so, save for the times I dish out hot dosas for breakfast, with chutneys made from scratch accompanying them, or make sambhar, which was so delish my Mum couldn’t believe I made it, or put together a creamy payasam on festive occasions that the God’s wish they could lap up or make a Pessarettu Upma with Ginger Chutney which is so wicked, I go into disbelieving shock every time I make it! But everyday cooking is still chore I would rather avoid.
So here I am, newly-inducted into a community which lives, breathes and discusses food, when they are not eating it, patiently waiting for meal invites from all the wonderful women who are kitchen-Goddesses and do a great job of it! More power to you ladies, call me over for a meal! Soon!
And as for, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, lets just say I have found other ways.