Never thought I would cook in this life, let alone so much in a short span of time. Before I moved to the US I never cooked, well almost never. Pitched in here and there when my sister from another mother Rita would not show up. Rita – she was more than my cook to me. I enjoyed sharing different recipes I picked from Youtube with her which she would cook for my husband and I. Then as they say, you need a village to raise a child. She became my village. I had my family to support me throughout but the one person who supported them and I get through the day and through most of my household chores was Rita. I always complained about why she didn’t put more salt and my husband always complained about how much oil she used in our food. My husband being concerned about high cholesterol levels it would cause and I just being obsessed with salt. If anyone who has eaten and appreciated Indian food before, would understand the significance of salt. For some it maybe too much, for me its never enough.
My India trips are incomplete without meeting Rita so I make it a point to meet her even if its just for few hours. The joy in her eyes when she sees my son all grown up is an emotion I always cherish. She was god sent to me then and she will always remain that one person I would like to remember forever.
Zooming out of nostalgia and coming to the present day. Living in US for last few years now, I learnt how to cook. My husband who if not an equal contributor in the kitchen(due to his hectic work schedule) is a very big help in the kitchen. He is the one who taught few cooking techniques when we got married. We were two super young twenty something fellas figuring out how to play home and live like adults. He has always known how much I detested cooking back then and it didn’t change even after coming to the US. If anything, I was scared because now I have to learn how to cook. I may not be a foodie but I like food with flavour(yes, I have been spoilt). I am not pleased easily when it comes to food and simply cannot push any kind of food down my throat to satiate my hunger. Secondly, I made a commitment to myself once my son was born. He would eat all the good food that I got to eat while growing up. 98% of the time home cooked food. Little idea did I have at that point that it would have to be me making that 98% of home cooked food.It was hard for me to stand in the kitchen and cook meals for at least an hour that Rita, my mother and my other friends would cook in a matter of few minutes. I cried, my heels became numb from standing for so long and I am not joking when I write this – I thought I made a big mistake coming to the US. I missed Rita A LOT!!!! Since I was also not working the first few months in the US, I really had lots of time to think about why I chose to move to the US in the first place. Some would say, I am spoilt. Some would expect that as a woman I should naturally be inclined towards honing my culinary skills. While I disagree from the core of my heart, I agree that I am not spoilt and a woman belongs everywhere and not just in the kitchen, even when she becomes a mother.
If it was not for my two miracles – my husband my son who are both not fussy eaters at all like me, I would have gone insane. Of course, like with everything, it takes time, practice and patience to become good at something or atleast getting used to something. It eventually happened with me too. Becoming more familiar with all that happens on top of a kitchen stove. While working in the kitchen still gives me the tremors, they are not as bad as they were four years ago. Why I wanted to write about this chapter of my life is because ever since the world has come down to a standstill during these unprecedented Covid-19 times, my Whatsapp and Instagram is bombarded with pictures of food, people are cooking around me. Everyone in my circle has turned into a Masterchef and some have become serious about them opening a restaurant or a food truck in near future(I say go for it and give me free food lifelong). Those pictures were too tempting to just drool over. So I pulled the reclusive chef out in me and made a plethora of delicacies I usually don’t cook over a period of one month. Do I now love cooking? No. Do I now enjoy cooking? Absolutely NOT. But I learnt a life skill that I intend to pass over to my son very soon. For now, enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner right here. Namaste!