The first question that I get from my mom every time we talk is “Shu khadhu aaje?” which means “what did you eat today?” This is the single most growing concern amongst moms (especially for ones who do not stay with their kids). I have a solution to that, or at least I think so. Get your chef’s hat ON and assure it to your mom that YES YOU also CAN cook and eat delicious, healthy food which can make your mom happier than ever. Nothing can make a mom happier than the assurance that her child is eating properly. My mom would be very happy when she reads this postJ
Ok, coming to the main point, cooking for me has always been an Art. I think it takes an artist to makes a *good meal. If you have the interest, requirement and skills for cooking and add unattainable passion to it, nothing can stop you from steaming a mouth watering dish. If you do not have any of these at this time, not to worry, desire to learn is enough to get started.
Caution: When I say “cooking” I do not mean making ready to eat food or mixing up any ingredients in house without understanding what it is going to produce. This article is completely and solely dedicated to the enjoyment of cooking rather than fulfillment of our tummy.
What exactly is cooking? Adding up some veggies, lentils or rice and dumping in some spices from the Indian Store? Not really. There are four main ingredients which makes cooking an art. Let’s see what they are:
Interest/Desire : This is the prerequisite for entering the world of cooking. If you do not enjoy cooking, the aroma of your desire, the taste of your willingness will not garnish the food. Food without these important factors is bland and unattractive. Was it too dramatic? Ok, what I meant is you need to have that basic interest and desire to cook. You should have that drive (apart from hunger) that will get you from your cozy chair to the heat of your kitchen.
Requirement : We humans don’t do anything unless and until there is a need for it. If you have someone at your place who could serve you hot meals, I doubt you will even bother thinking about cooking. So there has to be a need for you to cook otherwise very few of us would get that initial exposure to cook. Another part of requirement is the constraint factor. Each one of us must be having some constraints such as health, time, or money. It is very important to take these constraints into consideration and build your cooking routine around it else it is not going to serve the purpose and won’t last long. For instance, I cook only on weekends, to be precise only on Sunday afternoons. I do not get time on weekdays due to the drive of playing tennis every evening. If I don’t cook on weekends, that week simply becomes an eat-out week for me. There is nothing wrong in eating out, but the point is most of the times I don’t enjoy it more than homemade food. It is also not recommended monetarily and health wise also.
Skill : This is the least important of all the ingredients for the art of cooking. You don’t need to be a top-chef to cook a delicious meal. I think everyone has the basic skills required to cook a decent edible meal to start with. If you have the other three ingredients (Interest, Requirements and Passion) taken care of, skill is very easy to develop. There are many tools available on web such as Google, YouTube videos, cookery shows, books, your mom or sister’s guidanceJ which can improve your skills. Make use of these tools at leisure and hone your cooking skills. I learned my “Cooking 101” when my mom got her hand fractured and it was up to me and my dad to take the responsibility of our kitchen. Doing as suggested by my mom while cooking meals and after getting constant encouragement from her we managed to withstand that entire month without starving (as eating out for 1 month is not a recommended option). Another way to develop cooking skills is to participate in potlucks. This forces you to cook something that is going to be scrutinized (in a positive way) by others. Potluck opens up the door to enjoy and learn from other’s cooking skills. You get to experience food from different cultures. One of my favorite is cupboard potluck where the rule is to hunt your cupboard and find out something that you can cook. You are not allowed to buy anything from the store. You have to use whatever is available in your home. Usually cupboard potluck makes more sense when scheduled impromptu. This is a nice frugal way of enjoying a potluck. We had a cupboard potluck last weekend and it was lot of fun.
Passion : Hmmm, now this is a tricky one. It is so difficult to add this ingredient unless you already have this in your armory. I would say it is not impossible to develop passion, but for most of us passion is a natural thing. You just feel passionate about something, there are no whys for it but you just feel passionate. This being said, it does not mean that you cannot discover passion. Doing something repeatedly exposes and makes you think about that thing differently. After cooking for few months you may realize that you really enjoy doing it and this is something that you really want to do more often. That is passion for me.
I have a habit of capturing memories of my cooking and making them live forever. Here is a small example of it: Direct from Heart. Don’t you want to enjoy such delicious meals? What are you waiting for? Hold on, if you are thinking of going to a restaurant, stop right there… give it a try on your own. Try to think of your favorite dish today and Google it. I am sure you will find a very detailed recipe and videos for it. If you cannot find it, shoot me an email, I can point you to a good resource which will suffice your needs. If you are interested in finding out good online resources for recipes, keep in touch with this blog, soon I am planning to list of some useful resources that I use regularly.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Do provide me with you feedback on what are your thoughts when it comes to cooking. Share your experience with cooking so that others can learn from it.
Confession: I simply love to cook, but till now I have been playing around with my strength that is cooking Indian food. My next target is going to be familiar with the culinary art of international food. Probably I will have a post on how this goes later this year.
* good meal = Edible, enjoyable, attractive and memorable.
Live 2 Eat, don’t Eat 2 Live!