Domestic Issues

>> Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My parents and I were wandering around a random department store, the sole idea behind whose interior decoration seemed to have been devoted to directing customers to the frozen food section, when my mum, with the uncanny knack all women in love with cooking seem to possess, finally located the cutlery section. My father and I, innocent souls with nothing more in our minds than how to escape without shopping bags, were, hence, unceremoniously dragged down to it so that she could avail of our discerning tastes in La Opala dinner sets.

"What I never seem to understand is," I mentioned in passing to my mother while she tried to tell me how she felt peach plates looked better on white tablecloths than periwinkle blue," is why people think people want dinner sets and cutleries as wedding gifts. What sort of a person feels joyful on opening nice, huge looking gifts and finding plates buried under lots of straw? Why can not we give them something fun? Like a playstation or something. At least they will have something to distract themselves with when trying to murder each other. No Mum, I still think we should buy the purple plates. No, I am not a purple maniac. No, the fact that my room, my bedsheet and most of my clothes happen to be purple has nothing to do with this. Gee Mum, look at all those utensils there."

Having successfully distracted her from the topic of my monotonically increasing purple fetish (x being my age and f(x) being, well, the fetish), we strolled over to steel heaven, accompanied by my increasingly depressed looking father, who sighed at everything and then tried to dismantle anything which had more than two parts.

"Oh, it is beautiful," suddenly gasped my mother in the rapturous tone I usually reserve for puppies, mountains and shoe shops.

"What is it," I queried, looking down at a bowl with dents in it.

"I have no idea, but it will look so good on the third mantelpiece on the right," my mother replied, in the dismissive tone she uses whenever I ask her whether she could make an elaborate cheesecake for dinner. I, being as stoic as the next person, merely blinked and looked for its cover.

"It says it is a paniyakki something maker. What is a paniyakki?"

"Hmm, well, we will have to learn, won't we? No point buying a paniyakki maker if you do not know how to make paniyakkis," was her reckless remark and we soon had a dinner set designed with huge square blocks coloured various frightful shades of pink and blue my mum considered charming and my dad felt, as he remarked sotto voce, was revolting, a paniyakki maker, three types of spoon sets and a blender which had fascinated my father. I felt I was lucky enough to go back home to actually ask for anything more than a purple cup.

There we were, a picture of a happy family, with absolutely no major disasters in the offing, until, that is, my mother realized I was almost 21 and did not know how to cook. If I was to live alone from next year, I would have to learn how to cook at least a few basic things, or else, threatened the woman I had always looked upon as my safety net, you stay here and study under Calcutta University. She knew, like every mother knows, what would motivate me most, and I, inspired, decided to make brownies.

In my first attempt, I realized microwaves and ovens do not really work with the same time settings and overcooked the brownie for some extra 20 minutes, resulting in a hard rock we had to use a hammer to break. We pretended it was a biscuit and softened it with chocolate sauce. In my next attempt, I learned the importance of proportion of ingredients when I absentmindedly poured in the entire contents of the milk carton, unmindful of the fact that 100 ml of milk is hardly the same as 500ml. To compensate, I increased the amount of the rest of the ingredients, and the batter had to be sent in three batches, making more brownies than I had bargained for. In my third attempt, I learned the importance of mixing, when I poured eggs over the flour and then tried to blend it, which made a super strong glue and would not smoothen the batter at all. Why don't you, suggested my mother after my third failed failed attempt, try something simpler. Like toast.

Muttering loudly about lack of support and encouragement, I put three slices of bread on the pan used for toasting bread and promptly fell asleep. I woke up half an hour later to a rather irked mother and smoke. Before throwing them away, I managed to take a picture which is faithfully reproduced below.

My mother, rather discouraged, realizing the safety of her household was at present more of a necessity than the nutrients I required on a daily basis in a city devoid of devoted parents and well trained cooks, crushingly asked me to stick to maggi before rushing off to get rid of the smoke.

Maggi is supposed to be the simplest possible thing one can ever cook. Boil water, put the maggi in, pour in the flavouring and you are done. Hence, it was a considerable shock to my mother when she heard me screaming that I had burnt down the house.

"What, why, you have not burnt down the house," was her agitated response when she saw a flameless kitchen.

"But I will, I poured water on the gas ring and now, when you switch on something electrical, there will be a blast," I wailed, drawing on my memories from late night movies.

"But, why do not you just switch off the gas," my mum gasped and immediately proceeded to do so.

"Will you now explain," she asked after she had done that and calmed me down, "why you poured water on the gas ring?"

"You see, I boiled the water. Then I had to put the maggi in it. But I did not want put the maggi in the bowl over the gas ring, in case I did something wrong and the hot water splashed all over me. So, I took the bowl down, put the maggi carefully in, then picked up the bowl and kept it back on the gas ring. Except that I lost my balance and well...there you are."

However, I did not lose my heart. This story also has a happy ending. After days of practice, I have finally learned how to make hot chocolate sauce.

12 scaly flippers:

What's In A Name ? 2:43 am, December 09, 2008  

I fancy I am a better cook than you. Look at those toasts!!! They are cursing at your ineptitude!!

And yes, I am a maggi/top-ramen/wai-wai specialist!!

~Moo-lah Buz!nezzz~ 3:32 am, December 09, 2008  

Haha,you cant make maggi.
And i thought I was the only one in the world who sucked.
But ha ha.

megha 9:35 am, December 09, 2008  

impressively burned toast.
also, since i have my thesis proposal due tomorrow, i read the older posts on your blog and got hugely excited at the mention of social anthropology.


i'm quite serious.

Anonymous 12:51 pm, December 09, 2008  

You have chosen to dabble in a deep, mysterious art, young ad libber. It can be a path full of unimaginable difficulties, hidden dangers and soups that will smell of live beaver. But those who preserve their chi and keep at it, find themselves suddenly able to master this mystic art. Or so I am told.

p.s: Does your mom not know that you can survive on chalk?

dreamy 4:45 pm, December 09, 2008  

Oh...whats with mothers and their obsession of making their daughters cook?
I mother asks me to cook maggi everyday [she knows I can't go beyond that] and not eat out.

anyway...totally hilarious post.
and btw

purple : ad libber :: pink : dreamy

purple is to ad libber what pink is to dreamy..


Amazing Greys 8:51 pm, December 09, 2008  

why bother cooking when you can get someone to cook for you.
i stopped trying to cook anything ever since i discovered this wisdom.
i can make near perfect cup noodles, thats about it, & i'm proud of it.

Hatturi Hanzo 2:27 pm, December 10, 2008  

burning a toast like that needs some serious talent!
until late last year i survived on only maggi. now i can cook egg curry, chicken curry and matar paneer. i tell you its not that hard B-)

vanilla sky 10:21 pm, December 12, 2008  

cooking :|
you at least have those black beauties , to show to the world that you have tried
the only thing i do in microwave is aplly oil on papads and put them in

vanilla sky 10:22 pm, December 12, 2008  


the girl with a zillion namesakes 10:47 pm, December 14, 2008  

i end up with a different tasting maggi each time,importantly nice tasting

Poojo C. 5:06 pm, December 16, 2008  

Congratulations on the hot choc sauce. You are now on your way to becoming a Nobel-Prize-winning chef. Clap clap :D

Angry Voices 1:56 pm, December 28, 2008  

hahahahahahahahahahaha :D

My toasts look the same

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