The wife has just left me. Again, for the nth time. This time, for being with Daughter II. At the time of leaving, she had cooked and kept a lot of food which sustained me for a full three and a half days. Now, that stock is exhausted and i am finding it very difficult to fend for myself.
I have always found that cooking is a very boring task very unlike eating which I find is a great and enjoyable job! I find that even re-heating the food prepared and kept for me by her, is a boring and tedious job, be it using the microwave oven or the gas stove. Cooking is a trying job which tests my patience. And i do not have adequate patience to go through the long and arduous process.
Cooking is basically considered a woman’s job. Almost all girls pick up some cooking skills soon after crossing their childhood. Yet all the great chefs of almost all Star Hotels are men!
I had read about 4 bachelors staying together who tried their hand at cooking, with the help of a cookbook. They selected a recipe which they thought was the easiest. They purchased the ingredients, read the cookbook carefully again and again, and started cooking. One of them appointed himself as the Master Chef, held the book and called out the steps one by one for others to follow and do the job. After finishing the process, they sat down to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. They did not relish it; something was missing; and everything was hard to chew. They read the cookbook once again and tried and tried to find out what exactly went wrong. They failed. At this point, the maid servant came to clean the utensils. They sought her expert opinion to find out what was wrong with their cooking. One look at the table and she burst out laughing. Everything was raw! They had followed each step of the book meticulously but had not lighted the stove! That was because the book had not mentioned one small step: light the stove!!!
About 15 years ago, when the wife was to be away for an unavoidable reason, leaving me to take care of not only my poor soul, but also of our then small daughters, I had tried to cook a dish which, I told the children, was ‘Chicken Chulbuli’. I put the pieces of chicken, a little salt, some haldi (turmeric), spices, some oil and some water in the pressure cooker and put it on the lighted stove. When I opened it after the scheduled time, I discovered that the quantity of water was much more than required, the haldi powder put by me was a little more than needed and that I had not properly stirred the mix. So the haldi had stuck at some spots in a semi-solid state on the chicken pieces. In any case, I tried to save the situation (and save my face!) by pouring out the excess water and offering it to the children as chicken soup! What they did with the yellowish liquid is another matter. And here,discretion being the better of valour, i shall also refrain from telling you about what happened to the main dish!
My forays into cooking at that time inspired Daughter II to compose a poem which was published in the ‘Creative Corner’ of The Times of India, Patna.
The poem is reproduced below:
Dad in Kitchen
Our kitchen is a kitchen, when Mom is cooking food;
But Dad in the kitchen? That doesn’t sound too good.
Yet he is there … since Mom is away;
Why did I let him enter? I repent to this day.
He won’t even let me make a sandwich with bread and jam;
“Leave all this,” he exclaims, “Think of your Board Exam."
“I can make sandwiches; you let me do this, dear;
And go back to your books, for you don’t belong here.”
In spite of his terrible dishes, he thinks he is a great cook;
“An expert cook” , he says, “who doesn’t need a cookbook!”
And when he is in charge, nothing remains the same;
Each appliance starts working, contrary to its name!
For, every edible thing sticks, to the non-stick pan;
We are left exhausted, in spite of the exhaust fan.
The toaster doesn’t toast, it evenly chars the bread;
The pressure-cooker has no pressure, the rice is hard as lead.
“For growing children like you, omelettes are good.”, he says;
But never in one piece, his omelette stays.
“Look out Dad”, I groan, “The omelette’s is in shreds, oh, no!”
“Who’s making omelettes?” he grins, “It’s scrambled eggs, you know.”
He has set a new record, for breaking glasses, I bet;
Now six different glasses, in our house, make a set.
Since Mom has been away, the house is upside down;
And the worst part is – Dad smiles while I frown.
I tried to clean up one day, the mess that he had made;
“No, just leave everything as it is”, he said.
“When Mom returns, she should feel that she has been missed, deep and true;
Seeing all this, she'll know - we're saying ‘We love you’.”
Was he right? I stood silent for a moment or two;
Pondered over his words, and felt, indeed his words were true.
So now I too help him, in messing up everything;
And patiently we wait, to hear the door-bell ring.
Some might think that we
Have gone utterly mad;
But we’re just missing Mom,
Poor old me, and my dear Dad.
- - -
No one needs to award high grades to my culinary expertise but I am sure, nobody will disagree with my way of saying, ‘Dear Wife,I missed you.’ :)))))))))))))))