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C: Cooking

April 3, 2015

A few years back, on a Valentines’ Day, a colleague of mine had asked me what plans I had for the evening. Nothing, I’d said. 

‘You mean you’re just going to go home and cook dinner?!’ 

I managed a feeble yes and wondered why that sounded so uncool.

As kids, sis2 and I would watch those cookery shows on DD and pretend we were hosts on a show while trying to whip up something new. ‘Ek tamatar, bareek kata hua.’ I clearly remember one of my earliest forays into the kitchen involved stuffed tomatoes. Summer holidays, ample time on hand and mangoes in season. We scooped out the innards of halved tomatoes. Mixed that with grated coconut and unripe mango pieces. Added salt and chilli I suppose. Stuffed this mix back into the tomatoes. (All the while acting like we were show hosts) Refrigerated and ate. Wasn’t bad at all. 

Sis1 was the most enthu about cooking and trying out new stuff as kids. I think her enthusiasm rubbed off on us. Eggs were a no-no at that point at home, so I don’t recall cakes. Lots of biscuits with dalda (shortening) were baked. There was pizza on a tava. I also remember baking my very first apple pie on my own. I also remember the crust and the filling and everything was perfect. On the second attempt I remember failed spectacularly. 

[2005-2008] When I moved out of home and to a new country at 24 was when my tryst with real, everyday cooking began. At first, a hostel setup with nothing but two hot-plate type electric stoves. Used it to the hilt. I even recall attempting sabudana vadas one those one evening. Yup, incredibly ambitious. 

After the postgrad year, I moved into an apartment with a proper kitchen with friends. Phulkas for dinner became a staple since then. I don’t recall when I began to experiment with non-Indian food, but since I loved eating out, at some point I guess I began to try and recreate those at home. There was an oven in that apartment, so my baking adventures resumed. I recall baking mediocre buns that had mold on the 2nd or 3rd day. Ginger cookies that turned out like rocks. And lasagna with supposedly pre-cooked sheets that didn’t need cooking, so into the oven they went directly. And thus pushed dinner off-track by about 3 hours. But when it was finally done, it was delicious. Again, I don’t recall cakes around this point. There was an attempt at granola that really needed a hammer to break. I recall trying to recreate something and ending up with A LOT OF red-chilli and garlic paste that was extremely spicy too. 

At the end of 2008, I had moved in with my foodie partner in crime CPD and S. So there were plenty of fun things we cooked up.

This post will need to resume another day. I had clearly underestimated the number of things I recall cooking! F for food memories, perhaps? 

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