This is not about how great a cook I am, or how wonderful my life is overseas. I moved to Sydney for love and companionship (I think the word ‘marriage’ is overrated ). But if you are taking time to read this, I hope you take away something to chew on thoughtfully and pass it on to your children, family, friends or anyone you think could benefit from it.
Perhaps, it would alter your views about cooking and you start appreciating every meal you have with your loved ones; or that you view Cooking as a survival skill and not just another routine lifetime activity.
Two years into full time cooking, it is an essential part of my life, I cherish it more than ever. Truth be told, I consider it an accomplishment.
I have a lot of gratitude towards my mum for feeding me the best meals ever, in sickness or health. Above all, I relate to the warmth and happiness one feels by creating the simplest recipes and when people appreciate them. In retrospect, I feel why I didn’t realise this before? Why now? Well, that’s the story of every millennial that hails from India.
Add some spice to your life by embracing cooking as life skill
1. Is the Art of Cooking undervalued?
It took me two years, 6000 miles (Mumbai-Sydney distance) to deeply understand my relationship with food and cooking. I was born and raised in India by liberal parents who gave me equal opportunities just like my elder brother. As a little girl, I played kitchen games, hosted loner cooking shows, and yet I was never expected to start cooking as I grew older. My mum, a traditional homemaker, encouraged me to pursue my interests outside the kitchen, which meant concentrating on education, career and of course, career again.
I understood the value of eating on time and discipline very early in life, thanks to a boarding school education, however there was really no appreciation towards the art of cooking. For me, mum’s food was the best, I still associate my childhood memories with the food I ate during festivals, at boarding school and home. With plenty of food around, its weird that not even once I felt that I want to grow up and be able to cook good food. I guess, that’s not what you are encouraged to do if you are growing up in an Asian country like India or China. You are sorta expected to be in the race, get a fancy college degree and earn top money. And what’s cooking got to do with it? Zilch!
Some food for thought
2. Cooking is a life skill you should learn
No offence. I am proud of my roots. While growing up, one was encouraged to play sports, read books, learn dancing, swimming, driving, but cooking came much later, at a point when you were near a matrimonial age and if you were a boy, you had nothing to worry about as your wife was expected to cook, unfortunately this archaic mindset has not really changed. Of course, there’s less rigidity now, however most Indian girls are instilled very early in life that they have to cook and take care of family.
Pamper your kids, but also teach them the value of food preparation early in life
Set your own cooking rules
Kitchen duties are not only a sexist in India, but also grossly undervalued as a personality development trait. If only kids were nurtured to value food and preparing it, even though it was simply popping a toast and making eggs. I think it speaks highly of parents who tell their kids to help out in the kitchen. The sooner you embrace cooking as a way of life and as an important life skill, pretty much like brushing your teeth, you have more control over your health and lifestyle.
I believe social media buzz words like ‘body shaming’ will hold minimal value if we perceived cooking as an important route to great health.
3. Cooking can be imperfect
Remember the Aloo Gobhi from Bend it Like Beckham :-)
I still can’t make perfectly round rotis, and they taste good: -) Set your own cooking rules and I can assure you will learn something new everyday. There’s absolutely no depth in thinking that ‘not knowing to cook is cool’ as that’s a luxury only celebrities like Kim Kadarshian, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift or Indian celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt can have.
Inspire yourself with people around who have cooked for you
Look around, you will find inspiring people who have helped you stay healthy, whether its your mum, aunt, sibling or a salaried cook. Don’t forget that the obscenely rich and famous live in a cocoon of their own, while educated folks like us work hard to support ourselves, so that we can enjoy a fancy restaurant meal, own a luxury car.
When they say ‘cook with love’ (sic) there’s some truth to it. The day you adapt to your kitchen apron with love, you have made a start, and from there on it only gets better
4. Cooking is gratitude
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez
All these years, I never understood why my mum loved cooking and feeding guests who dropped by to meet my parents. Now, that I experience it myself, I understand the graciousness one acquires when cooking a meal. It makes you generous and if it doesn’t well…you never really loved cooking.
I like myself more now, because I am a better person with respect for those who cook a meal for their loved ones.
5. Cooking is not sexist anymore
We live in the times of food apps, food blogs, cookery shows and YouTube food tutorials. There’s no lack of information, if one really seeks it. Gender roles have evolved and it is sexist to want a wife who earns, cooks, cleans and raises a family. You also don’t need to put men on a pedestal who choose to help out their better halves. It doesn’t mean that they are doing something great, what it really means is that they truly appreciate equal partnership.
Cooking is not sexist anymore. Time to break the stereotype
If you are a mum of boy, train him to be self reliant, whether its cleaning out the bin, making a bowl of cornflakes or oats. His girlfriend, or wife will thank you Remember, self reliance breeds confidence in the long run.
So thumbs up, if you have made the effort to cook anything or appreciate those who cook. Got anything to share?
Sharing is caring, so go ahead share with friends and family. Thanks for your time.