Men and cooking

Men and cooking, recipe for disaster is what comes to mind? Eh, no cooking a storm? Maybe and definitely ‘yes’, ‘nooooo’ and ‘sometimes…well…’ is what is evoked. At the most Maggi? Or with some struggle omelette? Or go get some roadside junk for peanuts?

I don’t remember Papa cooking frequently, not that his culinary skills were challenged. He made all the forbidden ‘meaty’ dishes for all rebel Adams and Eves in the cowshed. His dal preparation is by far the best dal in the world, simple, low on spice and high in taste. We would literally slurp-gulp it down like some fast food Chinese soup. He thinks spice kills all great food preparations, Mama begs to differ, albeit diplomatically. Ahem, ahem is what she says and declines to comment when Papa would go head over heels praising something that Mama whisks in a jiffy or otherwise.

Bro has his fetish at what level the wok should be when his omelette is made and that it has to be a certain cream color without the masala except salt and pepper, no chillis and onions or the Spanish kinds. He can barely make a cup of tea without saying loud hi/hellos to the utensil rack and also, knocking a few potatoes here and there. It’s like scaling Mount Vesuvius in its active state of volcanic activity. Whew!

A bunch of us in the university used to trek by bunking Friday afternoons. The majority being boys, they insisted we carry a lot of food. They would get a can of mackerel, some packets of bread and Amul butter, steal salt and pepper, and a spoon from the canteen, pluck cucumbers along the way from the orchard and one among us essentially did not fail to carry that day’s newspaper and a knife for cutting betel-nut. Boy, they prepared the best sandwiches.

A very dear friend of mine made sure all the pistas in the kheer…er…was it gajar ka halwa…should be aligned in a particular way for aesthetic appeal. I almost killed myself.

Most hotels, high and low end restaurants have men as cooks. If there is a Nigella Lawson, we also have a Sanjeev Kapoor who I adore so much. I am sincerely envious of his wife. She must be getting the best cooked food in the world, 24/7, 365 days…served with lot of love, care and whatever. Even the roadside dhabas, the fast food joints and my Papa’s office halwai are good- my god, I love every new preparation Rajkumar makes!

Why is that, men make good cooks outside the kitchen-at-home? Or is it there too? Even the cooks at office are, incidentally men. I liked being served my double cheese masala omelette with all specifications by M and M only.

Men romanticize that the best thing they can start a Saturday morning, even grudgingly by cutting down on their sleep is surprising their sweetheart with breakfast. Gosh, I am going weak in the knees! I love this species! Rules are being re-written, yes. The lady sleeps, the gentleman in shorts or dungarees runs down the street to see if all the ingredients in the battleground are ready and he should be well armed and armoured. Some have a fetish the pan has to be like this, some toss up magic with elan, some love the toast to be arranged like this or better still, anyway. Will she like it with honey? Or sauce? Oh, but I don’t have sauce. They get jittery when it comes to preparing omelettes lest they are passed a value-judgement. What becomes of the kitchen after that is a nightmare, that’s for the maid to clean. I love that funda of a clean desk being the sign of a messy drawer kinda thing. It’s simply amusing, hilarious and ADORABLE.

It’s rare to find a guy who can cook for himself and also, for another and others. Run a survey and you will find, they are the most popular among all, no prizes for guessing especially among girls for picnics and those quiet but noisy and populated dos at homes. Some make it difficult for you by intimidating you to competition. Some teach you that even a novice in South Indian fare can make her first dosa with oomph! But whatever it is, they learn the art from their moms even though they protest learning cooking is the foil of surviving the agonies of bachelorhood.

But the Eves love it, we really love the cook in our men. Talk of uber-equality, haha!

Even if he is doubly old as Amitabh Bachchan in Cheeni Kum. Sexy is the word.

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