Everyone who knows me even vaguely, knows what a die hard foodie i am!! Most people eat to live, in my case its exactly the reverse-i live to eat!! I dream about food,i fantasise about food, i barely finish one meal and i am planning the next, my book shelves are crammed with recipe books and magazines and most of the "to record" list on my Tata Sky plus set top box are foodie programmes!! Nigella Lawson,Donna Hay,Toni Baxton,Gordon Ramsay,Kylie Kwong,Madhur Jaffrey are demi gods and goddesses in my eyes because you guessed it-they are all chefs and make the most awesome,yummiest food ever!! I can just sit and drool and salivate for hours over the amazing stuff that they concoct on my television screen!!!
But alas! Loving food and knowing how to cook it, so that you love to eat it are two very different stories altogether!! I have tried in vain to learn how to cook for so many years but every sincere and diligent effort on my part is met with disaster, to put it mildly!! The moment i mention the word cooking (as in, that i would like to cook) my poor Santosh-our family cook,turns pale and breaks out in a cold sweat and now promptly requests for a leave under some pretext or the other!! He just can't see me decimate/destroy his beloved kitchen and his fav non-stick pots/ pans and mess up his superbly organised spice cupboard and fridge!! It's just too painful for him to watch and he believes in the age old adage, of "ignorance is bliss" so just disappears into thin air!! I mention the word cooking and poof!! he's gone! Magic mantra for vanishing Santosh!!
So then after Santosh's hasty,disappearing act, i am left alone in his intimidating,cold kitchen with tens of bottles of masalas, pastes, whole spices and gleaming pots and pans glowering disapprovingly at me and almost mocking me in a very life like manner!!! Scary stuff!! Suffice to say that in spite of my best efforts-the end result of hours of chopping,peeling, pouring over recipe books and "bhunaoing" is not even worth my beloved Romeo's time and effort! Romeo is my adorable Labrador and my most stoic,steadfast,loyal and loving fan but even his non discerning doggy palate can't take the stodgy,usually burnt mess that i produce before him after hours of patient and loving labour!!!
So demotivating and demoralising!! So now have decided, much to the relief of everyone in my household that i will not attempt to cook!! Will only attempt to eat!! Ha!Ha! That's a laugh! As if i need to attempt to eat! I am a natural at that! I was born to eat and eat I will till my poor, long suffering tummy can't take it anymore! Anyway Pudin Hara and Digene zindabad!! They have been my life long and very steadfast friends and have seen me through all kinds of adventurous and sometimes dangerous culinary journeys!!
I find this predicament of mine pretty fascinating-not being able to cook, to save my life as my dad was an awesome cook as is my mom.I remember as a child, on the weekends the whole house would be fragrant with the smell of garam masala , sauteed ginger-garlic paste and browned onions etc as "papa" would be conjuring up some magic in the kitchen. He was a Pathan and a die hard foodie just like me and so would make the most awesome and melt in the mouth shammi kebabs ,bhuna gosht ,Sikandari raan, kacchey keema koftas and biryanis. You can guess now why we were so popular in our neighbourhood with everyone vying for a place on our dinner table!!
My mom is still a pretty good cook and her specialities include Muslim delicacies like haleem,nihari,paya, aloo gosht, sheer maal etc. Pretty mouth watering and complicated stuff so i can't understand as to how i haven't inherited some of their talent and just fall so miserably short where my culinary abilities are concerned!!
My father passed away when i was thirteen but even now when my mom cooks,however much she cooks poor lady,it always falls short because we all hog so much and are literally licking the bowls clean!!! In fact, i set a record the other day when i actually polished off eight ghee-wali chapatti's (yes, eight!!) with her gobhi and shalgam (beetroot) gosht in one sitting!
Was quite taken aback and guilt ridden myself afterwards!! Couldn't believe it-i mean there has to be a limit to greed!! And predictably so, had the runs and literally didn't have a proper meal for the next two days!! What to do?! Was in a state of shock and disbelief- and with the dreaded forty loomimg large-don't want my "qamar" becoming a "qamra" with my frequent eating binges!! So it's a torrid love affair on the dining table and a total nightmare on the treadmill as you might have guessed!
I try and work out pretty religiously-go to a fancy gym,have a personal trainer but it's a losing battle as the math just doesn't add up where intake and burning off calories are concerned!! So have finally given up-love food too much to ever give up on that so have given up hopes of ever being waif thin and pixie like!! Will always have chubby cheeks and a full, ahem! figure and a growling,insatiable tummy always wanting to be fed-so might as well accept it and smile!!
And by the way, read a very interesting article in Reader's Digest the other day that people who like to eat and enjoy food are most likely happy,satisfied souls and usually live longer and healthier than people who were not good eaters and who worry about every mouthful that they put in their mouths!! So there!! Now it's a proven fact that people who enjoy food, enjoy life and what else can one ask for from life other than to enjoy it and treat it like a blessing and live it as fully as one can!!! Bon appetit everyone!!