Kitchen was always a woman's domain, and if a man enters a kitchen he is looked down upon .. .some women never allowed their husband to enter their kitchen.
Those days a woman never went out of the house but for the past three decades one can see women pursuing their education, taking up job,....
Where both husband and wife work, cooking needs to be done by both and unless they share their responsibility there will be no peace.....
Kitchen was never a man's domain for ages. Many houses the secret was never let out if their men cooked as it was a gender stereotyping considered never to be a manly trait.
Whatever the case may be , at least after marriage it is better if men learn to cook the basic requirements.For this I have seen many women train their sons to know the basics and start giving a helping hand.A really good gesture as their training would help in maintaining peace at home.
Many men get into cooking due to their love for eating.In some families it comes in genes. In my house only my husband had inherited the love for cooking. But the same is not true in my son's case, though he tries hard sometimes!
I decided to pursue my B Ed degree by attending a regular college after both my children were born . The younger one was going to nursery and the elder one in class one and later I took up a career in teaching. Juggling my personal life and professional life , cooking had become a dragonic task as I used to call my kitchen '' enter the dragon''. I had to keep breakfast, lunch ready before embarking on my journey to college and the work by catching two buses.This went on for three years .Fortunately I got into a school which was just half a kilometer from my residence. The children came home early and I came just a few minutes before my husband. The only consolation was the campus which housed our residence and his office. He could save on the time of commuting..
The demands of my home work, kids' homework,the assignments, off campus, visits...., etc etc pulled me out of the kitchen so sometimes I just left it halfway and instructed my husband to complete it, it's a two way work. But never did anytime we made ourselves starve for want of time, I had got up early to finish the cooking. I remember I woke up at 4 in the morning finished the entire cooking just drank a glass of milk and had a banana / sandwich as breakfast to be eaten in the bus, catch the bus to Ahmedabad by 6.30 and return home by 7.30 in the evening. This went on for 15 days. When I returned all he kept ready was a cup of tea then, enter the dragon..... Whether it's a day's picnic, attending workshop, going for CBSE paper evaluation to Baroda... all the time I would complete the cooking and leave home.
Coming to my husband's style of cooking, having watched a lot of Tamizh cookery shows on TV and even now watches. First he has his own concoctions.He has his own spoons, spatulas, kadais! When he enters I just cannot leave the kitchen and go unlike others. I will be standing there to take orders and running errand between my fridge and shelves, all he would do is to behave like the chief cook... giving instructions and if by chance there is a delay, I had it. It would end in a fight and he would conclude by saying, I do not have a heart... I should be happy that he is trying to help me? Hello, I do not know who's helping who?
If I give him the task of cutting vegetables, he prefers the dining table and I have to provide him with different type of knives, peeler, the cutting board, and the containers for putting the cut vegetables, a big plate for the peels, and seeds,stem etc. One I remember he said he had cut the 'Palak' and casually I just saw the cut bunch... one would not believe, there was a leech and I showed him and threw the entire palak . His way of cutting the greens is not to separate the bunches, hold them as bunches and run thro' the scissors.
If I give him the task of kneading flour for roti... I had to first walk a distant miles at home. A basin for the kneading, water in a container, extra flour for emergency, water in a mug, and a knife to take out the atta from his hands. This won't do , after 3 minutes he would call me to check the consistency..
The place where he kept the basin will have a 'halo' mark which reminds me of the prediction in a daily sheet calender.... indru chandiranai sutri vattamittaal vaanam mabbudan kanappadum. Don't you think this is too much? I give him because he would feel having helped me but it would be a headache for me, I can't carry on with my cooking.
Six years I was with my daughter, son for 3 years and he was alone for 3 years and later my son joined him in Bangalore when I was in Anand ( Guj) We used to call our houses as ladies hostel and men's hostel.
Being independent had made him an efficient cook who never hesitated to prepare avial, kuruma, bisibeli , mixed vegetables, more kuzhambhu etc... His office was a two minute walk and he had a lot of time atleast solid two hours after reading newspaper, getting milk etc. So he got everything ready for breakfast and kneaded atta for afternoon lunch consisting of roti ,dal and rasam.He would come in the noon prepare roti have it and then go office. Evening he was at home by 6.10 and had ample time to watch, cook and would kick the bed by 9.30 /10.
The same man never used to help me when I come for vacations, I would have my relatives and had to manage with the available utensils so every time had to bring the essentials and also grind all mirch powder from Anand for our daily needs.
His independent way of cooking had interfered in my way of cooking for 20 years. His self imposed method had changed his taste buds a lot and I had a terrific time to convince his change, even now he forgot all those 20 years of my way of preparation. He has selective selfish memory. One thing I should appreciate, my son has developed a taste for all south Indian food varieties .
When he cooks, there will be so much noise.... vessles madura milan, his vocal chords with the sound from tempering, .. he would never grind anything in the mixie, if I had given him , I would have to look for an alternative mixie for the next day's cooking. He would not be careful in fixing the jar properly.
Half the time he would ask for some ingredients without getting the name,,, simply he would say... அதாண்டீ .... குருமாலப் போடறது... வைட்டா இருக்குமே... எங்கம்மா போடுவா''
I have to make some permutation combination and like the wood cutter keep asking' is this the one...'.
Once in a while he would cook but he needs all rich ingredients..like dalda or ghee, cashew nuts, raisins...Oil do not ask, he will just pour, and I always used to say if I use oil like him a litre won't last for a week!I will become the oil controller standing beside him.
The kitchen would be in such a mess , I would be tempted to say goodbye to his cooking . The sink would be full of vessels, ladles, vegetable peels.. and the mess would take a lot of time than the real cooking time.
The best part which my son always quotes is, he would put hing aka asafoetida / பெருங்காயம் so much in the oil and he would come out of the kitchen to decide the quantity. My children never like hing and of late my daughter has learnt to add in cooking after her marriage.
But one thing I should mention here. He is an excellent cook and an excellent critic like Subbudu , you can call him the 'Food Subbudu'.
From the state of the coriander he would be able to say when it was put in the food, whether the mustard spluttered or not, the vegetables added before frying the onions properly.. etc.. My mother was caught once when she tried to put the cabbage before the mustard splutters fully, even now she mentions about it.
You should see his presentation of pulao , he would fill pulao in a cup and invert it on a plate, and spread finely chopped coriander leaves, keep cashewnuts on sides and serve. If the non stick pan is in an excellent condition , he would make masala dosas so well and fill it with the masala curry , fold it and serve. Many times he has served us. I had taken a back seat and I have also made him do when I was not in a mood to do so.