Disasters of the cooking kind

I had ranted earlier about me pouring butter milk into my morning coffee upon my first arrival in America. But when I was reading through this post by Anjali, I was horrified to think that someone had set up a video surveillance in my kitchen and had just recorded my experiences there! Believe me, even though that post is nearly two years old, I think it might have been written in 1000 B.C. and would still have held its ground through the ages.

This comes from a guy who just about a year back had a long debate with his friend whether you should put a heaped tablespoon of salt or should it be a heaped teaspoon when you make a single omlette. All this intellectual discussion happened while the oil kept magically disappearing from the pan on a oven at its highest flame. Needless to say, we did not really eat the "omlettes" we made that night.

Things haven't changed so much since then, though. All the curries I make out of frozen vegetables end up magically tasting the same, somehow; no matter if the ingredients were cauliflower and brocoli as opposed to carrots and peas or even mushrooms. Raw eggs and chicken tend to explode inside the microwave, and knives stained with peanut butter strangely find their way into smoked turkey breasts. Onions are extremely unhappy to get cut, and I have rarely fried cut onions without a some tear-drops of my own swimming in them. And someone please explain to me how to flip an omlette without the raw egg creating a pattern on the kitchen counter. The most common phrase heard in the kitchen when I am there is: "Oh shit!".

I follow a simple principle while cooking: if the matter can't be cooked in 30 minutes, it is not worth eating! So from frozen scratch to landing on my plate hot and steaming, it must be done in 30 grand minutes! Therefore, it is always a race against time, because I have already discovered the futility of trying to prolong the pain: I already know what the finished product is going to taste like. And I have found that instead of trying to clean the spills all around after I'm finished, it is definitely a good idea to first cover up the entire kitchen with paper rolls and then start. I don't believe, I simply KNOW that the stains will land there!

My friend tried to suggest some recipes over IM the other day, but she ended up explaining to me the difference between pulao and fried rice over the phone for a long long time. And asking these ladies (including mom) doesn't help too much either, because invariably their recipes include exotic ingredients like soya sauce or ginger-garlic paste. And boy, don't even get me started on trying to map the Bengali or Punjabi ingredient-names into a proper English equivalent that I'll find at HEB or Walmart!

But I honestly appreciate their patience, because if I am faced with someone who needs explanations in as much detail as I do, the least I will do will be to stop helping. Anyway, till then, boxed dinners and frozen pizza rule!!! (err... if you don't try to cook the pizza in a kadhai, that is)



  1. your rendezvous with cooking reminds me of my early semesters of grad life..but to think of it, it was NEVER this bad..:P.

  2. Really, whats so complicated about pulao and fried rice? You seem to be a smart enough guy, and am sure u have showed countless nakhras when your mom put food in front of you...ab khud banate time samajh nahi aata haan?

    Sky ;)

  3. lol! this is sweet :)
    where are you studying, and what?

  4. Bet u'd make a seasoned cook by d end of ur PhD :)BTW d movie The Namesake is out...u seen it ?..saw it yesterday n it has some fantastic performances !-Ms NMA

  5. Pallavi, well, you can take consolation from the fact that there is someone worse than you. :-\

    Sky, this is one thing that you will never hear from anybody: me and nakhras with food. And yes, you need to repeat those instructions about pulao and fried rice! :)

    Ricercar, yeah, right--- sweet being the operative word here. I'm doing MS CS at UT Austin --- might get a PhD ;)

    Miss NMA, I don't know about being a seasoned cook, but yes I will be personally cooked and seasoned for sure by the end of that :D

    Haven't seen 'The Namesake', but your recommendation makes me want to see it. Lets see :)

  6. Heh Heh!! You remind me of myself :D

    Maybe this might help :)


  7. I know cooking however will not give any easy recipe'..I am convinced you are BAD - period. What about ready to eat??
    Hmmm - don't you have Traders Joe or Cost Plus Stores in your area ..they keep some ready to eat "Indian Food" - seriously its not Rocket science - easy to do 3 step instructions which is clearly written in english...and voila...you can even surprise your Girlfriend...!!
    Let me know if you need more tips on Ready to eat - options....which will not mess your kitchen...lol....

  8. Is it really SO bad? Don't worry sooner or later you will learn to swim with the tide. Its just teething problem. :-)

  9. Hmmm, all these people telling you you will learn...the problem is, do they know that you dont WANT to learn...yep that's what I think or at least that's what your "my wife will cook for me" statement makes me believe.

    Sky :)

  10. Wonderful Person, thank you :)

    Suyog, that sure helps!! Now I am the grandest cook of them all :)

    BTW --- this worked out mutually beneficial for the two of us in more ways than one. Consider, you got mentioned on Blogbharti while I landed DesiPundit! (Unashamed self-referral of course) :D

    R, so you realised this so late.. me being BAD :-\ Ready to eat is very good and easy, but not healthy for my pocket. If not with the food, I can surely surprise my girlfriend with how fast I do away with money! ;)

    Alka, well, it is not so bad all the time. This post was just a collective recap of all that happened :) I too am hoping that I'll learn to swim :)

    Sky, well, part of it may be true, as I told you. I probably will not learn so long as I survive without it. About the wife part --- all I can comment is, :D

  11. Don't know about the food, but the posts you cook here are definitely getting yummier by the day !!!

  12. Poor u!!
    I know u will make a gr8 cook.
    a note of caution for u:
    dont take too much pizzas n junk food.
    u might lose on the nice sms s that u have been getting ;-)
    Happy cooking!!

  13. Nice one!

    Though I still feel the slow learning process that cooking is, it will make you a good cook one fine day. :)

    Of course, in due course your patience level is sure to shoot up! :))

  14. lol, nice post :)

    a tip from personal experience if you didn't catch this already - stuff well submerged under water tends not to explode in the microwave :)

  15. Anonymous, thank you! :) BTW, why don't you leave a name? I promise I wouldn't bite :D

    Bristi, ohh... is it by any chance your number?? I keep wondering who had the money and time to send me international SMS-es from India. :) BTW, thanks for your confidence in me --- hum honge kaamiyaab :)

    Syrals, thank you, thank you so much for the confidence you express in my culinary abilities. Patience, ummm... I don't know :)

    CtrlAlteredMind, welcome! And thanks --- that tip promises to be live saver in the future!

  16. Will decide once i c u face to face ;-)

  17. Perhaps because you don't wanna know my name.

  18. Bristi, yes ma'am --- whenever you come here!

    Anonymous, you forget, I have IP address tracking and a host of other stuff. Lets just say that I know more than your name. You can keep visiting.

  19. hmmmm now i know where your advice of pouring buttermilk into my morning cuppa coffee came from...yikes!! about cooking i always feel its common sense...maybe that case is just for the girls..my view? god gave us women an extra power plug in the brain to process cook books and actually follow them...so that men like you atleast have decent food to eat when you are around ladies ;)

  20. Anonymous, stay thus.

    Life lover, he hehe --- now you really need to consider that combo seriously. About the men-women debate, well, lets just say that we allow you to be great by relinquishing at least something :D

    "He also serves who only stands and waits." --- Milton

  21. Are you kidding me? I did a post on the inability of unmarried bong men to cook. And I am assuming you are not married. Yet :)
    I would have linked you back then had I just known you :)) you just proved my case.
    Very nice read by the way.

  22. M (tsu), oh well, I did read your post after searching for it on your blog. I don't think it has got to do with stereotypes in my case --- it has rather been lack of opportunity :)

    You guessed correctly: I am single and unmarried and all that stuff; but I really don't see myself improving anyhow beyond my present expertise in washing dishes :D

    Thanks for the compliments, and of course, welcome onboard!

  23. I was on break:-)came back to see what are you upto:-)

    Don't blame your cooking, here all the dishes almost taste the same because there are lots of chemicals involved in growing them. All you taste is masalas after you make them:-)

  24. MommyOf2, welcome back! Exactly my point -- masalas and burnt charcoal :D


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