>for the first few weeks i spent in goa, without internet connectivity, without television, without newspapers, i had a lot of empty time on my hands. time that would hang loosely, time that i would want to fill, time like i had never experienced before. in order to keep myself occupied, and also by default to keep my sanity i did things to spend that time as best as i could. in those first few weeks i read books that i had meant to read for a long time but hadnt ever really done. i rediscovered painting, and i dabbled in it just a bit. i drove around the place wondering what creative, economic solutions i could come up with to do up the house with the bare minimum furniture we required.
its funny how a lack of things to do can sometimes force you to reinvent and enjoy your solitude as best as you can. during those first few weeks i enjoyed being quiet. being to myself. not being constantly hooked up to a system.
then one fine day out gas connection arrived. and turned my world around. cooking is something i have steered clear of for all my life so far. perhaps because i was never inclined, i was never forced, and most importantly because there was always someone to do it for me. i never developed an interest to even learn the minimum cooking one needs to know to survive! and it was ironic that someone like me was one fine day in a situation where i had to cook not just for myself, but for the husband too. and i had never done it before.
i began with baby steps. simple everyday recipes. simple ghar ka khaana. i would conference with my mom or my grand mom and update my recipe book with all the handwritten notes i gathered. in the beginning, i just couldnt cook without it. every meal time began with me opening the book and finding a place to prop it on the counter and moving it around clumsily when the counter got more and more crowded.
i slowly graduated and became brave enough to go one step further. i gradually stopped referring to the book. i started using my judgement with quantities and seasoning. i experimented with alternative flavours and i did the bravest thing for me at that point too: i started playing around with recipes i found online! i experimented with vegetables outside my world of aloo+onions+tomatoes+beans+carrots. and i found that if i put my heart into it, nothing really ever came out tasting horrid!
friends helped me along the way too.
niyoo was always willing to join me in an experiment, with enough enthusiasm to take the cooking world by storm.
james sat his mom down ad picked her brains, dutifully nothing down her bhindi and dill-aloo recipes and sent them to me.
experienced HWTM (hostess-with-the-most-ess) praerna was ever willing to share her recipes and tips with me.
anand came over and cooked chicken at home, sowing the seed for my non vegetarian experiments which i knew i would embark on some day.
lekha and i share an uncanny liking for the same kind of vegetables, desserts and cuisines. what makes it even weirder is the fact that we have similar arbit mid-day cravings, and urges to try out new things. in recent times, thanks to her camping out at my place we have shared lots of time talking about food, giggling over failed spotted dick experiments, and she has inspired and egged me on, and directed me as we bravely tried out seemingly tedious yet yummy things.
in the last few weeks, lekha and i have contemplated cooking something adventurous and something a little out of the ordinary (within our limited cooking world of course). and this weekend we got down to it. the husband had a sudden burst of enthusiasm too and we have revived a cooking/food blog we started a year ago.
so check it out.
we’re hungry and we’re excited.
oh, and off late fairly adventurous too!