Sunday was a day of incidental experimentation. Of Kannadiga Saaru-pudi vs the real Gulti Charu-pudi. Of chicken with bones vs boneless chicken. Of small brinjals vs. larger ones. Of grinding the pachadi in a mixie vs. using a pestle and mortar. But the biggest experiment of them all was cooking with heart and soul.
The result: Sirish and I succeeded with flying colours (if I may say so myself!). I don’t have the answers down pat as yet, but I did prove to myself that food cooked with intention, with tender love and care, with excitement and happiness, can out-do the fanciest food there is. Sunday was proof of that. We had to make do with small brinjals when what we really needed was a big fat brinjal. We had to settle for boneless chicken, because I was too lazy and grossed out to go to the meat market. We substituted good old Saaru-pudi telling ourselves that Charu cant be very different (If nothing, they sound so similar!). Many shortcuts, clever guesses and 90 minute sultry cooking session later, I realized that the reason I couldn’t stop eating the brinjal, the reason the chicken got wiped clean, the reason even 5 cups of rice was not enough, was because it really was full of flavor.
Im convinced now. Its not about the recipe. Its not about the ingredients. Its certainly not about who is cooking. What makes a meal truly awesome, is the joy that goes into making it. I had a blast cooking this Sunday. It was quick, exciting, experimental, and although some of us (Read Sirish) believe we could have done better, I think we totally rocked the scene.
Stuffing our faces and going down in that mighty Gulti culinary storm aside, what Sunday did for me was kickstart (yet yet yet again) the habit of cooking at home. A habit I seem to fall out of so easily these days. Blame it on lethargy, exhaustion, lack of creativity, whatever you will. But Sunday brought that spark back alive. And I hope it is just the beginning of many more Sundays to come.