Monday, August 24, 2009

The miraculous making of a conditional cook

Ever since I've been thrown far far away from home on work, it's been taken for granted that I'd learn to look after myself. Part of that has happened, part still taking place. Even in college, there were people you had to learn to like, others who forced you not to like them and those who made your life living hell even though you wouldn't like to admit it.

But apart from all the humdrum of making life a life, something just doesn't fit. I've actually had to get down and dirty in the kitchen (take a check on those filthy minds, people) and cook my own meals.

At home with the omnipresent mother, there's never a chance that you'd get into the kitchen, whether she asks you to or not. At college, you have to put up with the hostel food and you aren't allowed into the kitchen, whether you like it or not. In your own tiny rented heap-of-clothes-and-beer-bottles-away-from-home you have to spoon your own food into your mouth whether it tastes like food or not.

Roommates have given up charity cooking for one reason or other. For whatever reason, I've put on the apron and got down to work. Logically since my grandmother is the world's best cook, my mum and aunts coming in a close second and the sibling a distant third (though he would think otherwise) I would have turned into an amazing cook among the likes of Jamie (at home or elsewhere), Curtis and probably Nigella.

But as fate would have it, I've inherited half my father's cooking gene. He makes breakfast i.e. eggs - scrambled, bulls-eye, omelette, boiled. He also makes rice, curry, fish and fries better than McDonald's. And that's about it. As for me, I make noodles - cup, Maggi, Top Ramon with cheese, tomato, peas, capsicum and maybe some potato. Note to reader: Quit making gagging noises. But, I have also devised other ways of surviving on one stop shop consumerism. Bingo Mad Angles, Twix, the odd Bounty, salted cashew nuts and cheese.

I've actually been on the lookout for Nature Valley bars for the past year and cheese nachos for a few months. They seem to be off the shelves. Cookies of any sort are good, as long as they've got bits of chocolate in them. Pringles are for when I'm feeling rich or slim, either of which is rare. Although I have only recently discovered the "joys" of working behind an apron, good food is rare to come by.

I ate some chicken at a restaurant some time ago and slumped into slurpy reminiscence of mother's thick steaks and beef burger patties, cold chicken salad, chick peas and Aunty Lee's spinach and corn quiche and stuffed squid. Scrumptious. In sympathy of your deprivation, I will kindly leave out Nan's bakes, Aunty Rachel's awesome chocolate gateaux and light eclairs and finger-licking dishes made by my mother's other sisters. Note to reader: She has six.

To my undeserved credit, I have managed a prawn and fish curry, thrown together a fish macaroni and cheese bake, a miraculously unscathed vegetable and prawn pulao, a hardly-get-it-right parsi style fish curry and a few veggies the recipes of which I conjure up on my own. After all, it's my own to eat.

Oh MOTHER! Where art thou?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To those who "were there"

I want to thank you
Very sincerely
For showing me the kind of friend
I would not like to have
And more so, not like to be

You leave an unexpected brokenness
That only fools will dwell on
Perhaps I was finished with you
Before we even started
You're not even worth the pain

But haven't you realised?
You've caused a lifetime of damage
To someone who believes in close friendships
You are the thorn permanently stuck in flesh
That is bleeding the hurt away

Fly foul memory, away for eternity
Rest not on white hearts blinded by the ideal friendship
Take with you the thick palor of hopelessness
Take your pent-up, ghastly frustration
And vent it out on me.