All about my new job!
( I had written this report sometime early December 1999 from Seattle. I was 'in action' and was also the 'embedded' reporter! I am sure you can sense the tension and some desperation in it! I am adding it to my rambles as I think it belongs here and hope it is safer here than in a hard disc drive. I have lost a few in them.)
It started with my retirement! I decided that one of us should be free in case Nandini chose to have a baby! Makes a good line, but actually I was bored and wanted a change. Anyway Nandini chose and gave me this job to get active again.
Cousin Prasad, who was visiting and was of great help, said it is a combination of a Cook, Maid and Dhobi (I did not iron clothes, only washed them!). I am also a substitute mother as I keep bugging Nandini to take rest and eat properly. Rohini was very 'sweet' when she heard that I would go to Seattle and take care of the cooking! She said that I would be a good as I liked to EAT! It is like expecting me to be a good singer just because I like to listen to Music. But daughters are like that, they think(or should) like the ad we see, 'my daddy is the greatest!'
There were others who thought: 'He has been doing nothing but sit and expecting Tara to do everything, Let him work hard now!'. (Thanks Raji for speaking for others as well.)
Nandini thinks that I am like a newly married girl with a kid(!), cutting fingers with a knife, burning rotis and forgetting salt and so on. It is true, my neck would go red with the tension of managing a stove,utensils, ingredients and the sequence. Suddenly I needed more than two hands to handle all this and sometimes one hand was getting in the way of the other!
Anyway there are so many insights I have gained about being of help, in the most convenient place in the world. It would take pages to write about it, fortunately for you I have no time to do this.
Let me start with cooking and say it is a 'mistikal' experience, at least after all the mistakes are made.
I had collected a whole lot of recipes, along with a page of basic recipes Tara gave me for a simple dal and a subji. I am yet to go further than the page one at the moment.
Here are few gems I discovered about cooking. In cooking taste is as unique as the finger prints and it varies from day to day as we have so many prints on our fingers. Changes in taste are mostly involuntary in my case.
(It is a pity but I could never duplicate the 'Shira' I made the first time. It was really good! Anyhow Nandini did certify that I gradually improved and was more consistent. Her conclusion came from the fact that the baby's shit was the same every day! Another proof was that she invited her friends to stay for dinner when they dropped by to see Saarung(Neil). While it was flattering it also meant hard work! )
No recipe is exact and the most irritating is the note 'add salt to taste'. I have yet to add salt to my taste or for that matter to Nandini's taste. She has been patient and supportive. Hopefully it would be to some one's taste in the universe. There are vegetables which clash and masalas that clash as well. It is a mystery for me and a tough one to learn about these clashing tastes as I like everything. (Rohini agrees!). And as a peaceful guy I do not understand all this clash.
There cannot be more than one main cook and an assistant in a 'home kitchen' and that obviously rules out two women cooking at the same time!
More later as I have to run.