New Learnings and Kitchen Adventures

New Learnings and Kitchen Adventures

Last week I went down with a bad back. After the initial shock had worn off I settled down with my current read on my kindle. I was just beginning to enjoy the experience when the cook called to say she wasn’t coming. That was the worst kind of spoke in the wheel of my happiness.

As I sat there feeling rather helpless, the children offered to take up the cooking. It might have been the result of a phone call from the sister, which turned them from busy-without-business-tweens to Santa’s hardworking little elves.

Of course there’s much difference between good intentions and actually getting down to work. After staking claim to each task and fighting tooth and nail for each one, H disappeared behind his book leaving N to handle it all.

Glad to have him out of the way, we made up the simplest menu of Egg Curry and Rice. No cutting, no chopping and no need for the dreaded pressure cooker. N, dear little, careful, meticulous N went to work and did a pretty good job of following my instructions to a tee. H appeared from behind his book (after much coaxing) to cut the salad and lay the table.

H is rather unconventional when it comes to doing up the salad plate.

In the end we had a pretty decent meal.

While I prayed the maid would come back, an inspired H prayed harder that she wouldn’t, so he could prove his powers as a chef too. God, as they say, listens to the prayers of children. The maid didn’t turn up.

And so come evening, we chose another simple recipe – paneer in a ready-spice mix. The only tricky part was grinding the tomatoes which H said he’d manage given that he’s comfortable with the food processor (because he uses the juicer all the time).

They’re so very different, these two. While N is overly cautious, stopping at each step, confirming and reconfirming, checking with me and cross checking again, H blunders in full of confidence even when he hasn’t the foggiest idea about things.

And so it was that before I could give him a single instruction he had chopped the tomatoes, dropped them into the mixer and switched it on. Forgetting to put his hand on the lid. Yeah, you know what happened next. The kitchen looked like the site of a tomato tornado! H stood there, tomato pulp splattered on his spectacles trying to figure out the way to the kitchen sink.

I blew my top worse than any food processor and a rather remorseful H got down to retrieving the bits and washing and grinding them all over again.

Finally he did handle the paneer, completely on his own, while I managed the chapatis and we were good. He was so very proud as was I.

I told them to go write down the recipes in their recipe books and guess what was the first thing H wrote – “Never forget to take your hand off the top of the mixer while grinding tomatoes”!

So there, that’s my silver lining. Thanks to my bad back, the children took a small step forward in their culinary journey.

24 Replies to “New Learnings and Kitchen Adventures”

  1. Looks like it is time I started culinary lessons for the kiddos at home. With that touch of subtle humor, the post brought out the whole expereince in parenting when that first step towards making a dish is made!!

    1. Thanks Ramya. By the time they are 11 or 12 years old kids are ready for basic lessons. And I do think it is important for them to be able to make basic dal chawal. The complicated stuff they can pick up if/when they want to.

  2. Oh, this is so sweet! It’s wonderful when children offer to help you (and you encourage them), enjoy the time (in the kitchen, especially :)) with you and learn new things. Take care.

  3. Hahaha…busy-without-business tweens! I so get that!
    Your little N sounds just like me, Tulika..cautious, checking and cross checking..Good girl!
    As I read how H started the food processor without keeping his hand over the lid, I let out a cry! I could so imagine the sight of your kitchen…and your avatar, too! 😛
    Lovely post, as always!

    1. Thanks Shilpa. Oh I was so angry. Mercifully I keep all my appliances covered so all I had to do was take off the covers and drop them in the washing machine. Or else H would have had it worse.

  4. This made me smile. I knew I was missing something and after reading this post, I realised it was reading your stories of H and N. And do tell H that he isn’t the only one who has had the mixer mess up. While I’m very careful, my sister and S always end up making me do more work in the kitchen when they decide to help me with cooking 😀

    1. Thanks Corinne, I’m fine now. I do hope they use this training later in life, specially H. I know of many men who know how to cook but just won’t do it when their wives or moms are around. I hope H finds it as normal to be in the kitchen as N.

  5. This is so very adorable while being hilarious at the same time. I could just picture H looking all woebegone with tomato splattered on his specs. Poor chap! N, sweet N, how I wish she and Gy could meet. They would hit it off like a house on fire. I really must plan a Pune trip soon and I am going to stay with you. No hotels, so you’ve been warned. Get the cook back before that 😉

    1. You know you’re welcome Shailaja. Don’t worry about the cook. H and N will cook for you. And that by the way, is in no way meant to scare you :-). I hope to have them well-trained soon enough.

  6. Awwww how sweet is this. You have two diligent set of boys there Tulika. Lucky Mom, I must say.
    But yes, sometimes the help taking an day off proves to be a blessing in disguise and for the family to come together and rustle something that they relish more, I suppose. The family that cooks together stays together, right? ;-))

    1. It’s a girl and a boy Natasha! I need to clarify because N would be most insulted to be thought a boy :-).
      You’re right about cooking together. It is a lot of fun. Specially when one doesn’t have to do it everyday.

  7. haha That made me crack up. Poor H but he still managed to turn out a good plate of food. Tomato spattering all over the kitchen is the stuff nightmares are made of. I would have lost my cool as well.

    I am glad that you are initiating the kids into cooking. It is so very important and a lot of parents neglect doing so. Hope you are feeling better now.

  8. What fun! Is H fond of buildings because the salad plate in the first photo does look like that. Blowing up the grinder lid while grinding tomatoes, it is not just H alone because this happens to me quite frequently. And I have still not written it anywhere as the first rule to not to life my hand from the jar lid while grinding. H is wiser. And, fun too 😀 I am still laughing at his prayers that the cook doesn’t turn up so that he can show his prowess.

    1. Seriously, the things children wish for!! And the more weird they are greater the chances of them coming true. Ah that tower! That is just H getting creative.

  9. Haha..I loved the way ‘H’ started off with the precautionary line in the recipe book! Reminded of the ‘n’ number of times my ‘H’ has done this. No, not my kiddo but my 40+ husband!!

  10. Hahaha so cute 😛 tomato all over his glasses 😀 I can’t imagine it was very cute for you though. I’m glad they at least have the confidence to get in the kitchen and get going; so so important for children to be able to cook because its a nightmare if you move away from home and can’t cook yourself the stuff that mum feeds you.
    Personal experience.

    1. Confidence isn’t an asset here. It’s THE problem. Both of them think cooking is so very easy. And that scares me.
      I agree everyone should be able to make himself/herself a basic meal.

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