Monday, February 4, 2013

to be master of your craft, stop pursuing it

our cook is was no cook at all.
she was clueless about the basics. let's just say she didn't know the basics. she would cook on high-flame not let the meat and the vegetables cook through.she would always, char the vegetables, always as a rule over spice or under spice the meats. etcetera. why did i still have her? she is an extremely nice woman. she is honest. her timings worked for me perfectly. and because i like to cook. while i didn't get around salvaging her culinary disasters, but when i really felt like eating something, i knew i could cook that myself. so, she barely managed the everyday routine meals, for the rest i micro-managed her or cooked it all myself.
and then she took a month off. a month became two. and then two and a half. we began to relish the stuff, the substitute cook made. though her timing were pretty hard for me.close to the graveyard shift. and she would come for just 45 mins a day. so often i had to do most of the cooking. and that sucked the joy out my kitchen time. so, when  finally my regular cook got back, i welcomed her. while i was happy to see her, the realization that we were back to eating the part-charred-part-raw stuff hit me.
but luckily weekday mornings don't leave me with much time to dwell over the contents of my lunch box.
but with the lunch time approaching, i dreaded opening my lunch box :-| when opening in front of a very hungry lot of colleagues. my maid-made rotis had laugh-of-the-day potential. they were pretty infamous in these parts. and then like all stories with happy endings - my lunch box revealed the perfect egg curry and the near perfect soft rotis [flat breads]. no less than a miracle.
next morning she arrived. she walked tall with a new confidence i hadn't noticed previously. not wanting to make a big deal about her sudden prowess in the kitchen, i casually asked her if she had been cooking a lot when away. she looked at me, and said "no i didn't even make tea during the whole time. all i did was sit with my sisters and my mother in the kitchen and watch them as they cooked my favorite things."
huh? yeah, i saw things perfectly now. she picked up nuances, the delicate details by relishing the flavors and by watching, a whole lot of watching in the kitchen.
a vacation is in order perhaps,  a vacation with neil french, hegarty and abbott.