Monday, March 19, 2007

A man who cooks: Just hand me the knife, won’t you?

I am not suicidal or homicidal but I have felt both when in kitchen with my husband. Before you think you can relate, hold on to your cutting boards and just read on. With sheer luck, cosmic hilarity and a strange twist of genetic tendencies, am married to a man who can cook. Not just cook but cook fabulously. And with great ability comes a greater baggage.

There is something very endearing about a man who really enjoys his food. And no one can really deny finding comfort in a woman who can cook, both statements being singularly true. Before you take your peelers out to skin, after having read that statement, hold on and let me explain. I am no feminist (mustache toting, bra burning or otherwise), neither am I sexist (though there have been times when I have been on the verge of strongly questioning “men”) and nor do I really believe in societal and cultural allocation of gender specific roles but having said all that I believe a tiny amount of hypocrisy does creep in. Think about it. Women can cook, clean, keep house, raise kids and have careers (I strongly suspect the word superpowers is missing here) but it is really no big deal any more. It is expected almost. Commonplace definitely. Rarely rewarded most certainly. But no longer eyebrow raising. A man does the same and the women are ready to swoon. Gender equality? Broccoli and beans. Am not going to continue this thread of thought, it’s a fodder for whole other post.

But seriously, why are most of the world famous chefs men? I have a theory. Oh my Lima, yes I do! I think men think with their stomachs (OK, that can be seriously argued) or at least their food plays a very important role in their everyday life. Remember your mom telling you to keep your legs crossed when on a raised stage? Oh sorry that’s the other one, am looking for something that goes like, the way to a man’s heart is through his…you get the drift. Maybe it just boils down to the fact that men enjoy their food a lot more. Or they love to cook because they don’t have to. Not everyday, every meal in any case. But there definitely is a growing trend of men who cook. Not the throw some meat on the grill kind but the real cooks. Not just superstar chefs but regular guys who cook on a regular basis. How did this trend come about anyway? Especially among Indian men who have been coddled by their mothers virtually all their life. You guessed it, I have another theory. I think necessity breeds capability. Especially among men who go to school abroad and continue to work there. Sure you can eat out but just once in a while when the craving for daal, chawal sets in, you better get your pans oiled. And, a skill is thus cultivated.

Talk about going off on a tangent, back to my house now. In no way am I a bad cook, I am skilled enough (never had dinner party ER casualties yet) and can hold my own skillet. But add to that a husband who cooks better, and is more inventive, he sure gets my eggs boiling. Well, I take that back, he is not a “better” cook, we just have different segments we cater to and just my luck, most of our friends fall into his little niche. I have had nights when I made zillion appetizers (I know they were a success because all platters came back empty) and my husband makes one entrée and guess who takes home the cake? Everyone leaves talking about that one little entrée. Infuriating. I have also had nights when I made something really delicious, it gets tasted, polished off and all related compliments get misdirected to my husband. Hello? Oh and did I mention the nights when I say I am not going to cook, you are on your own and my husband thinks Christmas came early coz now he can cook what he wants with absolutely no interference at all? Except I need to draw up papers and put in the fine print coz “on your own” ends up meaning I chop, peel, skin and stir while he gives direction. And I feel so guilty after having made him cook that I end up cleaning and doing the dishes. Sigh.

So we have epic cook offs, try to out do each other with exotic recipes and the more this continues, the more I realize how foolish I am to knock a good thing. Who in their right mind says no to a cooked, delicious, ready to eat, home made meal? Not me. If I don’t have to cook all the time, then he certainly can wear the four stars. I concede the apron (you read it here first!).

My only concern? Once I have kids, they grow up and move away, they are going to miss their father’s cooking? Really? What about Maa ke Haath Ka Khana? Oh hell, why fight a losing battle? I’ll assist. Just hand me the knife won’t you?

No comments: