Pressure Cooker & Our Regular Life
All the travel stories were giving me major vacay blues, so I’m taking a break from that right now and writing about my cooking adventure in the daily grind.
Married and suddenly responsible for all the food that needs to be cooked, while holding down a full time career! The sheen of being a new bride was wearing down fast. H being a late riser, I wasn’t ever around for breakfast, I would leave for work before 8 so that was perfect. Coming back home at 7 and just looking at the kitchen was one of the most scary things for me. Hence a pressure cooker was a saving grace. Err not really but read on,,
The Pressure Cooker Saga
So there we are setting up home, looking for a cook desperately and in the meanwhile figuring out why a bloody 5 litre cooker won’t cook dal for 2 people. Finally I gave up and asked my mom – she suggested buying a smaller cooker. So armed with advertising crap I settled on Futura. It was stylish, no whistle- boy was I impressed. I told H that I would only be able to cook if I had the Futura in a small size – you are thinking is she for real! Well I am – and I never did say I wasn’t Cray Cray.
So off went H and when I got back from work that day he presented me with a 3 litre Futura – I was sure I could do it – it wasn’t rocket science. I measured out the dal and water and shut the cooker and sat back and relaxed.
I did say no whistle, right? I waited for some indication that the dal had been cooked for about 25 mins, the silent cooker just released a steady phish sound – which was unhelpful to a person whose cooking instructions have always been “ek seeti sim, dus minute band” ( lower the flame after the first whistle and shut it off after 10 minutes).
Yes the bloody dal burnt – the water had dried up and the cooker was a big mess!!! I cried till I started laughing and H looked on wondering what he had gotten himself into. We cleaned the cooker, ordered in and sighed with relief. The next day I read the damn recipe booklet and figured out how to use the cooker. I still only use Futura, and whenever I hire a new cook I warn them that this cooker doesn’t whistle, it burns, so keep water a little extra and shut it off in time.
Our First Pressure Cooker Guests
H has this ridiculous cousin whom no one in the family can stand – least of all anyone who newly joins the family. They were the kind of people who would walk into your house unannounced , see the table laid out- finish the food on it without even saying hello or checking if it was actually laid out for someone else ( yes they did that to me at a later date!!! I was in the bedroom and when I came out all the food was -pouff!!)
Anyhow, they came over unannounced and invited themselves for dinner. I came back from work exhausted and surprise surprise! A normal person would say order in! But these were the kind of people who had an answer for everything normal – they just laughed and insisted on eating something simple cooked at home. Both H and I, fresh from the delicate balance that we had struck on our honeymoon looked at each other and of course since he could cook nothing but eggs I headed to the kitchen. I ended up making a paneer dish is all I remember now – actually I also remember the copious amount of onions I sliced and this very real urge to ask those people to just go away!! I don’t remember how it turned out , but I do remember them going overboard with compliments which only made me think ‘Bitch, please!’
The second set of guests we invited were my colleagues from work and the very same night H’s closest friends. I cooked awesome Rajma – and I am very good at it so it all went off smoothly ( my trusty Futura pressure cooker made it even better).
The Maid Who Saved Me
I finally found a nice efficient maid after running through a whole bunch of crazies – one who stole everything from under my nose to one who thought she was cooking for 10 people all the time – and even one who felt she must stroke my hair while I ate (that one was chucked out immediately!).
Sangeeta was a petite woman with full energy. God! I think there were times I loved her more than I loved H. She cooked everything and my life was once again normal.
I don’t know what it is but when I don’t want to cook and I have to I feel less like a woman – I feel unsexy, downtrodden – je ne sais quois – but just some one who I am not. But when I want to cook, baby I am a sexier version of Nigella Lawson heating it up in the kitchen! And that’s what I firmly believe in – food as a sustenance should be outsourced to someone who can do it, but when it is something that is made to tantalize, experiment and be loved, only then should you cook. That is if you are like me – and I hate regular cooking like men hate shopping with their wives!
Manav, of course, loves to cook on days when the temperatures suit him unless he’s paid for it– and as he lives in Delhi you can guess how frequent the free cooking is. Bit then again Manav can also screw a perfectly written article just by glancing at it… all credit to weird words etc go to him as usual! Well, I do have more coming up – perhaps less of pressure cooker food and more on the men in my life- it is tantalising, you will just have to wait for it!
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