I have been cooking in a new country for a month now. Sadly, only once my cooking has produced something that I couldn’t get enough of.
I do not cook bad all the time. I don’t cook amazing either. The very first time I cooked lamb chops, I followed a recipe. The result was so good, that I wanted to cry in joy at the taste. ‘I made this’ I thought amazed. And I have been trying to reproduce the results ever since.
But aside from the served dish, there are a couple of cooking things that I have mastered.
I heat up oil in the pan and add mustard seeds. The seeds pop and emit a great fragrance. I can add oil-blackened seeds to rice, lentils or anything else I have made. The aroma of the fried seeds, called tadka in India, is so good that everyone say ‘smells good’. I smile and try to tell them I didn’t do nothin’.
I don’t like large chunks of vegetables. Actually, I don’t like vegetables in general but I understand their importance in my food. So I spend time meticulously cutting onions, potatoes, carrots. As finely as I could. My previous housekeeper asked me how do I find so much time, I should just cook them in whatever shape they are. I didn’t tell her the answer but I don’t like that way, I like the way these small vegetables taste. The surprising thing: the chopped onions are now almost perfectly diced.And then I caramelise them so they are almost burnt. I could eat that with everything.
I have made mistakes. Twice, I cut my fingers with chef’s knife, once cutting onions and yesterday while cutting potatoes. After I bandaged my finger yesterday, my eyebrows were raised. ‘Wow, that was bloody efficient of you’ I praise myself (no pun intended) but I’m the clumsiest person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Roommates cook, sometimes I watch them. That’s how I learned how to cook pasta, embarrassingly. I praise them when their food looks or smell fabulous. Sometimes they offer their good food to taste, sometimes they don’t. I always offer food to taste. Food is always better when shared.
When I got here, I was prepared to eat anything I could cook. I was wrong, I want to eat food that does not makes me nauseous. If that means that I have to spend more time in prep so be it. I spend more than an hour cooking. I don’t regret it, I have found that cooking is actually fun.
I never expected myself to say that.
PS: I just completed 2 years on my blog.