I am a mom who can’t cook. What, then, of “Maa ke haath ka khana?”
“My Mom is the best cook in this world!” We all love to say this and am sure we all genuinely mean it too. Indeed, my mom is the best cook in the world. For me, eating her ‘hath ka khana’ is the ultimate therapy till date and only because it’s cooked with the most authentic ingredients with lots of love, happiness and affection ka tadka that nothing else can ever match up to.
While I was growing up, I always took it for granted that those superb culinary skills would get passed onto me by way of legacy and was happily floating in my own fantasy world. Little did I realize, that not only is cooking an art but also has elements of mathematics in it, with all those measurements that should be maintained to learn and master the recipe.
Phew! As I always had a love-hate relationship with Maths, there began a parallel hate story with the fine art of cooking. And alas! The situation remains unchanged for the last 20 years and my inherent dislike for cooking has only grown stronger as I have grown wiser.
I am a complete foodie and love to experiment with good food and try new cuisines, and also happily endorse the old adage ‘Live To Eat’ . It’s just the cooking part that I don’t seem to comprehend, and as a result, it has always been outsourced. And I am blessed to be surrounded with family and house-help who understand my plight and come to my rescue.
All throughout, my mom was actually quite chilled about her daughter not cooking at all and she secretly believed that this would change for the better once I became a mother myself and sometimes, I too secretly hoped for the same. Today, my son is 11 years old and both, my mom and I are still secretly hoping for the same. In fact, even my husband has joined the bandwagon now, though all through these 16 years of our marriage he never complained about it and still doesn’t (that’s just one of the benefits of marrying your best friend). Love conquers the heart and the tummy too!
They say, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Ever since my dating days with my husband, I would squirm at the mention of this phrase and wanted to hammer the person who created it. My husband has always been aware of my very special area of development (it’s definitely not a weakness) and so I too, decided to channelize his attention on my other strengths as a wife and his life partner. Thankfully that strategy has worked brilliantly for both of us to lead a happy and healthy relationship.
When my son was born, he brought all the happiness and love in our world and also a huge ray of hope that his mother will now learn and be able to cook for her ghar ka chirag. But ‘old habits die hard’ and though I did very earnestly attempt a few times to make something that my boy enjoys, I realized that I just don’t have it in me (some sort of manufacturing defect) to take the effort and toss out one great food item to the other. In fact, I was sure that I was suffering from Mageirocophobia – the intense fear of having to cook!
Soon thereafter, I resumed work once my little boy was 18 months old and then the expectation of having to cook disappeared with the hectic routine of work and home balance. The hope was still on …
When my son was around 5 years old, he began to understand that his mother hardly spends as much time in ‘the kitchen’ as other moms and that, that territory is safely guarded by our cook. Once, when I got back home from work and was all ready to welcome our cook, she called and said she couldn’t make it to work for some reason.
While I was happy that we now get to order some great food from one of our favourite restaurants, I remember, my son with a very worried look on his face asked me “Now what will we eat?” And that was one moment when my heart cringed and cried in pain and I suddenly freaked thinking what all must my little boy be feeling about his mom!
He always gets the most yummy food of his choice from his Aaji (his maternal grand-mother) and our cook. I decide the menu, buy all the groceries and veggies and supervise everything that is cooked at our place, but it’s still different. The reality is “My mom can’t cook!”
And then, as he started growing older, I started freaking more thinking about what would my child write or say if he was asked “what is the best dish your mom makes for you?” I was reeling with some serious guilt issues and bouts of hopelessness and for once, even WINE didn’t help ! Where is HOPE??
As years moved on, my son and I have both grown older TOGETHER and that makes all the difference in a rock-solid relationship. Today, my son understands that his mother is not a regular mom who can whip up a storm in any recipe, but he knows she can whip up a storm and more in any other aspect of our lives and the most beautiful bond we share.
I take immense pride in the fact that I am a very hands-on mom and completely engaged in my son’s world. There is no greater happiness than in raising a happy and healthy boy who means the world to me and my husband and who very explicitly wants to marry his mother. I have tears of joy, thinking of these precious moments and that’s what life is all about.
We live in an imperfect world, we all have our strengths and areas of development and it’s how we perceive things and judge people that decides the kind of life and relationships we have. My child doesn’t judge me by my skills to cook, but by my ability to provide him with all the love, affection, fun, roars of laughter, undivided attention to his jokes and stories and all the positive strokes that he needs to live and learn every day. Love and Hope conquers all!
Finally, the hope has unveiled its magic and in the last couple of months, I have suddenly taken the initiative to learn something new and cook what my boy likes to eat. I am taking baby steps in this direction and enjoying my new found interest in the art of cooking. And when I feel the recipe is not going right, I simply add plenty of love and 2 spoons of wine in it and then, and then there is the most loved dish in this world!
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock