Ever since I was a child, I’ve been taught that everyone should know the basics of cooking. And I’ve watched Ratatouille enough times to know it holds up.
But I never looked forward to heaving over a piping hot stove, aside from waiting for the third antagonising ‘seeti’ on my mother’s command. Unsurprisingly, I’ve led a very sheltered life where there wasn’t ever a need for me to cook for survival.
But as all things do, this too did pass.
I’m not truly sure if I grew during the pandemic, but I decidedly won’t veer into the eye of an existential crisis just yet.
I am but a 20-year-old toddler who realised soon enough that she may be able to wield the veto power on unsolicited Khichdi.
I’ve heard innumerable disparaging comments from distant aunts and moustachioed uncles about how I need to learn how to cook, which seemingly killed any curiosity I might have of the subject.
Nevertheless, armed with nightmares of the initial withdrawals after my Swiggy-filled hostel life was abruptly swapped by a nationwide lockdown, every breath of air from the unmasked world outside my window seemed treacherous.
I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands and set foot in the kitchen to enjoy my favourite dishes.
But in the process, I realised I enjoyed feeding my favourite people even more.
As people, we’re quick to equip one another with a cup of chai anytime the lulls in conversation start creeping in.
There’s always a comfort food that can mend broken spirits on a bad day, and a dish reserved for momentous occasions.
We’ve always been adept at adding spice to our solitary lives, all with a pinch of salt and good company.
As someone who is still in the process of learning the dialect of the delectable, cooking is fast becoming one of the most beneficial ways to regain a sense of control in my life.
It’s something as small as being able to decide what’s for lunch. I mean sure, we can pig out on a new cuisine every night, courtesy of the internet. But it’s also about fostering a culture of warmth, of family, and of self-expression.
I’m okay with the fact that while it may not be Michelin Star worthy, even the most basic meal can become elevated by the novelty of trying something different.
There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe. Maybe you like more salt in yours, and that’s your prerogative.
My mother always says, the quality of a hearty meal is measured by the intensity of the slurpy stillness that ensues on the dinner table.
On an unrelated note, it’s shocking how fast one can resolve familial warfare with the right recipe.
As we cook up our personalities and grow out of our shells, I wish for you to find a dish you can call your own. I hope you can make new memories over a homemade meal and a table full of warmth.
Let me help you sow the seed of service, the deed of delicious duty.
Try something new today. Try cooking for someone you love.
This post was written by Manya, IIIrd Year.