Top Stuff I Can’t Cook Without!

I’m no good at cooking. Let me make that absolutely clear, going forward. But then, I guess, it is pretty obvious, if I have to write a post on stuff that I can’t cook without. A good cook makes a feast out of anything! Also, most daughters can never be as good as their mothers… or is it ONE daughter…. yeah, I think this rule pretty much only applies to me…. and I will stop this meaningless rambling now, thank you.

Anyway, there are some things I cannot cook without. Especially since I am supposed to create ethnic South Indian dishes which taste good, are suitable for my spice-intolerant daughter (btw, that is not a real allergy, just 2-yr-old tantrums!), and do not set off the ‘Eat Only Healthy Boring Food’ Radar of my better half! So, I have a list of stuff that always goes into my cooking…logical conclusion? We eat the same food pretty much everyday!!! This is going around in dizziness-inducing circles. So…

Onions – I cannot cook without onions. Please tell me no one else can, too…pretty please?? I have to start every meal by chopping an onion. Unless I throw some onions into cooking oil and stir them around, I feel an ominous foreboding that things will go wrong! I feel this every time I make Rasam. And I’m usually right 😦

Chilli Powder – I have to have all my food glowing red!! Otherwise, I feel it does not qualify as real food. Also, I have to have my food tasting super spicy! so, when something like Vegetable poriyal calls for green chillies only, I feel apprehensive. Some times, I sneak in a pinch of chilli powder, and usually the above-mentioned RADAR goes off.

image: manjulaskitchen.com

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are so beautiful, so colorful, so necessary. And I can’t cook without them. Unless I cut up a tomato, and throw it in, squishy pulp, seeds and all, I feel I have failed myself greatly! Tomatoes were totally banned at home for a while, due to health reasons of the residents, and I WAS LOST. Yes, more LOST than the people in LOST! So, I just made rasam!! … (Go back to ‘Onions’ and read again… gaaah!!)

image: valleygroves.com

Cooking Oil (lots of it) – Okay, I know it is bad to have too much cooking oil. Cholesterol, and all that stuff. But, hey, try scraping burnt stuff off the bottom of your kitchenware after leaving it on the stove, to go assist your kid with potty, and you will resort to a LOT OF OIL too! I now use less oil, and more tomatoes… (go back in circles…your eyelids are getting heavy…you are feeling sleepy…you will now zonk down on your simmering gravy!) By the way, my favorite cooking oil is GoldWinner Sunflower Oil (and no, I’m not paid to say that.)

Rice Batter – this is a white batter made from rice and urad dal, used to make dhosas and idlies. And I cannot do without it. Why? Simply because we have dhosas or idlies most everyday! If you are a South Indian working mother-cum-juggler, juggling five different things…oh, you know…life and all its ingredients…well, you definitely know the advantage of making idlies! Shout out to all the mommies with whistling idli cookers…forget the iPhone, I think we should deify the man (or woman…probably a woman…Men don’t care either way, I think!) who invented the idli cooker!! Pour the batter into little idli plates, mount it on the stand, lower into said cooker, close, light stove, forget. Listen for the whistle and turn it off. DONE!! Time invested: all of 10 minutes. Result: hot idlies for breakfast, probably even dinner… Others in the house: Not Happy. Me: VERY VERY HAPPY! 😀

image: agritech.tnau.ac.in

Spices – viz. Coriander, turmeric, chilli powder (the super 3!!!) I do not know how to make the food have any kind of flavor, if I don’t use these three…Okay, right now, I am slightly beginning to feel sorry for my family…the poor consumers of my half-hearted sorry excuse for cooking. So, invariably, everything kinda tastes the same… If I don’t add tomatoes…you see my predicament? Cooking is really hard, I tell you!!

turmeric powder

coriander powder

chilli powder

Wooden Spoon – Okay, this is technically not an ingredient, but I hate the scraping sound that metal spoons make on cooking ware. And, when I cook, I really need to stir a lot, and peep into the dish or pot…just to reassure myself that everything is going as planned! So, I cannot do without my trusty wooden spoon. It is one of THE BEST things my Mom bought me! I love my wooden spoons, and fiercely guard it from runaway 2-yr-old hands wanting to clank wooden spoons on metal plates and generally be noisy, and grown up men who generally allow 2-yr-old daughter to make ear-splitting noise and drive mommy mad in the kitchen, so that they can get some time alone on the computer!…Sigh…where is this going?!?!?

image: webstaurantstore.com

Television – Okay, this is probably high on the quirky-bizareness meter! But I have to have the television on. I love the house we recently moved into, because the kitchen is right next to the sitting room, where the TV is situated in a nice angle, easily seen if I stand at a certain angle near the kitchen sink…rented house SCORE!! Also, the recently added soft couch means that after every paranoid stir of the gravy, I can literally run out the kitchen, directly into the said couch, sit under the fan on super-fast, wipe away the free-flowing perspiration (direct result of the sweltering South Indian heat that is sucking away my life-energy for the past few months!), and watch So You Think You Can Dance!, or some romantic comedy on StarMovies…anything goes…

image: merinews.com

So…There you have it..stuff I cannot live without, in my kitchen…What’s your favorite stuff that brings out the gourmet chef in you…or simply helps you tolerate the task of making a meal thrice/frice (my word for ‘four times’!) a day?

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Thou Shalt Blog

It is truly despicable that a blogger should ignore her blog for a period of two months and finally come back with a cheeky post about how ‘thou shalt blog’! But it’s happening and I am the blogger in question.

And suddenly there was work. I think it’s a good thing that I am suddenly in demand for a whole batch of technical writing tasks. My work is sought after, and I get paid for it. (am i making it sound like a great adventure, here?! It really isn’t. It’s just work that I am supposed to get done.)

But that left me with absolutely no quality time with my blog. I just stuck to plain technical writing. I do have a sense of achievement that I have finished one training manual, written an advertisement and a promotional letter to school principals, have written a post for the company blog and an article to be featured in a popular search engine news section. Still, I feel guilty that I forgot my AdLibitum, green layout and all. (The layout has been changed since then – my update on January, 2009). Sitemeter traffic is truly humbling. I plead guilty but acquit me in the name of all things creative and verbose.

Will try to do more justice from now on!

This was a really lame effort, but I’m saying this was atleast an effort, so …

Next post, and all that…tomorrow.

Exam Fever…running 103 degrees!

Posted On March 10, 2008

Filed under Random thoughts
Tags: , ,

Comments Dropped one response

I never imagined that after being out of school for so long, I would get exam fever now!! The interesting thing is that I never had exam fever when I was in school… So you get the idea!

The reason for my fever? My Mphil. Examinations at the end of this week…and week after next! Hence, I declare myself officially a nervous wreck!

Oh! And did I tell you that I already flunked in the first round of tests?! Yes, that’s what happened. So it makes it that much harder for me now, since I know that this is not going to be the cakewalk I thought it would. I know, I know, this is too much deliberating over a test.

Please understand – the last time I picked up a book to study was … what … four years ago! So, suffice to say, I have all but forgotten how to revise for an exam!

Therein lies my predicament. How many ever examinations I attempt, I doubt (Oh no, there’s that word now) if I will do well. However, that’s only a personal opinion. The examiner may decide otherwise, bless his heart!

I hope I clear the test this time around or Debbie might not decide to cooperate next time around.

For her, it’s one big party. She gets to chew at all the paper, and destroy all the notes, she wants. She also throws in free ‘time-eating’ activities like a temper tantrum, an “I refuse to sleep as I want to scream and wail the night away” show, and the dreaded “I will let my bowels run wild today” routine. Maybe she is not completely in control of that last one, but I suspect it’s more a kind of mind-over-matter thing…! well, it doesn’t ‘matter’ now!

I’ve finally been able to go through the entire syllabus once, my confidence is really low (maybe because I went through the entire syllabus! Who knows…!)

Wish me luck and hope for the best for me!

This is…no, was, supposed to be a short post to tell you that I won’t be posting until I’m done with my tests.

See you two weeks from now!

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