What’s Cooking: A yesteryear curiosity that I’m besieged by even today!

I remember the time when I was growing up and my mum was a homemaker; she took care of my brother and I through unbounded days, weeks and years unconditionally – right from our daily routine, to school, to homework, our meals, washing, and umpteen other tasks, aside from tending to the household chores. Through all these years, I believe the age along with the mind is quite ignorant, so much so that much of what mum did for us is taken for granted.

Amidst quite a few other admirable traits in her [which back then I may have been too shy to admit], one fact I’ve never denied is that my mum is a great cook, and continues to be. As a kid, one of the clear instances I recall are the times when I used to go into the kitchen only for a faint whiff or a peek-a-boo, in an attempt to find out what-are-you-making-mum. More often than not, mum had to confront an ineludible question that on some days I chanted thrice. Depending on the time I tiptoed into the kitchen, my question would be one amongst the three – what’s for breakfast?, what’s for lunch?, or what’s for dinner?. This habit was not consciously inculcated; rather, as I introspect now, it emerged as a result of the ‘curiosity’ factor, more so to reaffirm the point if the ‘Menu for the Course’ had gotten the better of me or surprised me even, for my own good. A typical conversation that was intermittently regular in our household, went something like this:

“Mum, what’s for lunch?”
“I’m making brinjal curry and flatbread. Why, what did you wanna eat?”
[With a shrunk face] “Oh okay. I thought we could make something gooood.”
“Define [intoning my expression] gooood.”
Silence.

OR

“Mum, what’s for dinner?”
“I’m planning on rice and gravy. Why, what do you wanna eat?”
[With a shrunk face] “Umm…I don’t know. But let’s make something gooood.”
“What do you mean by [intoning my expression] gooood?”
Silence.

Years passed and I grew up progressing from being a mere daughter to being happily married, and my brother travelled abroad to pursue his career. Naturally, mum’s responsibilities shrunk to that of just taking care of dad. Genes may have been one of the incentives, yet inevitably, cooking is something that came to me naturally. [In fact, I’m surprised I didn’t guess this earlier.] I also discovered that cooking served as one of my vent-outs. Not only do I like to cook for my partner, but also I like trying out varieties and cuisines from various sources. I find cooking to be an airway, in the sense that it helps me gain some ‘me-time’ while relaxing with doing something that I like.

A vicious circle of cooking three main meals in the day with barely an existence of concepts such as weekends or leaves, plausible that it was, boredom started settling in soon and there came a point when I became weary of cooking the same old, same old. As they say – what goes around, comes around. So now, I pass the baton of questions to who else, but my partner! The residence often haunts with either one of the three similar-sounding questions:

“Hey, what would you like for breakfast?”
Very unwaveringly, he’d give me options. “Let’s do bread.”
[With a shrunk face] “No, we did that just two days back.”
“Okay, let’s make khichri.”
“Noooo, that’s boring! Let’s make something gooood.”
“Okay. What do you mean by gooood?”
Silence.

Talk about changing circumstances – and how!

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