Kitchen capers

Cookery shows are all the rage. There are channels devoted to them. There’s a show going on now as I write. There is something about food, and mouth-watering dishes at that, that tugs at our very heart strings, something touches a deep chord within us.

While man might not live by bread alone, it surely plays a significant role, and our fascination for it has remained unabated from time immemorial, and will likely go on forever. The possibility of food pills in the distant future notwithstanding.

Well, to get back to the cookery shows. The smartly turned out chef, not a hair out of place and dressed in designer wear, the sparkling kitchen, the gleaming pots and pans. Any number of woks, strainers, spoons and jars can be used, no limits at all.
Every gadget imaginable, all neatly laid out and within touching distance. No running from the stove to the storage cupboard for that ingredient that’s forgotten. All the vegetables miraculously cleaned and cut. All the condiments fresh and in just the right quantities.

Some of them sound so exotic you’ve never even heard of them. But all you have to do is mix and cook. And voila! A marvellous dish that looks almost too good to eat appears as if by magic. In no time at all. Served in an exquisite bowl, tempting, attractively garnished. You can almost taste the flavours and inhale the heady aroma. No oil spills, no powdery masala blots, and absolutely no stains anywhere at the end of the sessions. It looks so quick and easy that you’ve just go to give it a try.

And that’s when the trouble begins. Cleaning and cutting the vegetables is a messy business, with peels and rinds all over the kitchen counter. Washing leaves a wet trail on the counter and on the floor. The vegetables on screen look impossibly fresh and plump, and clean. They don’t look anything like that in your real life kitchen. The TV chef uses an array of vessels and kitchen aids that shine like mirrors. And in your own kitchen? The vessels are not half as glamorous.

Besides, you’re trying to make do with fewer utensils just in case the domestic help springs a surprise and doesn’t turn up, leaving you with a huge pile of dishes in the sink. Of course, after the cooking – deed is done, there’s the onerous task of cleaning the kitchen. It would be nice, fantabulous, if the kitchen cleaned itself up. But there’s no such luck, unless this is science fiction, which it isn’t. Then again, you could always prep yourself up with another cookery show that is schedule right about now.

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