The culinary outcasts

Rise, male cooks of the world! Let's take our rightful places in the kitchens of our homes.

Are you one of those helpless souls who happens to be married to a woman who stands on the balcony and yells across to the neighbours (in a voice loud enough for the entire building to hear), “Oh, my poor husband! He just cannot cook; he can’t even boil water. I do ‘all’ the cooking!”

Well, count me among you – this, despite the fact that I worked my way through college working in a cafeteria in the US and survived pretty well, thank you very much. After marriage, I did quite well for myself in the food department too, during my wife’s periodic three-month jaunts to India from Canada, where we lived.

Once she returned, however, I was quickly relegated to the background. “It’s okay dear, you do ‘just’ the dishes, the vacuuming, the bathroom cleaning, and the gardening, and I’ll take care of ‘all’ the cooking,” she said patronisingly. Of course, I acquiesced.

I might have gone on in total ignorance of the unfairness of this bargain, – assuming that all I was capable of in the culinary department was the ubiquitous ‘thayir shaadam’ (curd rice), as a true Tamilian – but for a chance eavesdropping incident. I overheard my better half talking to our son on Skype. 

“That’s nonsense! Cooking is not brain surgery. Go put on an apron and I’ll walk you through a chhole recipe,” my wife was saying sternly. “I left a few cans of chickpeas and some masalas for you – you’ll need just a couple of them. Come on, it’ll be a piece of cake.” “Yeah, right,” I said to myself.

The tutoring began with the basics. “Take a saucepan and place it on the stove.” “Man! This is going to be fun,” I thought; but it got better. “What’s a saucepan?” a feeble inquiry piped up. I tried to visualise what such a query would have got me, but never underestimate the power of maternal love.

About 15 minutes later, I heard the smacking of lips, and the adoring beta saying, “Gee, thanks mom! I didn’t know cooking could be so easy and so much fun. This chhole is awesome!”

I need hardly explain how I felt. It is our wives who have kept us out of the kitchen. Why? It is a matter of protecting their territory. Rise, brethren, male cooks of the world!

 Let’s take our 

rightful places in the kitchens of our homes. Let us do the finesse stuff, as our wives “prepare” for us. (Have you ever noticed that in every recipe, the preparation time is twice as long as the cooking time?)

Is it any wonder that even where both husband and wife work, it is the poor unsuspecting bloke who does the preparation? (Yes, including that loathsome cleaning and chopping of parsley and coriander!) But no more.

 The secret is out. We will be the cooks. We will storm into the kitchens. We shall proudly wield the ladle as our wives chop the parsley!

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