Stains of a kitchen disaster

Stains of a kitchen disaster

There is something to be said about the utter humiliation of making a disaster in the kitchen. The feeling of inadequacy, the helplessness at why everything has gone wrong, and the gnawing worry of how to fix it. Twenty years ago, this was my reality most of the time I ventured into the kitchen.

That's why I love the technology that we have today. I know it's making zombies out of us, into people who cannot react without the comfort of a screen, but how much easier it is to tap that very screen and get what you want.

For instance, chances are you won't make that many disasters in the kitchen, thanks to apps like Tasty or Tastemade where you can see how the dish is supposed to look at every stage, right on your phone. Or, if things don't work out, one can always simply tap on Swiggy or Zomato and order something. Technology has made life so much easier for everyone, and humiliating memories like some of the ones I have wouldn't exist at all.

The one memory that is seared into my brain is the time I made tomato soup for my aunt without the help of Knorr or Maggi instant-soup packets. I did everything wrong. The soup looked horrid, a dull and unbecoming red with chunky pieces of tomato in it that didn't seem to magically become smooth. I didn't know that we had to puree it. I didn't know how much I ought to season it. And I certainly didn't know that I shouldn't pour a beaten egg into it.

Adding the egg just compounded the disaster, and now I had bits of floating egg in the soup while my aunt wanted to know when the soup would be ready. I was nervous and upset, and knew that while I could tell her the soup wasn't good, she would still want to see what it looked like.

I had to stop her from seeing it at any cost!

I couldn't exit the kitchen without bumping into her, sitting in the hall outside. I couldn't dump it into the dustbin either, because what would I tell her if she decided to check it?

And of course, I would be berated about the waste of money on ingredients, which seemed to be the primary concern of most women, including my own.

I was unhelpfully reminded of my several forays into the kitchen earlier where I had tried baking cakes in the newly minted microwave. I had no idea that baking cakes in the microwave took mere minutes, not half an hour as was usually the case with OTGs. In my defence, I was only 11.

I would bake sponge cakes for 30 minutes and then wonder why they had become rock-hard, resulting in my family members bringing out hammers and pretending toothaches whenever I baked.

Of course, there was also the lecture I had to listen to on the waste of butter and sugar.

But the question of how I could get rid of the tomato soup remained. How I wished I had a wand so I could whirl it and make the mess disappear. My cousin who was lingering around came up with absurd ideas, such as trying to flush everything down the toilet. I was tempted, but how would we walk past my aunt without her knowing what we were doing?

My cousin offered to hold up her kameez and asked me to pour the soup into the cradle that formed and suggested running to the toilet and flushing it immediately. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and thankfully, I did no such thing.

I admitted defeat and went outside and told my aunt that the soup was not good and so I wouldn't be serving it to her. She muttered something about girls who didn't know how to make something as basic as soup, and I slunk away from there.

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