Kitchen chronicles ft. unisex apron

Kitchen chronicles ft. unisex apron

Sooner or later, even an alpha male who had been treating the kitchen as an unexplored dark continent in the map of his residence may have to venture into it with no more protection than an apron. 

For an executive who had handled such befuddling topics like Goods Service Tax, that features gobbledygook like forward charge, reverse charge mechanism, zero-rated supply, Suvidha Provi, a task in the kitchen, a chore though not having any common denominator with finance (barring cooking up of figures ), would appear to be a cake walk. But pray wait a minute, Sir and Ma’am! And lend me your ears.

Being a crossword and thesaurus buff, the wife rattled off collocated words for effect, “If you can, without creating chaos, confusion and commotion, brew a cup of hot, authentic, aromatic, frothing, filter coffee that would not taste like dishwater, but instead would make me sit up as if someone had lit up a thousand LCD bulbs inside me, I will clap, praise, acclaim, applaud, laud, eulogise, extol, high-five with you and post it on Facebook with a coloured mugshot of yours, with a minimum guarantee (like the producer promises of a Rajini’s forthcoming film) of 200 likes, 40 comments and 10 shares.”

Jump-cutting to the kitchen, I gingerly stepped into it early morning, my eye lids stuck together, like two currencies. The wife was still enjoying her pre-dawn pet snooze in the arctic air conditioned comfort. When I switched on the light, a cockroach with its twitching antennae hurriedly sought sanctuary into a crevice. An anemic lizard plastered on the tube light vanished into thin air, perhaps bamboozled  by the sight of a sturdy form of a male, instead of the wispy, sleepy, disheveled  usual. The array of vessels, the four- burner gas oven, the gas cylinder, grinder, toaster, coffee paraphernalia, fat rolling pin and such would have registered their wonderment and reacted if they were not inanimate.

Nothing will be more foolhardy than undermining even the simplest of the simple chores. 

Being an ERP-centric planner, I thought of lining up the ingredients instead of hunting for them after the process was set in motion. When I began to familiarise with  the inventory, I found the Tupperware marked ‘coffee powder’ contained chilli powder. The one marked ‘tea leaves’ had mustard, the hermetically sealed stainless jar marked ‘sugar’ (maybe to hoodwink the filching ants) contained crystals of salt.

However, thanks to my hurried prayers to the Remover of Obstacles, I  managed to prepare the boiling water in a kettle, never mind the second-degree burn collected on the right palm that looked like a brown carbuncle. 

Before long, I spooned five measures of freshly ground coffee powder into the brass filter and poured the hot water into the chamber. 
I boiled the milk without any accident, thanks to my slog in Chemistry labs, several decades back, using round-bottomed flasks, pipettes, crucibles, beakers, and Bunsen burners. A shadow seemed to be looming large over the threshold. I nearly jumped out of my skin, fearing the visit of an apparition that had escaped from a late-night ghost serial. But no, it was the wife. With the natural inquisitiveness of her ilk, she had appeared on the scene arms akimbo, a bespoke body language assumed by drill masters, head-nurses, and wives to pull up the errant. 

“What goes on, Sriman Nala, where is my Sunday-morning hot, frothing, invigorating authentic Kumbakonam cup of bed coffee?” I  blinked. “Something had gone wrong. It is more than  half an hour. The upper chamber is still full. And the bottom one is yet to collect even a single brown blob.” Curiously, she checked the filter and clapped. 
“Superb! My Nalaji, sir! The modus operandi is, the one with the perforation should be on top with coffee powder and hot water. And the other, the brew collector, at the bottom. Only then there will be percolation and collection. You had reversed their positions, and so all quiet on the Western Front. Indeed, the situation is absurd, farcical, ludicrous, risible, preposterous, silly and stupid.” I half-expected a contextual, sharper barb like a ‘filtered muff’ to spill out and dent the male ego. But mercifully, it didn’t.

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