Buying overpriced groceries from faraway lands is a sure-fire way of snapping out of a funk, I have found. There’s nothing like a little Manchego cheese, chia seeds, or tarragon vinegar to perk up one’s mood. Hopefully the husband will find use for the vinegar one day because I rarely cook.
Of course I dutifully recounted the recipe for chicken with shallots, tomatoes and tarragon vinegar that I had read the previous night. But the husband was too busy whizzing around some 5-minute gourmet fried chicken in a pan to pay any attention. He had forgotten to put Babyjaan’s regular dinner into the oven despite a reminder. You see, I’m the reminding, purchasing, organizing, theorizing half. He just peers into the fridge, scratches his head and conjures up a feast.
When we did a world trip through a dozen countries a few years ago, I shopped for chillies in every single place we visited. The husband didn’t understand the point. He may be the end user, but I’m the one who makes the effort to buy the most sweet-smelling olive oils and vinegars every time we visit Italy or Spain. He’s crabby about the extra weight until the bottles are within arm’s reach in his kitchen. Yes it is firmly his kitchen—though it was me who painted the ceiling orange.
I’m the one who gets excited when BBC Good Food magazine tells me where I can order the gleaming stainless steel mezzaluna I’ve watched Nigella Lawson use so often. That would look great on the husband, I think wistfully. In fact, I’m the one who subscribes to the magazine, joins all the Facebook foodie groups, and lusts after the Tunisian Hand-Painted Fresco Tagine at Williams-Sonoma. I rush out and buy the latest Ritu Dalmia book and happily plan Saturday morning fish-shopping dates at Bangalore’s historic Russell Market. Left to the husband, he would just ask his mother to order fish over the phone.
I find it extremely irritating when someone scrunches up their face and says, “You don’t eat pork?” Yes but I buy it. And I know how to store it. And I read recipes about it. And I know the best places to go to eat it. What else can you do besides eat meat, I want to ask the offender.
So what if I can’t cook? I can watch Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain non-stop. Thanks to the Nigella repeats on TLC, many of her recipes are imprinted in my memory. One day I might even try one.
This week I actually experimented, albeit accidentally. I added extra butter to the pan when I was making Babyjaan’s fried egg; so much that there was a yellow pool on the plate when I took the egg off the fire. I quickly mopped up the melted butter with a tissue and handed her the egg. She had her first bite, looked suspiciously at it, then told me: “It tastes yum.” I could have cried with relief.
You could say I’m all theory and barely any action.
But so what if I can’t cook? I can inspire women to marry a man who cooks. One kind soul on Twitter actually told me that.