Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hitchhiker's Guide to Cooking

Fresh out of college life and trying to start living on your own, one is beset with a wide variety of problems and challenges. But every other challenge dwindles in front of the enormity posed by the challenge of cooking your own food. However easy it might sound, the reality is very different. So, for all newbies who are looking to enter into uncharted waters, here are a few tips (based on personal experience) which might stand them in the long run.
1. The most important thing to understand is that whosoever opined "Too many cooks spoil the broth" was an absolute genius.
2. The concept of learning does not hold true while cooking. You might have cooked an awesome curry yesterday. But if you try to replicate your feat , you might as well end up making a puke-inducing curry today. So, your learnings from yesterday don't really count.
3. Pressure can be a big detrimental factor. Ergo, you must know how to soak in the pressure caused by the high hopes people have from you. Promise only what you can deliver; never over-do
4. Always keep a mobile phone handy. You will need to call your mom every two minutes.
5. Knives and strippers ( i prefer calling them strippers rather than peelers) are more dangerous in real life than they actually seem. Unfortunately, they are indispensable.
6. Cooking is NOT in the genes. But, yes, if your mom is actually not so good a cook (no offence intended), then you better not try!
7. There is something called a safety-valve that comes with a pressure cooker. And btw, people have died in the past due to exploding pressure cookers.
8. When you go to shop for groceries, please remember to purchase burnol(an ointment applied to burns and scalds) as well.
9. Vegetable vendors are the smartest people around. Learn to keep them happy or you might end up eating potatoes that were meant for the municipality trucks.
10. Adding more salt than is necessary is blasphemous. A little less salt never killed anyone
11. N course meals (N=2,3,4,5...) sound very exciting and mouth watering. But that is where the excitement stops. A one course meal isn't all that bad.
12. Onions can be very harmful to your eyes. They go much beyond the spects
13. Exotic food tastes much better when eaten at a restaurant. So, why take risk?
14. Washing utensils doesn't come naturally. But, it can be learnt with practice. And, its also the safest option around. Becoming a pressure-cooker-washing-specialist can also earn you a lot of respect, awe and admiration.
14. Maintain a good relation with any one you can think of. This includes your newspaper-man, the security guard of your building, the nagging bai who does your household chores, your neighbour, your office colleague, your cab driver and anyone you can think of. Who knows; you might get a lunch/dinner invitation

Now, for those who are freshly starting out on their own in the city..err..town of Pune
1. Spencer's is a nice option to go shopping for your groceries as long as you aren't really looking to buy green vegetables.
2. No one really knows the source of water supplied in the taps at your home. Better be careful!
3. While in Pune, do what the Puneites do. Which is: sit and eat at any place you can think of. This also will save you the trouble of cooking.
4. Pune can be a really boring city if you run out of ideas(although this has got nothing to do with the cooking business)

I don't think a cooking guide of this sort can ever be complete. So, if you happen to read this, please feel free to add/append. All your suggestions are welcome. Also, if you gained anything out of it, please remember to call me home for dinner :)

26 comments:

Wins said...

Will serve us well. Thanks for your valuable contribution to the culinary sciences or arts, if you will.

NILADRI MUKHERJEE said...

nice guidelines from the principal chef himself...some special expert tips on making omlette sry exotic omlettes is missing though.

Anonymous said...

Boi! This was hilarious.
But i really can't imagine ya making anything... i mean .. is it really you?
Can you, Arunabh, like rlly do it?
Oi now ,i am dying to come to Pune and get treated :D
Shall i be treated to some home cooked stuff?
~Prachi

Manideep Gupta said...

I am a proud neighbour of our great chef aka principal sir.His home made vegetable soup was a crack !!! Needless to talk abt his crack sabzi and crack dal....and i guess enuf has been spoken abt his 'exotic omlette'....i shall reserve my comments on the omlette as i dont eat egg...

Rishi Kar said...

Well not all the rules apply to me as many might testify. I have cooked 5 course meals and since you are the principal I would like to invite u to my humble abode for a 6 course meal prepared by yours trully this tuesday.

Your humble servant,
Rishi

Anonymous said...

u may want to google "Food Recipes for dummies" or "quick and EASY food"

easy is the keyword..

-sush

Anonymous said...

a post on a topic of max relevance for a fresh pass out ..
reading the post and laughing go hand in hand ....
Anu

arunabh said...

@vineet
Sure, sure.. will specially serve you well once you pass out of iit and stat living on your own.
Keep visiting :)

@Niladri
There was a reason why i did not talk about the omelette. I do not want to sound boastful. But, i must admit, the omelettes do taste awesome :P
Keep visiting:)

@Prachi
Really, eh?
And yes, you are most welcome to come over as long as you are willing to lend me a helping hand while cooking. Btw, i am a hard core non veggie. So, you should think twice about this proposal :)
Keep visiting:)

arunabh said...

@manideep
Mani! You are an absolute cracker. I feel privileged to have a crack-pot like you for a neighbour. This would definitely count as one of the big cracks of my life. Btw, you people also crack when it comes to cooking.
Keep cracking and keep inviting;)
@Ris(h)i
I know. With someone like Niladri around, even a 10 course meal is possible. I won't comment on your exceptional cooking skills. Lets leave it for time to decide. Btw, i very humbly accept your invitation.
Your humbler servant
Arunabh

@Sush
I knew this was coming. But its not the easy part that i am really interested in. You are a fabulous cook though
Keep visiting:)

@Anu
Finally somebody is talking sense:P
Thanks and keep visiting :)

Wins said...

I was being sarcastic.

You have hardly explained anything. Please write a second part ASAP.There you should teach us,ignorant soon-to-be self-dependent IITians, how to prepare atleast one dish/meal?

Ofcourse I will keep visiting

arunabh said...

And so was i. Learn to read between the lines.
And don't worry. You would have learnt enough by the time you pass out

~Nayan~ said...

picture of mouth watering dishes and recipes please

ruchika said...

arunabh, you are mad! Stay that way :)
I never thought cooking could be so much fun. I would love to cook along with you.. that would be some entertainment :P
Brilliantly written. Absolutely brilliant!
I invite you over to Delhi for lunch/dinner/breakfast/tea whenever his highness gets free time. Take some time out for common junta, saar!
~Ruchika

Psychochan said...

lol!!! since i do enjoy cooking, i so can't see your misery, but i am thoroughly amused. I like how you have taken the effort to distill all the gyaan! good boy! and seriously, i suspect you have fallen in love with cooking, why else would u not get a cook? good going tho!! and yes, easy recipes abound, but, you must look!

Yashika Totlani said...

hehehe... poor arunabh discovering the 'joys' of staying alone. YES, cooking is tough. but i know some guys who are amazing cooks... so with some practise, you'll come in terms with this hard reality of life. i might just move out to stay on my own in a while too, so im guessing a similar fate awaits me. more additions/ammends then.

till then, suffice with a 'awesomely funny read'. you did a pretty fair version of mr.douglas adams :)
cheers!

arunabh said...

@nayan
I shall mail them to you.
Keep visiting :)
@ruchika
Oh why not? But remember, my role is restricted to fetching food items from the market, cleaning them, peeling if needed and then eating. I shall leave rest of the job to you :)
Btw, you should be in delhi more often for me to meet up with you when i land up there.
Keep visiting :)

arunabh said...

@deepti
Its not like i dislike cooking. Its actually a lot better than roaming around a boring city like Pune if you understand what i mean. But yes, there are a lot of things a novice should take care of while cooking. So thought i should share the gyaan with fellow bloggers :)
Keep visiting:)

@yashika
I am waiting for the time when i would be counted in your 'group of guys who can cook awesome food' :D
You really should move out.. you would get to live a brave new life.
And btw, thanks for that final comment. It made my day :)
Keep visiting:)

Aneesha Pillai said...

wow!! You made me nostalgic ;)Cleaning the non-scrapable kadai burns is an experience not worth missing ;)

And Pune is not a bad place...among other things I like the climate,the kolhapuri misal,durga cold coffee,the non-cosmopolitan feel,scenic Sinhagad:) I think I miss Pune :)

Metallica bhakt! said...

The basic funda about cooking is not about measurements or quantities but about creativity! :p and Pune is not that boring a place..it is THE MOST sleepy and lazy town I have ever seen!!have fun! ;) cooking,cleaning and pune-ing!

vardaan said...

This should be the bible of all starters in life arunabh :P
Its so helpful. I am not doubting the validity of your statements but could we have some pics please? :P

arunabh said...

@aneesha
Washing the kadai is some experience - point well taken :)
And please believe me, pune is a BAD place. I am very susceptible to cough and cold- so the climate isn't doing me any good. And i am not too fond of marathi food :P
keep visiting:)

@yashashri
aah finally we have someone who knows how boring a city Pune is. I cannot more agree with you about the fact that Pune is a very lazy city. There is absolutely nothing to do during a weekend. So I will definitely try to have fun cooking and cleaning. But have fun Puneing?? Help!
Keep visiting:)

@vardaan
Yes bastard! I shall mail you the pics. Infact, know what? I think i shall make a video and embed the link on you tube for detractors like you.
Till then.. remain jealous :P
Keep visiting :)

SaIk said...

feed me sometime :D

Anonymous said...

Baap re after reading all these comments, my intellect fails to produce a new one. Amazing God, you never fail to amuse me.

- Anuradha

kritzmat said...

i love this post. couldn't stop smiling the whole time.
makes me wanna move out tomrw.
the best part are those inane details actually...those explainations to anything and everything sundry. :)

Sugar&Spice said...

haha! awesome read! i can see the research thats gone into it! :)

Bhavna said...

can't believe u actually respond to each and every comment :P