Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cooking as a ‘man – hobby’

Cooking as a ‘man – hobby’

Hobby is something you enjoy. I do not do it for money….. just for the sheer fun of it. 

Cooking by a man, least of all by someone doing surgery is not the ‘done thing’ in India!

I used to make deserts for my boys when they were little as my wife had an evening clinic. I had plenty of time in the evenings… so the boys not only enjoyed the bread pudding, making chocolates with nuts, jellys, but also learnt table manners at home.

We had a book of table etiquette for the armed forces. Pravin, Mervyn and I used to read this together… we learnt how to lay the table, which spoon goes where,who sits where, etc.

Now my boys have grown up to fine men and we still talk about those times. I nearly choked when my son Mervyn now abroad wanted the phone to be passed from my wife so that he could get my bread pudding recipie for a guest!

So cooking improves family ties first of all. My boys are game for washing up after a meal- so the manners are easy.

When I resided in Chennai for a few years, away from my family, my resolve, as a novice, was to cook all on my own and that I would never venture out for food as a necessity.

So armed with cook book donated by the author Renuka Rajkumar my cousin, I ventured into the unknown.

My wife Neena donated an entire kitchen. My sister in law Lalitha donated her mixie. My close friends chipped in with bits and bobs whenever needed.

Cooking can be traditional sticking to the rules and regulations. But once you get the hang of the usual stuff, you tend to delve deeper.

 Like for instance, making dosas from the ready made flour was not good enough for me. I started grind the dough for idlies and dosa on twice a week basis.. which most housewives abhor.

Then graduated to Appams starting from the making the doughs as ingredients, different types of murukkus; then from Tamilian to Kerala Cooking!- to Goan Cooking; from Biriyani ( fresh made ingredients) to Chinese cooking. Google and hours of desperate  phone calls to my sister, cook friends, old classmates  helped!

From the regular to high protein, low calorie cooking…. From frying to grilling fish, chicken . And this helped my patients who understood me better while talking of food in obesity. After all obesity surgery is close to my heart, and food with exercise forms  the main chunk of advice before and after obesity ( bariatric ) surgery.

Once I returned to Coimbatore and got involved with our own hospital, there has not been much spare time. But we have an excellent maid who would cook as you tell her. 

Though those who know me well accept my interest in cooking. It creates a controversial curiosity  in those who  do not know me well.

The average Tamilian woman thinks it is below the dignity of a man to cook on his own! Most Tamilian men believe this!!

I have learnt plenty  in cooking, which I apply in life
  • ·         Patience
  • ·        Breaking tradition
  • ·        Learn to ask for help or advice
  • ·        Everyone can teach you something you do not know
  • ·        Staying healthy
  • ·        Never anyone tell you what you can and what you cannot do!
  • ·        All of us have a good cook in us trying to get out!
  • ·        Most important of all, – First ask’ “Why?” and then, “Why not?”..... This makes life and cooking   a great combination!