The Masterchef Diaries

Statement 1: I love good food.
Statement 2: I love watching food shows on TV.
Statement 3: I love eating.
Statement 4: I love Nigella and her gorgeous bites.

Pray, which of these above statements points to the conclusion that I love cooking? None, in my opinion. Which explains why God decided to play a cruel joke on me, by putting me in charge of the kitchen for two whole months.

Two whole months.

I have, or rather my family has, come to terms with this twist of fate and has left me to my whims and fancies. While all that is cool, I learn, as usual, the hard way, that cooking is no easy task. No. It is not easy, especially when you have an audience to please, and particularly when the audience is your doting Dad. 

Anyone who gives me the "You are 23, will get married soon and manage the whole household" dialogue gets a Parantha made by me. (You have no idea what you just asked for. Believe me.) 

I know. This happens the first time you handle the kitchen. So its okay. But, just to be on the safe side, here are some tips for the other innocent souls like me, who have been thrown into the hell's kitchen.

TIP 1 - The Audience's Face is a dead giveaway.
If you really wish to gauge the quality of your cooking, you'll have to concentrate on the face of the audience for the first few split seconds of the meal. What to look out for:
  • The Ugh-What-Was-That-But-I-Still-Love-You Look
  • The-Smile-Is-Getting-Tougher-To-Maintain Look
  • The You-Tried-So-I-Love-You Look
  • The Sorry-I-Am-Trying-But-The-Smile-Is-Fading-On-Its-Own Look
  • The I-Am-Proud-Of-You-But Look
  • The Lord-Please-Forgive-Her Look
  • The But-This-Is-Still-Better-Than-Previous-Time Look
And so on. If you receive any of these looks, conveniently shift to the I-Am-Fasting-Today look and don't try eating anything you made.

TIP 2 - Don't Judge a Book by its Cover, and Don't Judge food by its Garnish.
Anything that has been painstakingly made to look good, is probably just an illusion and a cover-up, even if you did it yourself. If your heart is telling you to add that sumptuous looking Coriander leaf or grated almonds on top, your mind probably knows for sure that you forgot to put in the salt or some other key ingredient. Its the heart-mind game here too!

TIP 3 - If someone says its easy, take it for granted, it isn't.
Case in point being Parantha/Chappatis/Rotis. I am an innocent girl, you know? So when my Mum told me on the phone that this was easy to make, I believed her. An hour later, my Dad (an unwilling participant), and I were in the kitchen, in a boxing match with the dough, making the weirdest shapes that we never managed to  peel off the rolling pan. The ones that we pulled off were thick and hence good for use as a shield while fighting. My Dad is a gracious man. He said they were good for a first attempt. Sniff.

TIP 4 - If you feel a sudden urge to cook something really good, lie low. Order in.
Secret missions of the order of US Army's Osama-Killing Operation, to make something nice without others getting to know, usually end up in disasters. Just order in and act like you made it. What? You have never lied before? Jesus!

TIP 5 - Stick to basics.
You'll learn it the hard way that everyday cannot be Pasta night, or Dum Aloo, Pulao night, or Au-gratin and Cheese fondue night. That day you'll thank God for the simple, yet appetising Dal and Aloo Fry.

There. I have spelt it out for all you amateurs out there. That said, cooking can be fun *at times*. Just remember to cherish those few times.

Signing out,


  1. Cooking!!!..Damn, it's one of the toughest jobs. I learnt that the hard way too. I also totally and completely hate the dialogue, "You are 23, will get married soon and manage the whole household." What is the connection between 23 years and marriage??

    And yes, I agree with you that making round, thin and non-burnt chapattis/paranthas/rotis is no easy task and not to be taken for granted.

  2. @Aastha: Good you agree with me! We should form a club. I graciously offer to be president! :D

  3. Haha...I so have to agree about how when everyone else says its easy and it JUST ISN'T!

  4. Hail MasterChef! We need pics pls :P :P

  5. YEs as swaram said Pics and also the recipes tooo :) jaldi jaldi


  6. Your rotis could be used as a shield while fighting! :D I've never tried but it seems very easy to me. :)

  7. @Ramya: Haina? I don't get why people do that. I mean, I can make good ppts, but I dont go around telling people its easy to do! :D

  8. @Swaram and Bikram: Aiyyo! Pics I have. Seriously. But better I don't post them here. Bachche dar jayenge! :D :D

  9. @Ajay: Exactly this attitude will not work. It is NOT easy. Okay? :D

  10. At the age of twenty four I still cannot make a round roti:(...and still life goes on:D

  11. @Raksha: At the "tender" age of 24, Raksha. Don't think you are old! :D
    24 is hardly anything! :D

  12. He he he :-) I didn't learn to cook until I was 29!!! You're doing extremely well :-)

  13. I would like to see pics ;-)

    Oh, and I found the best solution as soon as I got married - I hired a cook ;-) Believe me, it saves a lot of trouble...and money on hospital bills!

    PS. Your coriander-garnish comment reminded me I had forgotten to add salt in today's curry. Off I go!

  14. @WriterzBlock: Heh. Thanks! :)
    You have to taste my cooking once, you know. Might change your opinion a wee bit! :D

  15. @Chindi: I can see myself doing that when I get married! :)
    Pictures, like I said in my post, will obviously look good! Its the taste that'll scare you! ;))

    Lol @ your PS! :D

  16. :)) Yeah having smiley faces while eating isn't easy as much as cooking isn't easy..Poor dad.. ;;)

  17. hahahaha...i can cook everything else, but the "oh-its-so-easy" chappatis!!! they're horrible, horrible things! :D

  18. Maggi noodles, boiled eggs, french toast, butter toast, tea/coffee - Zindabad!

  19. one more connection both of us share!
    I cant cook to save my life. Especially liked your first tip and all the "looks" :D
    O by the way, I make awesome tea and coffee ;)

  20. @Cottoncandy: Your sympathies are on the wrong side! :D
    Welcome here! :)

  21. @Scorpia: Wow! You can coook everything? That's nice. Sniff. Help me out, no? :((

  22. @Roshmi: I wish. I so wish I could do this everyday! Life would be so simple! :D

  23. @S: :) :)
    We have quite a few similarities! :)
    But most glad to find company on this one! :D
    Arrey tea, coffee I can also make. Good or bad I dunno, because I drink neither! ;)

  24. Meh you are only 23? I turned 25 last month and I feel like your grandmom!

    Regarding this post.. where are your feet? Truer words were never spoken. Especially Tip 3. Rotis/chapatis are the TOUGHEST to make. It's bleddy hard to get that right. I don't think I will ever succeed ..

    And everytime people say its so easy, I find myself struggling with it. I don't know why they say that.. just to make me feel worse I suppose.

  25. Hehehe! I can never 'want' to cook I feel! There are some things I know I am pretty good at, so I might as well repeat those than experiment :P
    Anyhow, no more cooking for 2 years now right? Man, wouldn't u wish for some basic home food when you're in campus! Though B-school food is usually decent :)
    Oh, and when I was 23, I had been working for a year after B-school, so cooking was a necessity :(

  26. @Pepper: Heh. You said 25 like you turned 30! :D

    *The Masterchef Blesses You*
    Glad you agree about Rotis! Yesterday, a friend showed me pics of her 3 year niece making rotis for fun. Absolute perfect round rotis. Of course, needless to say, they all laughed at me and compared me to her! :D

  27. @DI: Yeah. I learnt that too. Stay safe, cook what you know!

    Let's see what the next 2 years bring. For all you know, I'll forget what little bit of cooking that I barely managed to learn! So, when I actually do get married, I'll need to marry a cook for survival! :D

  28. My mom was a evil, me thinks. There was no help at home, which meant everytime we had guests over we were called over to help. First it was Bhaiya and then when he went way to college it was my turn :|

    The end result was I picked up this cooking thing without anyone teaching me. hmph

  29. LOL... All the looks that you described are so so true and simply funny... loved it

    Thankfully I liked cooking so I used to stand by my mom's side as a kid when she used to cook and so it wasn't that difficult... But that does not means I never got those looks during my initial attempts... ;)

  30. @Comfy: :|
    Atleast you ended up becoming a good cook! :)

  31. @Tan: :D
    Those looks are quite precious, if you think about it! :) I am very sure you are a good cook. Still remember the pics of the cutlets and spring rolls you put up on your blog! :)


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