Cooking, as almost any other skill, is one that has to be understood and learnt. For all these years of my life, the very word itself managed to increase my heart beats and put me in a fix most of the times. Independent living also managed to take me as far being able to cook the world-famous maggi without actually burning it and ofcourse the I-need-it-to-survive-drink, coffee!

Of late, however, necessity arising out of erratic schedules, lack of food provisions and a few other factors have compelled me to take up ‘cooking’ that goes beyond the ready-to -make/eat’ stuff! The initial fear and nervousness were prominent, as is the case with anything new one tries! From taking ages to fine chop vegetables, to trying to remember which ingredient falls where and when, to being scared of being scarred by the hot oil, to being afraid of making a total mess of things, I’ve managed to reach a point of smooth and clean execution. Now when I’m trying to make something, I realize that each dish is essentially has it’s own identity. The way you handle the vegetables, pulses or grains that go into it, or tempering with the amount of spices and flavours you want to give to it, each dish is so personal!

When the gravy is bubbling and simmering on the stove, try sniffing it sometimes; all the flavours and each of the ingredients make their presence felt! Be it salt, turmeric, the uber desi garam masala or just any other masala, you can feel their presence in the steam that’s rising above the vessel.  Each dish is also completely in your hands until it’s ready. You give it the direction you want to! You want something a little more spicy today or you’re in the mood for a tangy flavour, it’s all right in your hands!

And when you do finally sit down to eat, all those tastes and flavours that you’ve been adding, tumble together to form their own new identity. Unless there is an imbalance, it often becomes difficult to be able to segregate the presence of any one ingredient once they have fused. They become so elusive, the flavour dances on your tongue and you feel you know what it is, but by the time your brain makes the association, the clue is gone and you sit there thinking ‘but I almost knew it’!

Cooking is a joy I have newly discovered and it’s most definitely is an art! It is hard to be a disastrous cook if you’ve been able to attune yourself with the different flavours. One can’t really have rulebooks and textbooks for this, you really have to feel, smell and taste your way through it!

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