I hated cooking. I had a 9 to 5 job and before leaving home, I had to slave in the kitchen for 2 hours, to make breakfast and lunch; followed by another 2 hours after work for dinner.

Cooking was a daily chore and though I got the job done, the results were lacking – the gravy was too watery, the veggies were overcooked, the pulses and dal (they should ideally be soaked over-night) were not soft enough – the food was more functional than scoring on taste. The kid used to remark that the fish curry was so watery that he may have to cast a net in to catch a piece. But we survived.

Back at my parent’s place, cooking is a regular chore for my Mom. But of late, my Dad has been stepping into the kitchen, to give Mom a hand and has taken over cooking dinner. My Mom makes breakfast and lunch as she has been doing over the years. The taste is predictable and we enjoy the meals.

Meen vevichathu (Red Fish curry)
Meen vevichathu (Red Fish curry)

But come dinner time, the food suddenly becomes special. Dad makes it a point to make a new dish every evening. The food tastes spectacular. There is always as we say “A twist in the taste”. I ask him what is his secret ? 

He says, cook with love. Cook thinking about the people who are going to eat it. Think how much you want them to enjoy the meal. Put your heart into it.

Fish biryani with neymeen (seer fish)
Fish biryani with neymeen (seer fish)

All this while, I used to only think about getting the job done, finish the cooking and scram. My family will eat whatever I make, maybe less, if they don’t like it. But the foods okay. But just okay doesn’t bring “wows”, “soooo… good” that we wish to hear.

The meal arrangement has changed in my house for the last one year. I only have to make breakfast and dinner. Kid has his lunch from the school canteen and I make do with the left-overs for lunch.

Perfect Puris !
Perfect Puris !

Cooking only two meals a day is less of a chore. My time spent in the kitchen now is only 3 hours a day – 1 hour for breakfast and 2 for dinner. Prepping takes another 3 hours in a week. Now am without the 9 to 5 job and hence there is nothing to rush to after I finish the cooking – simply enjoy the hot meal. A luxury in the working days !!

But I am careful not to, as the phrase goes – let work expand to fill my time. I am in the kitchen only for the designated time. I cook unhurried and want my family to enjoy the meal. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, just have to make sure that I give sufficient amount of time for each of the ingredients and the processes to work together. And the results are spectacular. The food is tastier.

Egg toast
Egg toast

It’s no secret, but it was revelation for me; cooking from the heart yields spectacular results.

Till next post, take care.


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