“Why do we have to eat in a Random Restaurant everyday?” asked my friend S.
“Yes, I agree. Why don’t we cook?” I said, as I set out a stream of hysterical laughter around my room mates.
When you come out to live on your own and when there is no Hostel mess to feed you everyday as you had in College, it is hard to believe that you will be able to cook. It is actually hard to even consider cooking, never mind being able to. So the natural reaction among the gang for cooking was a simple no. Other than me and S there was no one in the crowd, who were excited about the idea of cooking.
We made a few random jokes about the new Woman training staff and made abusive remarks on the male training staff and went back to sleep.
“Anyone can cook Anyway!” said my Grandmother.
“Grandma … What are you doing here?” I tried to whisper hoping not to wake up the roomies.
Grandma: “You were talking about cooking and I thought I might help you”
Me: “But how will you? Hey wait … How do you speak English? I thought you didn’t know English!”
Grandma: “Well this is your dream and I am the figment of your imagination. So that’s how I know English. But anyway, tomorrow being a weekend why don’t you try and make Rasam and Rice. It is very simple!”
I heard Grandma talk some weird Rasam Recipe – Mix a Chameleon Juice in a Glass jar and then slice a pumpkin peel into 10 exact pieces, then cut a cactus into exactly two halves and put them all in a container. After that you pee on it.
“What! Pee on it???” That’s when I woke up and realized it was 7:30 AM and I really had to pee. We lazed around the morning reading the paper and munching some bread with Amul butter and Kissan fruit jam for breakfast. I hit the conversation with S.
Me: “So what do you think about cooking? Do you think we can really do it?”
S: “Yes definitely, I think Anyone can cook Anyway he/she wants”
It was the same words from Grandma from last night’s dream. Am I halucinating? Is the bread gone bad? I pinched myself and it pained. It wasn’t a dream.
Me: “So what are you waiting for then, let’s cook something for lunch. What do you think of Rasam and Rice?”
We set out to buy a single burner portable gas stove. It was something we could quickly buy to experiment what we were going to do. The rest of the gang spent the morning completely disinterested having no idea of what we were doing. It was like we were invisible to them. Even AS, who was food lover, wasn’t caring even a little bit about what was going on. AS can taste food very well and can be a harsh critic of food. In one bite he can quickly write off the restaurant, and so we were daring to give our food to him for feedback.
It was risky. Rasam and Rice was a very ordinary dish. He can easily reject it. But we wanted to try our best.
S: “So where shall we start first!”
Me: “We need chameleon juice”
Me: “Sorry, I think I need to pee, I feel nervous about doing this. Let me relieve myself of some tension and come back in a few min”
After few minutes we were off to chop the Tomatoes, Onions and using a vessel we mixed tamarind paste, Rasam powder and added Tomatoes to it. We realized Onion is not an ingredient of Rasam and had to keep it aside, perhaps use it as a side dish. The ready made Rasam powder that we had bought smelled very good so we kept stirring the contents for a while and then let it boil. We then added Cilantro as the final touch and let it simmer for a bit and took it off the stove finally.
Making Rice is a piece of Rice Cake. Yet we managed to over cook it a little bit and made it softer. Overall, the meal wasn’t anything brilliant. Rice and Rasam was ready. We put a small serving in a plate and gave it to AS for his review. Our limbs were trembling out of fear. This time S had to pee, we waited for him.
Here came the moment. AS took the plate from us and grabbed a nice big amounts of Rasam Rice in his right hand. He then put it in his mouth with a slurping noise and sat there stunned. The camera zoomed into his face and went through his eyes into a flash back, in which Young Boy AS was having a plate full of Rasam Rice and Chips in his home.
Young Boy AS said “I love Mom’s Rasam Rice!”
The Camera came back to the Young Man AS who said “Super da! Sign me up, I am joining the Cooking club”.
We smelled our victory in the form of a great Rasam. We won, we started cooking our own food and we never turned back. We loved the food, whatever we cooked. It was a very satisfying meal everytime.
Grandma appeared in my dream again “See I told you, Anyone can cook Anyway”