I enjoy cooking and my kitchen is like a sanctuary to me where I can totally immerse myself. But yes, there is a difference between , you "HAVE" to cook and you "WANT" to cook! When I say sanctuary its obviously the latter!
I am trying to recollect my first rendezvous with the kitchen stove! I think the target was the humble South Indian Rasam and getting rice done in the pressure cooker. Get it right and lunch is settled at a Tamil home with may be chips from the neighborhood mart!
I am a foodie too and a Vegetarian one at that! I do get very annoyed at stand up comedy shows and online jokes depicting vegetarians and vegetarianism in the wrong light and expect us to take it lightly! Vegetarians sometimes get compared to herbivore animals and that we eat only grass !! If you do not enjoy vegetarian food, it means that you have no clue how to cook vegetarian ! Period.
My grandmother could whip up the tastiest meal sans onion, garlic and a whole lot of other things that are considered a basic ingredient in many kitchens! And I am really tired of seeing jokes about Veg Biriyani not being a biriyani! The right cook can make a curd rice taste more heavenly!
We used to buy some women's magazines regularly before internet and you tube became known to mankind. It would have recipes, kitchen tips and a whole lot of other cooking related info. My mother would religiously cut out clippings and get them bound together at our neighborhood press.
There would be times when the published recipe would be just a replica of something common in every household with may be a fancy name and probably a new ingredient. Like "Steamed Tamil Rice Delight" for idly (there would be a cashew nut on top to make a difference though!) or "Sautéed potatoes in Rice Lentil Crepes" for the Masala Dosa!
My mother often proved in words and action that a good cook not only cooks well but can do something about a recipe that went haywire and transform it to something more interesting....Repair talks more about the art!
When we cook something for the first time we do expect comments, feedback and usually praise. (Remember to appreciate those cooking for you!)
But sometimes the word of appreciation would be from a loved one saying it purely to make you feel good!
The yardstick that I usually rely upon is "Second Helping". Its proof that the food is palatable , tasty and giving pleasure to the soul consuming it or at the very least falls into the "pass mark" category!
"Can I have some more?" says a lot more than "This is quite good!" . The latter can often result in a disappointment when you ask "Would you like some more?" and they politely decline with a "No, I am good. Thanks!"
If a particular dish gets finished soon , it means its good! At the dinner table Empty vessels at the end of the meal do make a lot of happy loud noise!
Of course when it comes to being critical ones kids are masters. Plus and minus points they give are spontaneous and accurate too. When they say "Ma, this is so good " or when they utter "I don't want this!" they are being truthful! They are ruthless in criticism and unconditional in showering love!!
I cannot brag that I am a cook well though I love the art! That won't be right. If you visit me and ask for a second helping both you and I will know!