Lately, I’ve taken up cooking. I thought it was time to move beyond boiling eggs, toasting bread and making tea and listing these as cooking achievements when asked about what I can cook. Cooking is fun, but it needs your full concentration. One of the things I’ve learnt is that multi-tasking while cooking can be really really dangerous. There have been multiple times when I’ve completely forgotten about what I was trying to do in the kitchen only to be rewarded with a burnt smell after an hour. I won’t lie here. I’ve probably burned food more times that I’ve cooked it correctly.
Incident 1: I tried boiling fish and I forgot about it. After a while, there was a grey smoke emanating from the kitchen and I got the biggest fright of my life. The fish and the pan were both long-gone, but along with that my apartment’s air was also gone. Now in a place like Delhi, we don’t really need to add more junk to the air. It took more than two days for the lingering smell to completely vanish.
Incident 2: This is more of several incidents of similar nature combined into a comprehensive debacle. The theme of these incidents is the pressure cooker. Yes, it makes our life much much simpler by cooking food surprisingly quickly. But, if you forget about food being cooked in it and go in for a bath, you’ll spend most of the day scraping the black tar from the insides of the pressure cooker. Also, don’t get on a really long phone-call and shut your room door to avoid being disturbed by the pressure cooker whistles. That’s not being very smart.
Warning: Watch out when the whistles start getting quicker and shorter! That means the water’s probably dried up inside.
Incident 3: Here, we come to another life-changing kitchen invention – the microwave. Now, this can get really scary. Whenever I realize I left something in the microwave for too long, I’m always scared to even go near the heating appliance, because I’m worried it’s going to explode in my face. So, I mostly just jump near it, switch it off and run back again till it’s safe to open it and face the burn.
Others: These are more of some very unproductive habits: leaving the water filter on to find a puddle in the kitchen after an hour, refusing to throw out that one sauce which has occupied a permanent spot in your fridge and peeling fruits or vegetables using the wrong knives and eventually cutting yourself.
My eventual point is that mindfulness in the kitchen is very important. I know we’re all aiming to become multi-tasking superheroes, but trying to save time by taking shortcuts in the kitchen often leads to way more trouble. So, now if I try to cook, I also try to make myself sit still for those 15-20 mins when I don’t really need to do anything physically, but I need to wait for something to be boiled/baked/cooked. It’s better to be safe than sorry after all. Also, its pretty embarrassing having to explain “What is that burning smell?” to your family or friends, and pretending like you can’t get any smell.