Having been brought up by a wonderful mother whose organisation was super-efficient and energy boundless, my only forays into the kitchen for 30 years were to occasionally wash the dishes. And even marriage did not really worry me in this regard as Amy turned out to be quite an excellent cook. I may have actually wandered through my entire life without being given the 'privilege' of cooking had it not been for Amy's exams. Seeing her multi-tasking to the nth degree, what with the taxing work, the regular (and tiring) duties, the running of the house as well as the cooking, I suddenly offered one day to take over the role of chief chef. I still don't know what got into me, but I guess even my impervious and lazy self were suddenly goaded into action for a split second!! Amy of course would have none of it, whether for consideration for me or preservation of her stomach, I know not!! However, once I had put the idea out there, I had to follow it up or risk being considered a wus and so I kept at it until she agreed. And so began my infantile steps into the kitchen arena.
It turns out that cooking is not as easy as riding a bicycle. And unlike riding a bicycle, one does not remember for life what one has supposedly already learnt. This is evidenced by the fact that even after having prepared sambhar of all different textures and tastes for the last year or so, I still need to refer to the recipe before I begin, during the procedure and even after completion, to see what I have missed out or added too much of!! (Fortunately, that does not happen for my surgeries!!). In fact, the only dish that I am safely able to cook without a recipe book is rice, as the mantra of double the amount of water has finally sunk in after a few weeks of either burnt (bet you didn't know that rice could be burnt - trust me, I speak from experience) or overcooked (which means it comes out in the form of a mushy pudding!) specimens.
Amy is the most encouraging guinea pig - I have yet to hear a complaint about the bill of fare, but I do notice the enormous amounts of salt, pickle and sometimes tomato ketchup that are required to douse the natural taste of what appears on the plate!! The unvarying monotony has also remained, very kindly unmentioned!! Having discovered very early in the experiment that making sambhar meant that I could dump all the vegetables in the concoction and eliminate the need to cook a separate vegetable dish, our daily ration is one helping of rice with a liberal helping of watery sambhar and pappadam - another easy dish to prepare ;-). The sambhar is deliberately watery as I learnt quite early that the more water you put in, the longer it lasts!! And as the most difficult part of cooking is actually rousing yourself from bed after a long days work and entering the kitchen, it makes sense to reduce the frequency of such ordeals by increasing the volume cooked at each sitting!! I have identified a shop that sells tinned sardines and so, when the need for meat becomes too strong to be disregarded, we open a tin and Amy makes loving noises of enjoyment and satisfaction and pretends that sardines in brine are the ultimate non-vegetarian culinary delight on the face of the planet!!
Basically, it all comes down to the fact that being with Amy is an absolutely amazing experience. Even an arduous task like cooking, that I would never have dreamed of attempting in my entire lifetime becomes a joy in the context of our relationship. No one could ask for more....