Perfect Moments

I call myself, the chef-on-the-run. No, I’m not a professional chef I’m a home cook! Do I get a kick out of calling myself a chef…No, I get a kick out of calling myself a chef on the run! I love to cook and when I’m cooking I prefer to be alone in the kitchen. If anyone wants to hang out with me they’ll have to listen to the music/songs I’m listening to or hear me singing or watch whatever it is I’m watching, spasmodically. I can make a few comments…crack a joke or two…but I just don’t do chatter, gossip, or grumble when I cook. There have been times I’ve had some company that I had to tolerate…but fortunately, those times have been rare. I get to decide, in the kitchen, how much conversation is enough, and what topic is discussed. Happy, witty, humorous is always more welcome. But all said and done I’m happiest working in my kitchen alone. Those are perfect moments for me.

Mornings usually see me in a rush. I have deadlines to meet…and not only in the kitchen. Diet restrictions to adhere to for the chef herself, two little girls, and/or anyone else in the house. Add to that the challenge to not get boring with repetitive meals. I need to be alone and not disturbed.

These days, however, I have umpteen interruptions. Many conversations that run from ‘serious’ concerns to funny, silly singing. There are little dance sessions or calisthenics…and through all this I juggle with spoons, forks, ladles, frying, sauteing, boiling, chopping, grating, whisking…but thankfully not burning anything…yet! And do I hate it? Do I get upset by it? Do I chase out the interrupters? My answer is an emphatic  – No!

Some days back, I had to make a yakhni for a Chicken Yakhni Pulao, boil & peel baby potatoes to make a herb potato vegetable dish, and there was cucumber to be grated and squeezed of extra juices to make a yogurt based relish. This meant grinding some things, tempering too and cutting the chicken to the right size. Not much if one starts working in time. Remember, I work with deadlines. But, I didn’t start in time! That meant – absolutely no interruptions.

So, in keeping with Murphy’s Law, I had an extra dose of them!

This pic will bear testament to what was happening…I was cutting onions into a pot on the fire…at least, I thought I was, my eyes weren’t on what I was doing.

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I was totally involved with a serious job of “putting the babies to sleep!”…listening and commenting on reports of “babies making stinky poo,” and  on “changing babies’ diapers.” Then there was the question of whether to apply “vaseline,” or “oil!” One advocated vaseline and the other oil. This is just an example of one interruption. There were many more of those. But you have to pay attention when two-year-old, actually 27 mths, girls ask you for advice! Or want you to approve of what they’re doing…especially with their babies! And trust me, it takes some time to answer the same questions twice and answer twice you must!

I wouldn’t have it any other way. These are the perfect moments of my day. These interruptions are actually memories in the making. Precious memories I wouldn’t have if I didn’t allow some onions to fall outside the pot, or turn off the fire to pick up two little, curious girls to show them what was cooking. To allow them to touch and smell or taste what I was cutting. To answer their queries patiently. And play hide-and-seek every time one calls out, “Where is Amaara?” Or “Where is Miraaya?” Or doing a hop, skip, and jump to some rhyme…even becoming the “Fi, Fie, Fo Fum” monster who wants to eat someone’s “tum-tum.” Let the deadline hang over my head…let the half chopped veggies lie on the board…let the broccoli steam a bit more (I’ll puree it for soup) I must go stomping after two little, squealing girls to devour their tum-tums!

But the deadlines threaten! I ask the twins for respite…no, I beg for respite and “two minutes” of rest. They permit it repeating after me, “two minutes rest. Dada’s tired,” to stress the time limit. Sure enough, they’re back again. However, I’ve managed to do quite a bit in those ‘two minutes’ which were actually thirty minutes! Thank god they have no sense of time as yet and can’t read a clock! This time, they open the lower cupboards and forage for strainers. They know exactly which cupboard, of the two, and which shelf they’d find them. Soon, I had two “astronauts” strutting about in my kitchen, ready to take-off to the moon. I facilitated ‘take-off’ and they zoomed off to the moon. If I thought I had bought a significant amount of time with that, I couldn’t be more wrong. Both were back in a split second.

“What now?” I ask.

“Dada, make you a Super Baby,” demanded Amu.

“Mia also,” the other one quips.

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I heave a sigh, walk out of the kitchen to get those ‘SUPER’ stickers that would change my babies into ‘Super Babies’ so they could fly to the moon! Three small circles of red, blue, and yellow do their magic and they zoom off again. I hoped they’d stay on the moon for the day…in vain!

One came zooming back shouting that she didn’t want to go to the moon. So I asked her where she wanted to go.

“You want to go to Jupiter,” she announced seriously.

So, I agreed that was a good choice and sent her off to Jupiter. If you’re wondering about their knowledge of planets…thanks to Bob the Train and his planet adventures on youtube!

Finally, I was free to finish off with the cooking and all that was left to do was clean up. But I shouldn’t have bothered. The space travellers returned without their astronaut headgear and I ordered them out as I wanted to clean up. They dashed out. That was fast. I was impressed. I should have known better…

They were back in a jiffy with their brooms (their mom had bought them the whole cleaning paraphernalia – brooms, mops, the floor brush etc to keep them away from the big ones :D) and quickly identified the dirty areas.

“Here, let’s clean up the floor.” Mia takes control.

“Yes, let’s clean up,” echoes Amu.

“Amu, there’s a carrot,” Mia directs her.

“You cleaning a leaf,” replies Amu intent on a piece of spinach. They usually use “you” when they mean “I.”

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I grab my phone and click a pic! My work was done for now. The floor was never my job anyway…the cleaning woman was in the house!

Grand-daughters are such a delight!

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