How Good are your cooking skills?
I am not that sort of person to ask such question, but just for my curiosity can you answer this question. When you are answering it, you must be going through all the compliments that you have received for your food so far. Compliments on how delicious that particular dish was, how mouth-watering your gravy was on that day, how yummy that cake looked which you made on your kid’s birthday…. Did any of compliments mentioned, how great you cook in comparison to a restaurant/hotel?
A guy in my office, who basically is of European origin, asked me in a very serious tone, “Can I ask you a question about what an Indian guy said to me one time?
Me: yeah, sure.
We were at the lunch table, eating and talking about various cultures when suddenly he asked me this question. By the way, he is a great cook, at least that’s what he claims. I have yet to find proof of his claim.
He: Once I had an Indian friend over at my place for dinner, and about my food, he said to me, “It tastes just like restaurant food”.
He: why did he say such a thing? I just don’t understand, was he trying to insult my food?
That was the time I laugh so hard that I almost choked on my food. All of us present on the table were laughing, except my European friend.
He: and, while he was insulting my food, he was smiling and nodding his head, like it was an acceptable thing to say.
Me: (still laughing) don’t worry, treat it as the highest compliment for your food. He was complimenting your food, not insulting it.
He: but, who compares home-cooked meal to a hotel food. Home cooked is special. I put so much effort into it. It was not at all comparable with a hotel food.
Before our laugh riot could go further, I felt the need to explain.
We(Indians) usually eat homemade food, daily. Occasionally we go to restaurants and order something special. Unlike, most of the people here, who eat outside food daily, and cook at home seldom.
For you, cooking at home is special, as you do it rarely, with family. When you are cooking, your whole family is cooking with you in the kitchen. It is a family celebration. It is special. For us, when we cook, we (woman) cook alone in our kitchen; and most of the time, it is a mundane daily activity for us. But, when we go outside to eat; our whole family goes together to eat and enjoy. That is special for us.
When you are doing something daily, even when it is an important work; with time it loses its importance. We take the breath every second of our life, but we value it when we have to struggle to take it. Food that we are cooking and eating daily loses its charm after a while, but we realize love and effort put into it, once we don’t have that luxury of eating a home-cooked meal. We appreciate only those things which are hard to get.
After talking to him, I realized how important that food is which I am making with my own hands. It has care and love in it. It is special. It can never be like a hotel food.
Now, my husband needs to find a better compliment than saying, “oh, this tastes so good, just like a restaurant.”