The Reluctant Chef

The world’s worst kept secret is that I am the world’s worst cook. Let me change that. I was the world’s worst cook. But things have changed now. Rather drastically. Much to the horror of the folks around me, and the kind residents of the house who sit down, trembling, at every meal wondering what horror awaits their tastebuds. Now, as the affirmation goes and I repeat loudly, everyday in everyway, I am getting better and better.

Now to some history as to why I hated cooking. For one, I would rather be the one doing the eating than the cooking. Cooking to me, implied a total waste of time which could be more fruitfully spent doing other, more vital and exciting things, such as cut my corns and navel gaze, for one. For another, the mother is a fabulous cook and spent every Sunday and festival cooped in the kitchen, cooking for the hordes of stray relatives, friends and acquaintances who would inevitably descend to partake of good food and alcohol courtesy the generous and sociable pater, and I do remember when the pater passed away the same people immendiately made us social pariahs for whatever their reason. Nonetheless, to get back on track, I swore then and there never to be a good cook so no one would expect me to get into the kitchen and slave for them.

The child has changed my decision. He looks at me wistfully and asks if I can rustle up some random dish. I say no firmly. He looks mournfully into the distance and then calls the mater, “Nana, can you make this for me.” The heart wrings. The small still voice of conscience calls me a cruel, uncaring mother. The hand goes to the optical mouse to google up said recipe and the ingredients assembled. The cook looks at me with shock. “Bhabhi bana rahe hai?” she asks, her eyes round with wonder. I suspect she contemplates selling ringside tickets to this miraculous phenomenon.  I watch cookery shows in order to pick up the little tips they might dish out in order to make a dish edible. I trawl through the internet to pick up recipes for the day, and reach home going through the refrigerator to decide what ingredients I have and what I could conjure up.

So far, touchwood, no one has keeled over with a stomach ache, or had to douse their tongue with a fire hydrant. I could kind of get used to this. Cook one dish a day. How difficult can that be? Especially since I have someone to clean and chop and do the basics. It actually means I have to put that recipe book down, and raise my rather sizeable butt and get into the kitchen. And then it means figuring out how much salt I should not chuck into a meal in order to keep it edible. It also means knowing when to put the flame on simmer unless I want to play tribals and place burnt offerings before the lord and master.

So anyway, this my new year’s resolution, a little in advance of the new year. To learn how to be an average cook who can rustle up an edible meal and occasionally whip up a surprise dish to knock everyone’s socks off. Wish me luck and send in easy peasy recipes. Remember my boredom threshold when it comes to cooking is approximately 20 minutes. If a dish isnt cooked by then, it should be abandoned to its fate.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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10 Responses to The Reluctant Chef

  1. Ruchira says:

    All the best Kiran ! Shall I tell you a little secret – this is my resolution too ! to enter the kitchen and at least find out where the pots and pans and knives are stored 🙂


  2. R's Mom says:

    Sahi!!! all the best..and you will start enjoying to cook 🙂


  3. Shilpa says:

    Cooking is FUN & THERAPEUTIC too..!! Go for it….:)


  4. Anu says:

    Dear Kiran

    All the best. To fingerlickin days ahead




  5. dipali says:

    I can see you morph into a magnificent cook in next to no time!!!!
    Krish’s encouragement and your determination will get you there:)


  6. Kiran Manral says:

    Hey, thanks all. So far, I am enjoying the journey. All it needs as I can see, is a bit of planning out the menu.


  7. vaidegi j says:

    🙂 so the first few tetnative steps have been very fruitful! now no looking back i guess. have realised myself after all these years of i-have-to-and-hence-i-do status to ok-it-aint-all-that-bad status! but i love dabbling in baking and some exotic dishes, and need to do it if at all i need to stick to regular cooking. so expand your horizons, and best wishes!!


  8. chandni says:

    I am sure u’ll rock it, like everything you do 🙂


  9. Pallavi says:

    Ever watched Julie and Julia? I hate cooking too, but I loved the movie. It’s on the same lines–cooking one dish a day–perseverance.


  10. Hi, like you I must also figure prominently on the “least inclined to cook” list. Am 8 months pregnant now and the thought that my child will miss out on everyone’s favorite “food cooked by mummy” has already crossed my mind once or twice 🙂 Hopefully when the time comes I’ll also be spurred into action like you.

    And best of luck with your resolution 🙂


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