Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Onerous Task Of Consuming My Own

This evening, when I came home at the end of the day, I found The Spouse had retired for the day early but had left the food out on the table for me, along with a samosa from somewhere. These little bits on the side are making their way to our table with alarming frequency. I ate, dipping the samosa in the mango-drumstick dal I'd made yesterday, enjoying my first experience ever of samosa soaking up thin and tangy dal. But then, not only is it disheartening to have three different kinds of home-made dishes go virtually uneaten, it's worse to have to eat it steadily every day and night till it finishes so that you can make something more interesting the next time you have to cook. Especially when your own cooking has begun to bore you with the unfailing regularity of a ... {clever comparison to be added later, whenever it occurs}

I could give it off to S, the lady who helps me at home, but she also doesn't seem very enthused by my cooking. Moreover, she laughs at my having a cookbook constantly by my side.
I could give it to an uncle but he either doesn't like "squishy vegetables" or has already got an invitation for the day.
I could employ a cook, but that's an experiment I've tried with mixed success - The Spouse enjoyed the food, I didn't really care, and we had loads and loads of leftovers. I was relieved when she quit for her own reasons.
I wouldn't cook at all but get a dabba delivered instead, which would make our meals infinitely interesting, and this blog very, very finitely appealing.

Sometimes I can't bring myself to eat the things I've made (and even put up on this blog - but that was because somebody or the other liked it). A lot of people I know would love to have someone else cook for them. "Doesn't matter if it isn't tasty, it's enough that it's not mine," is how we feel. How do all of you retain interest in your own cooking?

35 comments:

  1. Sra, when I had somebody who was cooking for us I could not wait for the weekend to come around to cook my own. Now that I do my own every single day there are definitely days that I wished someone else can cook. It is a logistic nightmare to get out to eat on weekends, so I tolerate my cooking. I wish I had family near by!

    I know I have not helped you but thanks for the chance.

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  2. I hate my daily cooking. the regular things. Only enjoy when i experiment & do something different, which is tough to do every other day, instead of cooking simple dal chawal.. but somedays i just cannot swallow, & look at my family & wonder how they are eating... i would rather have store bought pickle & roti that day than eat what i cooked...but when someone cooks a simple dal subzi for me I enjoy beyond bounds.

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  3. How do I retain interest in my own cooking? I don't! :(
    There are days when I make a curry and a side-dish but don't even taste it, not because it's badly made, but because I'm sick and tired of eating the same old stuff that I make. I'll then have one of those frozen dinners instead. And we ALWAYS have leftovers! And I'm not creative with turning that into something else so we'll have it for days together. H does not complain about it as much as I do though:) Well, if he does, he can go make something himself! Hmph!

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  4. I am a narcissist cook, like my own everyday bong home cooking even when EVERY ONE else doesn't like it all that much. Really, I am an average cook but even my Mom has got this idea that I like only food cooked my way except when I am out eating at restaurants(which I/we love)

    You see how deep my problem goes :D

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  5. Hi, you've brought up such an interesting thought. the suggested options are all that I myself consider a lot! With a hubby who is away most of the week and is at home only during wknds for a meal or two at home, not to mention a 4 yr old who wants only idli/dosa/rice with sambar (yellow-moru/buttermilk based, pink-beetroot or regular) and bhindi, I have a huge challenge of motivating myself to cook different things that even I can enjoy! I too wish I had a cook, or go to my mom's-nothing beats her cooking, and even if she makes the same thing every day, I would eat it without complaints!I have tried ordering food for the two of us from many places, but we usually end up throwing more than half the food away.Of course, there's noodles and pasta and khichdi and other easy stuff to try before you get bored and start all over again with regular or interesting menu.Currently, my only motivation is the wknd cooking that I look fwd to the whole week. Sat Sun lunch menu is elaborate and worth the effort.apologies for the lengthy comment!:D

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  6. Samosa's with Dal is a unique combination Sra..

    Like your 'S' laughs at the cook book, My 'J' laughs, when i start Clicking my camera..

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  7. Iam going through the same phase....so Iam cooking only what is very, very essential to keep away hunger (read rice....and some vegetable that can be thrown into the cooker along with the rice).

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  8. It happens to most of us I think.....Most of the times I ask my mom and hubby who invented this cooking and planning an menu is tiresome....Really sometimes I too think of having someone to cook but .......

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  9. yeah sometimes its very tiresome and boring on the cooking part but we need som change once in a while. We too have a cook but most of the times we intrude and get into cooking :) But we cook just enough for that time of the day. 99% there are very little leftovers which the maid would consume the withing an hour or two. We never store anything in fridge except for idli batter, milk and veggies :)

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  10. Tell me about it. I don't enjoy cooking so much. I like baking and making sweets like halwa...etc..
    The reason behind not liking to cook is solely becos I can't cook exactly for four. So the leftovers pile up in the fridge. This is a major problem.

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  11. I usually cook only what I feel like eating but there are days when nothing seems appealing and cooking seems like a chore. Those are the days when i ask my husband to get something from outside and i just rummage through the freezer or eat odds and ends. It's very hard to go on and on everyday and i'm so thankful that i only cook once a day. Cooking 3 meals a day takes its toll on me in just a few days time - i simply cannot do it.

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  12. U know what until we have a real cook we cannot get the real experience. Back home, we have a cook, I got to tell not an easy task to handle her, u got to train ur own taste because my dad didn't like was she prepares and we have to keep saying use less oil (health conscious) but she never listen anything....
    I love my daily cooking :simple or new exper i do with joy!
    Now tell me how could u dip the samosa in dhal?

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  13. Indo, I still enjoy the cooking because I do it on my own terms and I experiment v v often, but at the end of the day, I just feel weary, new recipe or old - guess it's a problem with me.
    Soma, I'm not able to whip up much enthusiasm for all my experiments, either, just some. I feel the same way as you do - recently, when I visited another blogger, she made very simple but tasty food, it was so refreshing. Even at home, parents' place, we don't make much newfangled food, and it's mostly simple vegetables, chutneys, etc, but so tasty and feels much more wholesome than mine.
    TBC, yeah, I agree - I try hard to make what we both like but mood is not something one can control, so very often, The Spouse or I are not enthused.
    Bong Mom, good, always good to have positive ego - have I coined a new phrase?
    Shreya, I don't eat noodles, pasta or so many such things because I'm constantly dieting so my meals are a challenge constantly - how to make mostly low-carb meals that are interesting as well. I'm ever ready to eat out but when it's the same old restaurants all the time, that gets boring too. Don't apologise for long comments, no need to.
    Lavi, J shouldn't be laughing, your photos are great.
    Jayashree, I know what you mean - I feel this way even tho' I cook only twice or thrice a week.
    Lubna, yeah, getting a cook has its own set of problems.
    Ni, I should seriously begin experimenting with cooking for two - maybe I should be like other bloggers and do a cooking for two series.
    Vidya, cook for two, it will be enough for four :-D By that token, I'll have to learn to cook for one, oh no!
    Laavanya, If I have the time and many appreciative people to cook for at home, it's a lot of fun. I enjoy having family and friends over who can discuss and relish food. I don't mind the labour then. But my small kitchen also bugs me - of course, my friends from Bombay will say I have a big kitchen, just in case they are reading this. :-D
    Cham, one way would be to ration her oil allowance? Of course, that would mean more policing. As for samosa in dhal, well, isn't samosa just another puri on the outside? And the dal was more like soup - I didn't intend to dip it but they were on the same plate and some of the dal got on to the samosa, and the rest was history! :-D

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  14. Sra

    Yeah back again to agree that "making low-carb meals" is indeed a challenge and an ordeal(if you are not a salad every meal kind a person). I was weary in that one week alone.

    Now that summer is almost here, D grills meat/fish/veggies at least 2 days a week. Those two days we try to avoid carbs but other days if we are to eat non-carb it calls for so much planning and cooking that I am fed up. Try baking/grilling meat, fish, veggies while eating low-carb

    I have started asking the nanny to cook two dishes each week but it is not a very happy situation. Food is not according to our liking, more spicy more oily. So I mostly ask her to chop my veggies and then I cook 2-3 days rather than every day.

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  15. Oh Tell me about it..I cannot eat the food I cooked especially when we have cooked a lot, like for a party or my cooking class. Everyone is raving about it, and I don't even want a wiff of it. And then there are days when I have cooked a disaster at home, cooked way too much and have left overs. Lat night I made rasam, but today R did not want to take that for lunch. He made dosas for himeself, so rasam saga will continue until I finish it :(

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  16. Much as I enjoy cooking, I think one of the best parts of going away on a holiday is that I don't have to think about or do the cooking!
    But I don't always enjoy eating out either as I am tired of the ubiquitous Udupi or Punjabi fare most restaurants here keep dishing out!!
    I haven't found the solution to this question yet. :D

    Samosa and dal? Akshaya loves pooris and sambhar!!!

    Here's a suggeatrion for that incomplete sentence - .....unfailing regularity of a ticking clock?

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  17. When I get tired of cooking (happens often) and even more tired of eating my cooking (happens even MORE often)... that's when I eat junk :( I wish I could sustain interest in cooking on weekdays...

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  18. i can eat the same thing over and over again. b not so much! but experimentation is fun if you are in the mood for it and have the time.
    -jai

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  19. LOL...Sometimes I feel the same way. I wish I was back home where I would get readymade food on time and still crib about chores :) And sometimes I am in 7th heaven when someone praises my cooking. Depending on my mood I swing between the 2 extremes!

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  20. Surprisingly, I have not had a "now how do I eat this " problem. My woe is more on the lines of "how do I cook today"! And the answer usually lies in the freezer - frozen curries/parathas. Or take outs :)

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  21. We once had a cook but nobody at home liked what she made, so she had to leave. there are days when I don't feel like cooking at all, thatz when I wish I had a cook, but I do enjoy cooking most of the times , its only the cleaning part that I hate

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  22. Errr, the only reason I even bother to cook is that I love my own food way too much... :) I am kind of ashamed to say that out loud, but I can eat the same food day after day if I made it myself. Take-out or somebody else's cooking, I can manage max 2 days, after that I won't touch it. :)

    Anyway, why don't you freeze half of the dish as soon as it is made? Then you can just reheat it in a couple of weeks and it will be all new again!

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  23. Hmmm...interesting thoughts here.

    I thought about it a bit and realise that I don't get bored with having to eat what I have cooked but the thought that you have to come up with something new everyday is what gets to me sometimes. Making roti was the only chore for me which I have passed on to my kitchen help, who also helps with some prep work.

    With that I find that I am usually inclined to go into the kitchen and cook. Also, I don't spend too much time creating elaborate dishes on a daily basis - I am in and out in under an hour, which I think is a major contributor to my continued enthusiasm. This is also where the food blogs have really helped - I pick what all of you make on a daily basis, the regular regional fare, which gives me variety with the same list of ingredients!
    Of course there are times when I just can't be bothered to get up from the couch... then TH is happy to go and buy bread and make it a butter-toast night! :-)

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  24. Bong Mom, I love salads but my dressings are not v good, so I don't make them oftem. I like meat but increasingly find it heavy, esp chicken, tho' a recent bout of fish many times a week did help me lose 1.5 kg.
    Shankari, I've almost stopped making rasam at home, it NEVVER gets over. And The Spouse is the only one who eats it.
    Aparna, yes, I feel the same way about ubiquitous Udupi or Punjabi fare too - tiresome. You should make this mango-drumstick dal and have Akshaya try the samosa with that!
    Shyam, I get quickly bored of the junk too, esp when my estomac begins to feel like it's flowing over and away from the rest of me!
    Jai, yes, experimentation is a lot of fun, but coming back at the end of the day to it sometimes tires me - maybe it's the lack of novelty after so many hours.
    Homecooked, oh, people praise our cooking often enough, I've no complaints there! :-) It's me not being excited enough by my own cooking - that's the problem.
    Vani, we keep packets of chicken sausages or a few ready-to-eat curries in the fridge to beat the boredom, even those, I'm tired of.
    DEESHA, that's another thing - I cook in quite a hurry because I want my helper to clean the kitchen before she leaves, sometimes that hurry takes away from the pleasure.
    Sig, LOL, that's some healthy self-esteem. I WAS thinking about the freezing business.
    Anita, yes, even My Spouse has begun to be happy, very happy, with needing to get something or the other from outside :-) I think my boredom, hurry, lack of time somehow seep into the food, you know, even tho' I try everything to make it tasty and presentable. In fact, I cooked everyday when he was home sick for a few days, both of us appreciated it - I think it's the variety and the chance to make something different everyday - I am strict about exhausting the leftovers.

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  25. OMG, Sra... you've so accurately described the way I feel sometimes! I've been cooking for so many years now and I can't wait to visit my relatives just to break away from it all. But usually a week's stay elsewhere cures my mood because I always find I make more varieties in my kitchen when compared to my in-laws or elsewhere and I end up missing my recipes and I can't wait to get home. :D

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  26. Wow. I love cooking. I'd rather spend my life in the kitchen than anywhere else. All this only coz I can cook now :D

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  27. I think the reason why people like us experiment so much is precisely because we cannot stand to eat the same thing day after day. Its only when I go back home to Mom's place I realise that the cooking in my home has moved far far away from what it was when i was growing up - there is no one way to have arvi or karela - because we dont stick to the Tamilian recipe unless we really like it and often there is a Bengali or Malayali version which is made because we prefer that taste. That is how I ward off the boredom which sets in with cooking day in and day out.

    But what I really miss, is a loved one cooking for me. Hubby just doesn't like to cook and in the same breath mentions that he is fine if we get a cook so it frees me too. I of course love to cook, but sometimes there is a wistful longing for someone cooking for me with a heart full of love - that makes such a difference to the food....

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  28. I sometimes hate my daily cooking too...wish someone helped me.I wish my family were closeby...i wud have had the luxury of sitting idle at home and expect good n yummy food to be served on time:(

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  29. sra, i have a fish curry in my fridge that i refuse to eat which my DH says is good..in my house he is the leftover eater. i can't eat the same food over and over again but becoz of that i end cooking every other day or so it seems. when u find the perfect cook, send her over to us for a while too.

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  30. Sra, I am so there with you. I find my cooking at times to be so tedious and when I am done, I have no desire for what I have made.

    I went home to Guyana last week and let me tell you, it was heavenly not having to think about cooking everyday, all I had to do was turn up and eat. Each day from various family members I'd be asked: "what do you want to eat today?" Did I mention I was in heaven? :) Now I am back home and figuring out what to cook, what to eat.

    Thanks for the insightful comments on salting, they are very helpful.

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  31. retain? i dont think i ever had it. shall we swap dishes?

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  32. Funny post. Yeah, sometimes, it's hard to keep interesting in one's on cooking. It's a phase for me. Luckily, I get over it when I'm inspired by folks like you. ;-)

    Paz

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  33. Deepika, yeah, the spread may be wanting in variety but at least it's not your own cooking! In my parents' home, the cooking is all very traditional but I rarely make the same stuff at home so it's welcome. I sometimes think I prefer a wide spread to great taste.
    A_and_N, Wait till you're well into life - there'll be days you don't want to look at the kitchen or at food!
    Miri, v true, same case with me. In fact, at home, paneer is not made though everyone eats it - it still remains an outsider and something to be eaten at a hotel. We have the usual suite of dal, chutney, stir-fries - I make all these too, but look for different ways to prepare them.
    Nithya, I hear you!
    Mallugirl, sponsor me! I will come and cook for you :-D
    Cynthia, I know, I read your post on that. Even I like going home for the same reason - whatever is made, even if it's not something I'm not usually enthu about, I gobble it up.
    Cynic, yes, we shall swap. I'd love that braised chicken pepper you mentioned in your latest post.
    Paz, thank you, that's great to know. I just feel utterly tired and bored with my own cooking, sometimes.

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  34. I don't mind much eating the same old things (leftovers are a convenience), but cooking them is far from exciting - yet the bulk of my kitchen time is spent turning out everyday meals, not brainstorming novel blog-worthy recipes.

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  35. This sounds exactly like my situation. I have started getting bored of my own cooking very often since the past year or so. The husband is all praises for even a simple potato stir fry I make but I keep craving for something 'different'.
    And I absolutely can not eat the same food again & again so its a huge problem when I have leftovers, which used to be almost every day but I have now learnt to control the amount of everything that is cooked.

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