This is one question which is thrown out at M by me every evening when I return from office...and for which every evening, a pre-recorded message type answer is tossed back at me - "Whatever you wish, dear"....which makes me all the more frustated than the whole tortourous cooking proceedings.
Here is our daily conversation on this topic.
Me: Kya banaun aaj khane mein?
(What to cook for dinner today?)
M: Kuch bhi bana lo, jo tumhara mann
(Make anything, whatever you wish)
Me: Kuch bhi matlab kya.....kuch naam to hoga na
(What do you mean by anything....It must be having a name)
M: Matlab jo tumhe khana hai, main toh kuch bhi kha lunga
(I mean what ever you wish to eat, I will eat anything)
Me: Gusse mein...Kabhi kuch bol bhi diya karo
( All frustrated... At least name something at times)
M: .............................(no answer)
Really I tell you ...Cooking is a hell of a boring and terrible task (Note: Here I am talking about the regular household cooking comprising of a breakfast, lunch and dinner) but the more dreadful task is the thinking process which goes behind deciding on the dinner menu...I mean thinking what to cook is more stressful than the actual cooking itself (except for some preprations which seem to be never ending..)
The minute I step out of my office, this question dances in my mind from one corner to the other giving me shudders....Every Monday to Friday (Note: Its not that I do not eat on weekends....but dinner is always out...breakfast is skipped as we get up late and lunch...somehow I manage) I come home, stand in front of the fridge and think.....And when I finally decide on what to cook (as it is of no use to ask M about it and get that same question mark look on his face), another trauma awaits me of finding out half of the ingredients are missing. That leaves me with no option other than going for some life saver recipe for which ingredients is not a problem as khichdi, vegetable pulao or some aloo dish......and just for the information, these are all which I hate and M loves....but at least these are easy to cook rather than going out to get the missing ingredients. There are same four five patent vegetables available at the shop which I am sick and tired of cooking and eating....Yes, I can try to cook different cuisines.. Chinese... Continental and I do know some off-the-routine recipes like dosas, manchurian or pavbhaji.....but who has the time to try out new delicious recipes or to break my head on inventing some new variation of the same old stuff.....The day when there is dinner party or outing on a weekday, I am sure that there is no person more happy on this Earth than me....It feels like there is no work after reaching home...I am the most relieved and relaxed person that day.....
This used to be the scene every day until I came up with a solution. Its that we normally buy vegetables for the next whole week on Friday itself as there is lot of other stuff to do on weekends and weekdays are super busy.. So now I make a menu (and you guessed it right....again a list) for the week and buy vegetables as per the menu list so that nothing is missed out and I am spared of exercising my brain of the same routine question everyday. This way I have a stock set of recipe list which are of different variety and which I can alternate over a two week period so that the dinner is not monotonous or repetitive. See change is needed here too. The quote "The Only Thing is Constant is Change" fits this situation so damn appropriate.
I believed that it is the case with me only that it takes half the task off my head when somebody tells me what to cook but after interviewing all the ladies of my family and the extended family...I concluded with a relieved heart that this is the case with every lady who is in charge of cooking dinner.
So here are five quick tips for ladies to find a quick answer to this question?
- Have some frozen food items like paneer, peas always stocked in your refrigerator in case you do not want to cook an elaborate dinner or something is missing.
- Make a list of all the daily routine recipes so that you do not have to think of what to cook when time is running ahead of you. Look at the list and in the fridge and get ready to cook.
- Its not always that you have to cook as per the strict instructions by the recipe book or the one who has told you the recipe. Some change here and there as per your convenience can be done...just that they should not be too consequential on the taste front.
- Plan the menu in advance to suit your schedule. As in you can cook something elaborate on Friday night as Saturday is a holiday and your are not in a rush to eat and sleep early.
- Always keep an eye on the ration list to have an idea of what is there in the kitchen and what is going to run out of stock so that you can refill those before its needed.
Hope this helps you in your cooking ordeals.....Do let me know any other quick fix tips to save on time and energy. I guess, ladies, we are all sailing in the same boat.