Lockdown learning – My kitchen rules

Today I posed a question for my pranayama class students – “What is that part of you that you dislike or not comfortable with?” Each one identified their own and we worked on forgiving our uncomfortable parts and sending love to those parts inside us! I truly believe that we are a work in progress and we also need to work at ourselves regularly, to maintain some sort of calmness inside us.

Coming to that question…
When I posed that question to myself, a few months back, I was surprised at what came out as a dominant character! You will be surprised too, as you read this!

As a little girl, all I was allowed to do in the kitchen was just observe. I observed everything – what ingredients went into which kuzhambu, how everything gets fried golden, how coarse or how fine you grind the sambar masala, how to make different types of chutney using vegetable peels, how to grind the idly maavu, how to pickle, how not to spoil a pickle and many more…phew! This list seems endless…

Amma is an amazing cook, a perfectionist, and such a cleanliness freak! I am not surprised that I imbibed all those from amma – maybe not genetically but by observing her too keenly 😀

After I got married, I started observing my mother-in-law! Another amazing personality, with the keenness of a child to learn and try new things, a cook par excellence, great with her smile and hospitality and most of all, she loved to feed people!

All these observations – from my amma and mother-in-law – helped me when I started to cook in my own kitchen after my marriage. These two amazing mothers in my life had subconsciously instilled another quality in me, which I didn’t realize at first.

I divided the vessels I had into two sets. Set one was used for cooking, the plates were used for closing the vessels, the spoons and ladles were used only for cooking and serving.
Set two was for eating. Plates, spoons, forks are separately kept for eating.

And the strict rule was there will be no interaction or mix-up between these two sets of vessels! Really! Yeah…That was me!

Then the egg came into the kitchen. I grew up in a household where eggs were banned from entry into our home. But when I started cooking eggs, I bought separate pans, spatulas, plates…

All these were noticeable decisions which I did.

I also had this habit of using specific vessels for specific purposes. I kept my milk boiling vessels separate and nothing else was cooked in it, especially the ones with salt. I had separate ladles for milk, curd, sambar and never mixed them! The Kadai for frying papad, for making the vegetables were all marked and used according to my rule! My kitchen – my rules…haha 😀 I did manage with these rules, without realizing how strictly I enforced it on me and my house-help, for all these years.

Lockdown happened and things changed. Without the help of a house-help, who listened and abided by my rules, I asked my daughters to help me. They did all the help very willingly.
All along, my daughters were never really aware of those rules which I followed in the kitchen concerning the cookware. Or maybe they were aware but never thought seriously of them. I started noticing that they were using some vessels for cooking which was not earmarked for them, by me – he he…the superior me 😀

I went huff and puff over all the wrong usage of cookware! And I couldn’t hold it on for long periods. Without the help of my daughters, I was not able to manage the cleaning, cooking, and all the other work in the house. I was already stressed out with lack of house help and now the mixing up of the cookware…Oh God! I was so stressed out. I couldn’t even appreciate their help as I was constantly picking on them for using the wrong cookware.

Sigh! I didn’t like this obsession I had towards the cookware and how it should be used.

So, slowly and grudgingly I started to relax – let them use whatever cookware they wanted; it will be washed well after use. This simple shift inside me helped me to come out of my stressful feelings and I started enjoying and appreciating their help more!

Such precious lockdown learning of 2020!

From there, I have moved on with a better thought process – the cookware is transient; they can be thrown away or new ones can be bought. My daughters and the love with which they do things at home are more precious than these transient things.

Have you wondered at this question – “What is that part of you that you dislike or not comfortable with?” Please do share your replies!

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