Teaching guys cooking is like pulling your tooth out without anesthesia.
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After successfully teaching many a cousin brother to cook and explaining to them for the 284762468 th time that “No”my mom wont be a better or more patient teacher than me, I think I have found a fool proof method of teaching guys cooking. Here are the necessary ingredients to make a successful guy-cook.
1 guy (preferably willing to learn to cook)
1 clean kitchen
1 tape recorder (to record everything that happens during the class in case you need to defend yourself in court one day)
Several Calmpose tablets
One or 2 bottles of strong liquor incase the Calmpose doesn’t kick in early enough.
(If you can’t get the Calmpose without prescription, bribe the pharmacist with promises of marrying his daughter/son. It always works)
Now get out of the clean kitchen as fast as possible and set up a gas stove in an open area preferably a football ground, but far away from schools, hospitals and military installations. Make sure the guy has medical insurance, vehicle insurance and life insurance. The medical insurance will take care of his medical bills after he eats what he cooks. The vehicle insurance will make sure he doesn’t make excuses to come late for classes like, ‘I got caught by the cops because I had no Vehicle Insurance”. Of course this clairvoyant cop has a personal vendetta against this particular cousin and so on every cookery class day catches him without fail. The Life Insurance will make sure that his next of kin get back his college tuition fees in case of his unfortunate demise due to food poisoning. Make sure he doesn’t have an engineering degree. Among my cousins the engineers are the worst cooking students. They argue too much, use expletives like “I’ll think I will watch while you cook first” and “I will have a beer while you demonstrate” or worse “Why don’t you cook and we will tell you how each dish turned out”.
Among my students I remember a cousin, Suresh a first year MBBS student in St Johns Medical College , Bangalore. Suresh wanted to learn to make omelet or fry an egg for breakfast. He had an electric stove and a non stick pan which he mostly used to keep his bike keys and other miscellaneous articles. After an unfortunate accident though he had to discontinue cookery classes and rely on the Hospital canteen. I still remember the day:
Suresh: I have bought you some spirit from the lab. Very good for removing nail polish my Chechi (elder sister) says.
Me: “So sweet of you.”
I liberally apply some on my nails. Quite effective.
Me:“Da listen, how much did you have to pay for this? I don’t want you spending your pocket money on purchasing stuff for me ok?”
Suresh: “Oh it’s free Chechi, I just filled up this bottle from the tank”.
Me: Tank?? What tank?
Suresh: “The tank where they keep the dead bodies.”
Six months after the incident, I still use fork and spoon and knife to eat. Of course I had to temporarily give up cooking for some time too. But there were plus points. The stray dogs now look at me with a lot of respect. Though I don’t know why they drop their tails and slink away the moment they see me. Anyway no more medical student cousins I have decided. I think I will let a more experienced Mom handle them.
Ok so here are some facts I have learnt after teaching a motley group of cousin brothers the basics of cooking. I hope you gals find it informative and migrate to the US or marry a chef or take up transcendental meditation instead of trying to teach a guy to cook.
· You can teach guys to cook however you CANNOT teach them to clean up after them.
· You Must enlighten them that it is necessary to have a stove to cook.
· And also that it is necessary to have utensils to cook.
· You have to listen with sympathetic understanding when they say that they never noticed the above two points at home.
· After every culinary success the guys will say “Cooking! It’s so easy. It’s like Chemistry. You have just got to put the right ingredients and its ready ha ha ha.”
· After every culinary failure they throw their arms and the cutlery in the air exclaiming, “If I want to eat home cooked food I will get married hmph”
· Before every Sunday cooking session they will have beer, which they will buy at the eleventh hour and then insist on keeping it in the freezer and ‘waiting’ for it to chill.
· You have to gently point out that Beer is not recommended when you are learning to hold a knife for the very first time.
· You have to firmly tell them “You CANNOT put whiskey into every non veg dish to ENHANCE the taste.”
· You must repeat for the 284762468th time or longer that washing hands is not enough; you HAVE to wash the vegetables too.
· You have to emphasize that it is not wise to turn the gas on and then sprint across to the grocery store to buy a matchbox.
· You also have to emphasize that while he is at the grocery store it would NOT be a good idea to stop and have a smoke before he gets back to the kitchen.
· And that if he does have that cigarette at the grocery store and then gets back to the kitchen, then it would be very wise to wear fireproof clothing before lighting the matchbox.
· You have to explain that going for a movie while the chicken is cooking is not a good idea.
· You have to also explain that asking the girl friend to learn cooking can be potentially dangerous to his relationship or lack of it.
· You must assure them that they need not be formally dressed to cook.
· And that they don’t have to be in a state of near undress because the cooking is a hot and sweaty job.
· And that blaring music louldy will drown out important instructions like "Your shirt is on fire"
· You have to remind him that he MUST put water into the pan if he is trying to boil the egg.
· Also remind him that he cannot pass off your cooking as his when the fiancée is visiting because she knows that he cannot even boil an egg.
· You must smile and say “I know Chetta that inserting the lid on the Hawkins pressure cooker is tricky.” Don’t yell “ THEN WHY THE HECK DID YOU BUY IT WITHOUT ASKING ME?”(Because you know the answer to that one. The sales girl was pretty)
· Give him a hint that making jokes to his friends on the mobile on how he is trying to humor his little cousin sister by pretending to learn to cook can be dangerous, especially if that little cousin sister is in the vicinity holding a very sharp knife.
· And that Fish fry is good, but you have to clean them first. And ‘NO” he cannot send them over to your house to be cleaned ( and preferably cooked).
· Tell them patiently that they can’t call you every time they have to put salt in a dish. Last time I had to make an entire group of people on a teleconference wait while I patiently explained that two teaspoons of salt would be too much for one fried egg.
· You have got to teach them that egg shells don’t walk themselves into the dustbin and that the stink in the kitchen is not a dead rat but the egg that had fallen under the refrigerator last week and is now peacefully decomposing under the fridge.
· And ‘NO’ having a dog will not take care of aforementioned problems.
· Let them know that leftovers can lead to high attrition rates among maids.
· You must tell them that the printouts of recipes you email them can get smudged if you use them to wipe hands.
· And that laminating these printouts would be a very good idea indeed.
· You have to bite back that expletive when he tells you flippantly that he is going to get married anyway and then in all probability he will not have to cook, after you have taken him step after laborious step of making a Biryani. Don’t wail “Then why oh why did you waste my precious Sunday????” (Because you know the answer to that one too. Saturdays are for nursing hangovers)
Pity I don’t get Mondays off to do the same because after that remark I feel like washing the Calmpose tablets down my throat with the strongest available liquor.
· Tell them strictly that calling you ‘kunjumole’* and 'chakkare'* will not get them off the hook after they had burnt the biryani you asked them to watch over because they and their pals suddenly felt like a game of one day cricket at the BCC ground next to Bethany School. Let them know that a bottle of very dry white wine will make you feel indulgent enough not to empty the burnt biryani over their collective heads.
( * mallu endearments used to placate supposedly stupid cousin sisters after you have done some act of $#^@&(#%@ stupidity yourself).
· You have to let him know that not having his mom/sister in Bangalore is no excuse for forgetting a cousin sister’s birthday. Especially since she is on the verge on mental breakdown teaching him cook. And that a potato peeler is a not a very good idea of a belated birthday present.