I have heard some crazy stories from people about their first cooking experience. Do you remember the first thing that you cooked entirely from scratch? I believe for half of the nation that thing will be ‘Maggi’. I am sure you will agree. So how was your first cooking experience? Was it also Maggi or was it Chai? From as simple as Chai and as delicate as Cheesecakes, I have heard stories which sums up bizarre first cooking experiences.
Today I will be sharing with you the story of my first cooking experience. And just to be clear, it was not Maggi noodles. No, it was not about shooting for the stars, but I already knew the process of cooking Maggi and the confidence in me was at all-time high. So what next! Was it chai? Was it rice? Or was it an Omelet? Any guesses? You can pause your reading here and comment down below, your answer. Then come back and continue reading.
I grew up watching my mom all the time. Especially in the kitchen, where she was at her best. I used to be mesmerized by her style of cooking and making that magic happen. So it was already written in my destiny since then, that I will take up cooking either as a fond hobby, passion or profession. Keep reading to know more revelations.
First Cooking Experience is always special
This is a universal truth. Whoever cooks his/her first dish, that person flaunts it to everyone. Especially in today’s tech-savvy world, first thing the rookies do is to click photographs of the dish even before tasting it. Thankfully when I cooked my first dish, the cellphone era was in its infancy. I remember asking my mom for permission to cook. It was not a one day approval, rather it was almost a month long application. But cooking always fascinated me, I was in love with the sight of my mother cooking my favourite dishes.
So for the love of food, I persisted for permission. Initially I was given permission to do a small task from the entire process. I started with stirring the gravies which were left for simmering. I was given the task of mixing the veggies and the masalas. After few days, I was told to sauté the onions. But I did every single task dedicatedly and without any tantrums. Maybe even as a teenager, I understood that this was the best possible way to learn my basics. I knew that my mother was an amazing teacher.
I am not saying this out of my love for her, but only few people know that she was my official class teacher when I started my schooling journey. So I knew that if she can pull of teaching studies to kids then teaching how to cook will be cakewalk for her. So I just obeyed my Masterchef mom and tried to absorb as much as skills as possible. Many Dals, many veggies, and many chicken gravies later I was qualified to handle the gas stove on my own.
Then the next phase was to teach me the right way to do things. Frying the onions was probably the first fine tuning I received. The mind blowing aroma of the onions getting fried in the oil still leaves me smitten. I started understanding about the color of fried onions that are required for specific dishes.
Then it was followed by adding the red chili powder and turmeric to the dishes. Which is at time calculative but at times it needs to be intuitive. How veggies can soak more flavour from masala, how to cook tender chicken. I was observant all the time and was eager to go on my own. Then after lots of complicated dishes and my involvement in cooking them, finally my mom approved my request of cooking. Now came the big day when finally I was going to make a dish independently.
My first dish
Did you guess what that dish was? Not to worry, let me reveal the name quickly before you stop reading the blog. My first cooking experience was to cook Anda Bhurji (The Indian spicy scrambled eggs). I don’t know whether that surprised you, shocked you or made you feel something else, but yes I cooked Anda Bhurji from scratch as a part of my first cooking experience.
Though it was my mom who chopped the onions and tomatoes for me, because handling knives and sharp objects was not a part of my passing curriculum. So here I was standing in front of gas stove with lots of excitement brimming inside me. I lit the gas, and put the Kadhai on it, maybe this is one reason that till date I love to cook most of the dishes in Kadhai. I poured in some oil which was in generous amount. Now once the oil was piping hot, I added the chopped onions which all sizzled for a good 4-5 seconds before the fuzz mellowed down.
The aroma of onions getting fried had me hooked and since then, this is the kind of high I want to smell in every kitchen. I kept sautéing the onions till they turned translucent and were about to turn brown. I added salt as per my intuition stirred it well and then pushed in the chopped tomatoes. The water from the tomatoes crackled the cooking scene with amazing sound and that sour aroma which makes you drool by looking at it.
Then next went in the turmeric powder, red chili powder and some chopped green chilies. Now this was the point that the potential chef in me awakened and I started stirring the ingredients vigorously. I remember splashing the kitchen tiles with some spiced oil. Then finally I smelled the cooked masala and I knew that it was the time of the real test. As I was instructed that breaking and adding the eggs needs to be done faster, or else you won’t get a fluffy Anda Bhurji.
Yes a little pressure mounted on me, but with a clear head I started breaking the eggs one by one. According to me I was doing it fast, but with respect to my mother’s standards, I was pretty slow. So she turned down the heat in order to save the eggs from burning. I finished cracking 6 eggs into the kadhai and then washed my hands. I can’t cook with hands that are smeared in eggs. I don’t do it even today. So once my hands were clean, I started stirring the potpourri with love. Scraping right from the bottom and making the sound of spatula striking the brim of Kadhai, just like you hear it on the streets.
Finally after 10 odd minutes or so, the Anda Bhurji was ready when I turned off the gas and my mom sprinkled the chopped coriander to finish it off. The Bhurji smelled delicious, and I anticipated it to be good, but self-evaluation doesn’t count here. The real test lied ahead when my father was supposed to taste it. But gladly both my parents tasted it and it was pretty amazing in taste. Though the salt was a bit on the lower side and I got the feedback, but myself being a non-halophile I always end up putting less salt in the dishes.
A New Chapter begun
Pulling off a decent dish in your first cooking experience gives you immense pleasure and a confidence boost. It affirms the faith of your mom that you can cook and makes your dad happy. Daddies become happy because now they don’t have to rely on mommies for delicious food. Mommies are happy because in case her kid has to leave the house for education or career, then she knows that her kid will cook well now.
So from a simple anda Bhurji to a complicated dish like Zereshk Berry Pulao, my journey has been wonderful so far. I have made few dishes, some turned out to be great in the first attempt, and some turned out to be abysmal in the first attempt. Yet nothing beats the confidence boost from the first cooking experience.
When I decided to take control?
It was during my mother’s second pregnancy when she was expecting, that I learnt how important cooking is. I was 7 years old and we were in Rajasthan, when we were about to welcome my younger sister into the family. It was my mom’s absence from the kitchen while the delivery period that posed a big question. My dad never cooked before it. So each day my mom used to instruct him how to cook.
Though I am grateful that my dad did a pretty decent job and I was well fed, but me being a kid whose mom cooked wonderful meals couldn’t keep mum about the taste. I used to complain about the lack of taste or texture or aroma to my mom when we visited her. She told me that I should be thankful for whatever comes my way. Gratitude was value that my mom taught me. Apart from the value education, the main point was that my dad was just an okayish cook.
This made me realize, how I need to be a good cook so that in emergency situations I could be the savior. While growing up, I thought that my wait for emergency situations, rather everyone should learn to cook, irrespective of gender. But keeping the moral angle aside, I actually fell in love with cooking. Right from my first cooking experience I carried forward the spirit of this art. Hopefully I will delve deeper in the subject of cooking, with years to come.
So how did you find my first cooking experience? What was your first cooking experience like? I would like to hear from you. If it is a short tiny tale then comment down below. If it is a long story then do mail me at [email protected] or DM me at foodie_khiladi007. I would be glad to hear from you.
I hope you enjoyed the narration and will share this with your loved ones. What are your thoughts on cooking? Don’t you think that it should be equal responsibility of all the family members? Perhaps those who have never cooked, are missing a major tool of satisfaction. The satisfaction that is visible on the face of the patrons who eat what we make it for them. So if you haven’t been a cook yet, then let this be the push that you needed. Good luck!!!
With this your foodie_khiladi signs off for the day in a hope to see you soon in my next blog post. Till then keep smiling and spreading the smiles.