Who is afraid of the big bad cook?

A friend who once watched me cook a meal for 15 guests remarked that I was cooking “with a vengeance”. Ironically, she couldn’t have been closer to the truth. I grew up in a home where food wasn’t the focus. People were. My mom worked as a lecturer, teaching Philosophy and Child Psychology to undergrads. My dad was a lawyer. Education and learning were important to us. Food was fuel, and nourishment. This was a time when double income households were quite a rarity in the small town where I was born and grew up.  I did not understand it then, but the womenfolk did not have an exciting life. They did not get the respect they deserved just being “housewives”. And so, were full of resentment and bitterness towards a lovely woman who seemed to have the best of both worlds – home and career. The truth was far from their perception, but I shall get into that later.

The only weapon they had against my mother was their persistent criticism of her lack of exceptional cooking skills. It’s still prevalent in most parts of India. A woman, despite her many achievements, is still judged on her cooking and home-keeping skills. Growing up, I found that ridiculous. Cooking is a modern day "life skill", important for both genders. Why just women? And it’s a skill. Only to be treated as an art form if one chooses to take it up as one. I hated the “housewife mafia” as I called them. A part of me always wanted to show them how petty and shallow their criticism was, since it often got extended to their claims that I will never be able to lead a happy life because my mother failed to teach me how to cook.  These were close family friends, relatives. Their words would hurt. And I found them despicable.

So I took up cooking. It was never the heavily guarded, hard to acquire “art form” they claimed it was. Anyone could do it. All that intrigue they built around it was bullshit. I had no intention of competing with hard working chefs. Cooking was their art, their passion. But as a skill, it was nothing, really. I acquired it overnight, literally. So when I spent hours creating elaborate desserts and meals only I could cook, it was my sweet, delectable revenge. I run a happy house, and a happy kitchen. And it was my mother who taught me after all. How is that for a last laugh? 


  1. Loved this post because I, too, have been criticised by the housewife Mafia for my perceived lack of domestic skills

  2. Nice post.. :D
    Cooking is something which all should know. I too do my bit at http://www.fashionablefoods.net
    Do visit when you get time.. Thanks for sharing.


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