Last week as I was feverishly trying my hands at cooking in the kitchen, I was reminded of Tshering Gyeltshen’s Hingtam that opens with a debate, which touches a pertinent issue. The women’s place is best in the kitchen? I don’t exactly remember the topic, but it went something like that. But do all men make worst cooks? Why is the food that women cook taste thousand times better than mine? Or are some people born with that skill?
“Akhai, you don’t know how to cook sii ya?” a lady friend of mine remarks when I tell her how worried I was the moment I was alone at home.“Well, I will have to learn,” I tell her, but when I tell the same to my friend in Thimphu, he is not on my side.
“Wai, don’t tell your girl friend or wife that you know how to cook,” he warns he. “If you do, then you will end up cooking rest of your life.” I laugh at him, but he is serious. “After all, it is women’s job."
Well, is cooking women’s domain? Or is it because men fake not knowing how to cook? Some of my college friends are exceptionally good cooks. Everything they prepared seemed to taste like they have dropped from heaven or something. What about chefs, aren’t most of them men? But I am exceptionally a bad cook. And I am not alone for an uncle of mine equally lacks the kitchen-related skill. However, for now he has even overtaken me. He has crossed the basic level during his wife’s absence. Good for him.
My limited skill was thoroughly tested when I was home alone. It was sheer necessity that pushed me into the kitchen, the place I least frequent at home. I was both excited and nervous like a boy on his first day at school as I got things boiling on the gas stove. It took curry that was too hot (spicy) and a rice-cooker full of uncooked rice to teach me some much needed lesson. And after much trials and errors, I feel I have the basics now.
“Now it is quality part,” my uncle tells me. “Learning the basic skill to cook is one thing while the quality taste is quite another.” He is right. What I cook is nowhere near being tasty. But I am learning to cook anyway. Oops, don’t tell this to my friend.
Being alone has its advantage. It is like when there is no one in the bathroom, you become a better singer. Cooking is definitely everyone’s domain, women and men included.
But I still think the food tastes best when cooked by mother or for that matter all women. I think the kitchen is equivalent to a king’s throne room for what is a palace without kitchen?
So, ladies and gentlemen, keep cooking!