I love my kitchen. I love to see it sparkle. I relish the sensation of warm water from the faucet caressing my fingers as it flows down into the spotless sink. I revel in the radiance of the silverware as it adorns the pearly racks. I marvel at the vast array of ingredients and spices of the Indian kitchen, carefully lined in neat rows on squeaky-clean white shelves. Perfection. I love perfection.
Over the years, I have optimized my lifestyle in pursuit of that ideal in my kitchen. It turns out, the best way to accomplish it is to use the kitchen as sparingly as possible. When I mention this in cocktail parties, people often puzzle over it, eyebrows arched incredulously. “Do you guys eat? Everyone has to eat, right?”
A very valid point. Not eating, after all, violates the laws of physics. Fundamentally, we are machines, and machines are powered by energy. At play, are the inviolable laws of thermodynamics. Can’t argue with that.
“So?”, those quizzical faces stare back at me, demanding an explanation, cutting short my reverie into the world of physics. This topic, it appears, is of great interest to many of my brethren. For, who in their right minds, wouldn’t want food to just appear on their plates, while maintaining that delicate equilibrium of perfection in their kitchens? My description of my kitchen may seem to some as though I have achieved that state of nirvana. Or so I would like to think. As it turns out, even though seemingly improbable, it is achievable. Bear with me as I spell out how I managed to pull this rabbit out of my hat.
Let me start with the simplest course – lunch. We eat lunch at the canteen at work. This part, I admit, may be construed as cheating. However, considering that it would hold true for a majority of my audience consisting of corporate stooges, I will hazard that it is allowable. With regard to dinner, we eat a meal made mostly of raw ingredients – a fruit smoothie, which when spiked with a little whey protein is surprisingly filling. Incredibly healthy too, eh? Eh? And, great for weight loss. Any additional hunger is taken care of through leftovers from breakfast. Or dosa, or noodles. Who knows? That’s how much thought we put into dinner anyway. Breakfast is similarly simple. Our son too, has adjusted to this very well.
This blasé attitude towards food, it seems, has other benefits. Food somehow just lands on our plates. Or so it seems, now that I am forced to think about it. In any case, it just seems to be an non-issue – in our household, anyway. In time, we realized that dinner is not an important meal after all. The turning point, psychologically, for me anyway, arrived when my spiritual guru endorsed our food choices. He suggested that humanity is poisoning itself through overeating, and that two meals a day are plenty for adults over twenty-five years of age. He also suggested consuming more uncooked food. The fruit smoothie suddenly achieved a lot of credibility.
While I have my audience riveted with my legerdemain, Murali usually ambles in with his impeccable sense of timing, to steal my thunder. “Oh, Chinni’s forgotten her way to the kitchen!” he would say insultingly, to some cheap laughs. “She needs google directions to find her way there now”, he would add, encouraged by the reaction. An obvious below-the-belt shot to portray it all as good, old-fashioned shirking of the responsibilities in the kitchen. Fortunately for him, his wife is incredibly good-natured, for what husband would dare to say such a thing without fear of repercussions? That lucky soul, must have inherited good karma from his past births to deserve such an angel of a wife. Good for him.
One of my friends, a homemaker and a maestro of the culinary arts, but nonetheless fed-up with the daily drudgery, took to the smoothie-for-dinner idea. One evening, under auspicious circumstances, she delicately brought up the smoothie as a dinner alternative with her husband, while expounding its health benefits. He immediately endorsed it, unable to argue it’s obvious healthfulness. “Sure, should we have it before, or after dinner?” he asked, rather innocently.