August 23rd, 2008

boy with dog

Introducing The 'Cook Buddy' Concept

I love to cook. Of course, I love to eat much more than I love to cook, but one look at me and you'd hardly ever think that I'd win a burger-eating contest. Of course, there's this other matter of how most food-eating contests are biased against people who eat slowly and are invariably centered around who consumes the most food in a stipulated period of time.

If contests were reformatted to be about who consumes N items of food, regardless of time, I would stand a fighting chance. But that is beside the point.

Like I mentioned before, I love to cook, but it isn't something I have been doing too much off-late. My culinary skills came to the fore under circumstances of extreme duress. In August 2005, after having nearly experienced death (another expansion of NED) due to a severe case of bronchopneumonia that resulted in me being holed up in bed for ten days during the festival season, I developed a strong aversion towards outside food of any kind. Although the condition that affected was more towards the pulmonary region rather than the gastric region, I was nevertheless unable to eat properly for almost ten straight days and lost a whole lot of weight.

Being skinny and underweight ever since I was about four, before which I was as fat as a miniature version of Jabba the Hut, when I say I lost a whole lot of weight, I do mean it. My cheeks were hollow and for the first time after the end of engineering college, I could once again see all my ribs.

This aversion towards eating outside food regardless of its price / quality spurred me on to learn cooking and avoid outside food altogether. The slight problem of not having a kitchen until May 2006 when I moved into an apartment with a few friends kept me from having a go with the cooking utensils, but even fate could not delay the inevitable.

My three subsequent trips abroad also honed my culinary skills to a point where I could confidently claim to all and sundry that I could cook, without cooking being considered as the ability to make maggi noodles or tea. I could cook to save my life (as I have done so on a few occasions) and I guess it was one of those things people tend to add on their 'life resume' and would, more often than not make a rather desired bullet-point on it.

I currently stay alone in a house that has a kitchen in it, but I haven't cooked food in a really long time. I would attribute my lack of enthusiasm towards cooking to two factors - I haven't had a significant gastronomic accident that has resulted in unpleasantness and aversion towards outside food to that great an extent (touchwood) and I spend way too much time in cooking for myself.

The second factor in question is a result of the fact that I view cooking as a labour of love, and I spend time in cutting vegetables correctly so that they are of even size and are uniform, garnishing the food and generally working on making it look good before I dig in mercilessly and clean up the entire plate.

When I do end up cooking, the quantity I prepare sometimes exceeds the amount I could eat in one sitting as a result of which I spend about two hours polishing off what I've made. Add that to about an hour / hour and a half spent in making the food and what I now have is the clock striking 2300 hours by the time I am done eating, assuming I started preparation at 2000 hours.

Also, there's vessels to be washed and the kitchen to be cleaned thereafter, which I end up doing myself because I am too lazy to hire a maid who'd show up and would require me to be home in the evening or be awake in the morning at a certain time, and I see myself as being above such encumbrances. I'm also too lazy to hire a cook for the same reasons. I might also be cheap, but that has been a congenital condition of mine which, somehow has nothing to do with anything concerning food.

But my craving for home cooked food has only increased over the years, and in order to cater to my needs, I have come up with the idea of cook buddy (or cook buddies, rather).

If there is a family that lives within walking distance of my house and would be willing to host me on two days of the week for having dinner at their place, I'd be willing to pay good money for it. This is in line with my being too lazy to cook unless ample motivation is provided, and would sort out considerations of proximity to my residence as well as provide me with good food in return.

I don't ask that the family in question serve me food that is gourmet-level. I merely ask that on two days in a week, the said family or bunch of people that live together make an extra portion of whatever they're cooking and have me over to consume it. If the food is simple, vegetarian and is home-prepared, it would fit the bill appropriately.

In return, I would be willing to be a temporary member of the family until such time that the food gets over and then leave and go home until the next time that I was scheduled to visit them. This would mean that I would be courteous, polite, I'd pass the salt when asked for and refrain from breaking wind at the table and not make unsolicited comments about anything that is wrong with them, if at all.

There are plenty of people out there who want to cook but have the disinclination to do so due to a multitude of factors. Their living situation also prevents them from eating home cooked food every single day at their place of residence as a result of which they end up eating random food outside, which is cooked without the most important ingredient that goes into making good food - love.

At the risk of sounding immodest like I always do, I would also consider myself as interesting enough company for the family to look forward to having me over on the stipulated days. They'd of course be given the opportunity to interview me and meet me before zeroing in on a prospective match for their cutlery and their dining table, but I'd be ok for that as well, as would hundreds of other people in my predicament.

I believe that the west has a similar concept in place for fulfilling the carnal needs of a person, and that rhymes with cook buddy. We are, as a society not as immoral or polygamous and hence we'd rather keep things G-rated and just proceed onward with the search for the right cook-buddy.

An off-shoot of said idea would be to invite people over to one's place after having cooked for them, but I'd rather not propose it because I don't like too many people coming over to my house. The ones who are welcomed with open arms at any time know who they are.
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boy with dog

They Fart

Yes, I am now the proud owner of theyfart at gmail dot com. Don't ask me why I bothered to get this ID.

It just seemed like a good idea at that time.

(The above statement has been used by many people throughout history, including those that committed the defenestrations of Prague that led to the 30-years war, those that used brandy in thermometers before switching to mercury, by Indira Gandhi during the 1975 emergency, by Abhinav Bindra's dad after he narrated the incident of young AB shooting the balloon off the maid's head and so on and so forth).

It is certainly not as cool as owning a domain name, and if emailed at that address, I promise to reply. Just for kicks.
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