Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ars Gratia Artis! Cooking for Cooking's Sake!

from the diary of a bachelor living abroad.

"Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained."

- Maurice de Vlaminck, French painter (1876 ~ 1958)

I became member of a social network community, focusing on cooking, mainly South Asian dishes. Moving away from Karachi, Pakistan and being self-proclaimed good cook, I started looking at its page, noticing a few interesting dishes on their albums. To agree to what the admins wrote about the community, it was tad addictive.

I even posted a couple of my cookings there which the members laughed at to my misery, never mind.

But lately, I have been feeling humorous about the posts I witness on the community's page. Following is a re-make of the posts that make me feel that way (no real names, any similarity purely coincidental):

Salma: Hi! Can you please tell me how to make instant coffee? I completely forgot how to. Thanks!

Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration for the sake of humor - but below is what I actually just read:

Nilofer: Can you please post the recipe of Khichdi? Thanks!

Post like such, are lovely to add up to the humor:

Pinky: I'm newly wed :) Kindly teach me how to make half fried egg - I always break the yolk! I need to impress my in-laws... please help! xoxo

What actually reverberates in my mind reading them are the golden words of the traditional South Asian mothers:

"Aey Larki! Seekh lo kuchh khana pakana! Shadi ke baad kya hoga is larki ka!!"(Girl! Learn some cooking! What will you do after wedding!)

As a matter of fact, cooking is an art - and every art needs practise and diligence. To the dismay of all the good mothers in South Asia, this art is not being appreciated by some radical faction of our generation (or at least by some of those that I know of). Proving this statistically is cumbersome. When you ask the mothers, they would be found saying, "These kababs are made by my daughter, take some, and you did not take the apple pie! She made it by herself... and oh, I just forgot the Faluda, she's a master at such desserts!"

...And you can clearly see Agha Juice written on the Faluda glass...

What irks me, a potential husband to someone soon maybe, is that being a self-proclaimed cook, it will be tough to settle down with someone who has no love for this art, same goes for all my other brothers out there.

Cooking is an art. And this art needs to be loved, practised more, revived, focused upon and upheld!

Someone has said great words of motivation for this cause:

"If a woman is called to be a cook, she should cook food even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. She should make the dishes so well that all the in-laws and their guests will pause to say (to the Mother-In-Law), 'Where did you find her??' Find such a girl for my son as well!"

Bon apetite - dear fellows - who have wives who cook diligently.

Bon voyage - dear fellows - who don't.


Note: For those who smell male-chauvinism in my words: I am not a chauvinist. We all have our responsibilities, and we should do them well, just as Martin Luther King's actual words that I twisted above (original quote in the next line). And the fact remains, women are the home-makers all around the world- not men.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King Jr.


  1. So finally a blogger is doing good with words and paintings in kitchen ;)

    loved it bro!

  2. Well well.. thank you for the attention. I like it. Nothing like a pat of sarcasm to elevate a paragraph to a blog.
    Enjoyed this write up :)
    Ruhina Hashmi
    Foodi Admin

  3. I appreciate the fact that you are amongst very few men who realize and appreciate nicely cooked food, because preparing such a food requires effort.. a lot of effort..

    A eat-and-leave-the-table-and-watch-tv behavior demoralizes the cook.. this behavior might be common among men because they believe that it is duty of the lady of the house to cook good food and: "she should cook food even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry." lol ;)

    I enjoyed reading your post! :)