Chef-in-Waiting

It is my considered opinion that a sure sign of maturity, and by extension adulthood, is the sinking realisation of how little one actually knows. Especially about oneself.

Growing up, my mum ordained that everyone has to help out at home. She was firmly of the opinion that just because I went to school and my dad went to work, doesn’t mean that we are absolved from making a contribution to housework. Of course, she too worked most of her life, and ran a business for the greater part.

Of course, as a youngster, I detested housework. I was a spoilt brat, being brought up in a country [UAE] where there are servants for everything. And when I mean everything, I mean EVERYTHING. But of all the chores I hated, cooking and cleaning was by far the worst.

There was a common thread to my hatred; one gets messy when cooking and when cleaning. Neither is a comfortable occupation, wherein hands stay clean, hair stay coiffed, clothes stay neat, and so on. You get the drift.

But cooking had the worst rap. I was a raging feminazi when I was young, railing and ranting against all things “feminine”. I didn’t really need to be, because neither of my parents discriminated between girls and boys. I was never told that I couldn’t X, Y, or Z because I was a girl. Those diktats were contingent on safety and sense, the latter of which I severely lacked.

Cooking for me was anathema. I hated the concept of it. To be fair, I was a poor eater at the time, thanks to an undiagnosed allergy to capsaicin, aka the main enzyme in chillies, aka the main ingredient in Indian food, aka the food of my people. I hated cooking. I helped my mother in the kitchen most unwillingly, and was generally a pain about it.

I also loudly declared that I would marry a chef, and the bugger could cook for me. [Feminazi behaviour lends itself to extreme oversimplifications and hypocrisy.]

My father used to chuckle quietly, and my mother dismissed my antics with a sage: “Famous last words.” I was infuriated. How could she think she knew what I would want so far into the future, better than I did? I railed and ranted some more.

Turns out, she was right. I love cooking. This morning, the both of us disappeared into the kitchen together, and I reminded her of that ranty child. We both laughed, and I hugged her tight. Of course she knows me best. It is one of the reasons I love her so very much.

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