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When I forgot how to cook

October 25, 2011

I used to be a great cook. Ok, a burgeoning great cook. OK, I was pretty good at making about 10 dishes, and for a college student, that’s a 4-star chef.

Then I moved to India. I wanted to eat the foods I have always eaten- Turkey sandwiches, roasted veggies, general Mediterranean fare, broiled salmon (these are four of my, uhh, 10 things). But alas, ingredients I was used to, are hard to find. Ovens, don’t exist in your apartment unless you buy an un-attached one and plug it in to an outlet in the wall (weird…)

All that is OK, I probably would have gotten over it and figured out how to cook what I want in this land. Because come on, roasted veggies are roasted veggies in every country in the world, and a weird standalone oven is OK  if it means broiled salmon.

The real challenge is time. Commuting in Mumbai, takes an hour+ out of your day on either end of your trip. Do I EVER want to cook after I’ve been sitting in a cab for an hour and have the allure of the gym in front of me? Nope.

And the answer to this challenge? The availability of fantastic domestic help.

Having a cook is perhaps the most amazing luxury in the world.

I didn’t want one at first, as I saw no reason to employ someone to do something I rather enjoy doing myself. But the time crunch prevailed. There is nowhere near my office to procure a healthy lunch, and no way I have the ability to get out of work before the shops close to buy groceries for the next day’s lunch.

I know, boohoo. Young professionals the world over face this problem…. but also, they have SeamlessWeb…and still generally eat crap.

If I’m putting garbage into my body, it’s going to be diet coke. Not garbage food, mmmkay?

So enter my cook. Jagruti. I’ve been told numerous times by numerous people that I pay her too much. I think I pay her too little for all the awesome stuff she does for us, but that’s a discussion I’d rather leave to the Bombay Expats message board where everyone loves to yell and scream about paying their domestic help.

Jagruti….is sunshine. She cooks delish veggies and packs them up all neat and adorable in tiny little plastic boxes. She freaks out when I have stomach aches and for the past year has called me some combination of Maeve and “Maam” that I cannot imitate or even try to type. She brings me tea in bed!

But I get out of bed to let her in each morning. Then I get back in bed to receive my tea. It’s a strange dance. Reminding me of Michael Scott’s bacon-related injury:


“I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon- sue me- and since I don’t have a butler, I have to do it myself. So most nights before I go to bed I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman Grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious. It’s good for me. It’s the perfect way to start the day. Today I got up, I stepped onto the grill and it clamped down on my foot. That’s it. I don’t see what’s so hard to believe about that”

I enjoy receiving my tea in bed. So in the morning, at 7:30, I get up and let Jagruti in. Then I get back in bed and wait for her to knock on my door and wake me up, and ask if I want tea. I invariably say yes, but she always asks anyways. Then I wait patiently for the arrival of my tea in bed, and feel like an awesome princess for the ~12 minutes it takes to finish said tea and remember I still have to go to work today, even if I am a princess.

And for putting up with THAT, I will happily pay this woman as much as she wants.

Oh yeah, and because she makes this happen daily:

IMG00540-20111025-1245 (1)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kara permalink
    January 23, 2012 8:27 pm

    drunken cigarrettes? nooooooooo. break my public health heart.

    • January 24, 2012 4:18 am

      Edited! In 2012 I resolved not to succumb even when inebriated.

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