For the first 20 years of my life, I made no attempt to learn cooking, brushing aside my mother’s dire threats and warnings with a casual shrug. Then I got married and entered the real world.
Three days after my wedding, my mother in law had to go away in the morning.
Before leaving, she told me, “Cook the rice and keep it ready.”
“How much rice to cook?” I asked shivering all over.
She pointed to an utensil on the kitchen counter and said, “In that vessel, about 250 grams.
Seeing my bewildered look, she pointed to the kitchen cupboard and said,” the measuring cup is in there.”
Then she was gone.
I was alone in the kitchen, like a babe in the woods. It was in the days before rice cookers came into vogue. People boiled the rice in abundant water and drained away the water after it was cooked. I was going to carry out that feat, alone.
“250gms of rice. Okay how difficult was it going to be to measure that.” I said to myself trying to be confident. I opened the cupboard and I gaped.
I took all the three down and scrutinized each, like an archeologist or scientist might have done a dinosaur egg fossil.
“Now which was the 250 gms, the big, the bigger, or the biggest cup?”
I gauged the volume of the vessel in which my mother in law had asked me to cook the rice. It seemed big enough and so I settled on the second measuring glass.
The water was set to boil. I cleaned the grain as I had seen my mother do, on the rare occasions when I had stepped into the kitchen. I dumped the rice into the boiling water, feeling pleased as punch.
I stood in the kitchen surveying my first attempt at the culinary arts simmering on the stove. The rice started to boil. Then it frothed and bubbled and began to overflow out of the pot.
The darn vessel was too small for the rice to cook in. Cooked rice was spilling out the pot, all over the stove, making an unholy mess.
I was in jitters. I pulled out a big serving spoon and started to scoop out the rice as it boiled over and threw it into the dustbin.
I had to repeatedly throw away spilt rice, till the remaining rice in the pot was fully cooked
There was more rice in the waste bin than in the receptacle. I cleaned up the mess as best as I could and hoped my mother in law would never find out.
When my mother in law came back, and saw the cup I had used to measure the grain she asked in a shocked voice:
“Did you measure with this? This is a ½ Kg measuring cup.
And you cooked ½ kg rice in THAT small pot?” she exclaimed looking at the container I had used to cook the rice. Looking at me suspiciously like a police investigator she asked:
“Surely half the rice would have boiled out of the vessel!”
PS: I am not going to elaborate on what happened after that. Suffice to say, my mother in law trained me in the kitchen from that day onwards and I cook reasonably well now.
Story By: Mahmoodha. Written By: GUlsum Basheer@talkalittledo