Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What I have learnt from MIL

I mostly learnt to cook by trial and error and parental phone guidance. I wish I had paid more attention at home when my mother had taken care of the food side of things :) But, whoever gained anything from crying over spilt milk, right? As some of you have noticed my absence from the scene, it was because we were trying to spend as much time as possible with my parents-in-law who were visiting us.

MIL too is an ardent cook ... she loves to cook not just for herself, but for sharing with everyone. And I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog that she enjoys food discussion and description! So, needless to say, I got to learn a lot many new recipes with her around. Infact she brought with her a cookbook in Hindi which I greedily grabbed. It has been such a long time (10 years to be specific) since I have properly read any form of Hindi. I used to be prolific reader of the language during my school days. Now, I will get a chance to rebuild my Hindi skills along with healthy cooking ideas. The book is titled (Translated for every one's benefit) - Health Reviving Dishes - Vegetarian Related. I also have a fresh supply of family recipes, which ofcourse I will try to share with you all in due course :)

Some other important cooking lessons that MIL has imparted on me

  • Reduce Wastage - This one is a biggie. In my daily rush to get done with dinner, I usually throw in what I find in the fridge. No proper planning into whats been there for how long or how leftovers can be used. With MIL here for these past months, I just cannot remember throwing out any edible item just because it went bad before it could be used. She had a plan of what to do with a vegetable or produce item when we bought it at the store. Also left overs were planned for accordingly. For example, today's leftover dal or cooked rice would be made into muthiya's for the next day's breakfast. Wastage also was not only in food items - I tend to be prolific in my use of plastic ziploc bags, paper towels etc. Since my habit is an easier and quicker option, it might be difficult to change. But I will certainly be concious about other alternatives before I lunge to grab another bag or paper towel :)
  • Importance of Breakfast - This is something I knew all along... that a good breakfast is a great start to the day. But, somehow never incorporated it in my lifestyle. Cooking up a hot breakfast means adding planning time, cooking time and extra washing time to the morning drill. So, I have usually avoided it in the past. When MIL was here, she would make it a point that we didn't leave without a hearty breakfast. She would make us hot jowar/bajra rotis. Just one at 8 in the morning would fill me up good until 12 or 1 in the afternoon. We have gone back to our cold cereal routine for now, but maybe I can practice speed-breakfast skills on weekends.