Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chew on this... The Gastronomy of Marraige

Last Sunday I arrived back from a day trip to Bangalore, exhausted but on a foodie high. I had spent the day with my friend Uma, one of the best cooks and even better bakers in the world. I am unable to even make chapatis so bakers go on a special pedestal for me) in the world. The house was quiet, it was past 1:00, the kids were asleep, Aman tangled into an indicipherable mess of blanket, bedsheets and bakugaans. And tiny Natasha, gently snoring and sweetly sprawled over her father. And my darling husband who had endearingly tried to fight sleep and stay awake for me but obviously lost the battle the moment his head touched the pillow. As usual!

I went to unpack and put away the food I had brought back, a mess of delicious new things Uma had pressed on me; a dozen deliicious Legume buns she had baked that morning, from a signature recipe she charmed out of an artisnal baker in Paris, smoked chillies from Mexico, smoked Monteray jack cheese from a new Indian cheese maker - I was already thinking of a pasta in a spicy smoked cheese sauce, and Thai chillies and avacados from her local supermarket. As I went to put the last in the fruit basket next to the bananas I saw the buns in the microwave. S had baked them that afternoon.

I remembered the mms I had recieved earlier in the day, a picture of buns and sausage rolls that he had baked and his excited call afterwards. His voice positively thrummed with life, at the afternoons worth of baking. And again, I was full of reverance. You see, I am bread challenged. I cannot make bread, not even rotis. That I have found a world of substitutes is a story for another day. Today I have another theme to talk about.

Its funny how a stray sentance or action sometimes becomes the theme of ones thought sometimes. I was reading a charming food memoir called The Gastronomy of marriage, on the plane. Not an earth-shaking book (in fact I find myself skimming bits in places) but still a tangible, very warm, human exploration, of hurdles - similarities and differences - that couples overcome going from being individuals to couples in the context of one of the most basic of experiences: the sharing of food.

And standing there with that plate of rolls in front of me I found myself looking at my marriage in the same context. I have often said that S completes me, but just how much, he completes me came to me at that moment.

We are opposites in so many ways; he is organised, I am chaos personified, he likes mithai, I trip on gourmet chocolate, he likes parathas, I cant make rotis to save my life, he is the logical, practical half to my emotional, impulsive opposite. And in this we complement each other. And he is both my strongest supporter and biggest critic. And he BAKES bread and makes rotis. He also safeguards my image as a mom because on Pizza nights he does the bases and I do the sauce, when we wrap, he will make the wraps and I do the fillings, he makes fab dosas I do delish sambhar and tonight I would do pasta to complement his bread!

S has eaten through my One bowl dish years - the years when as a new bride I would cook one bowl dinners - pasta, lasagna, pulao, fried rice, noodles, casseroles anything that ensured a minimum of work and vessels to wash. He survived my Thai high, that phase in my life as a cook when I was obsessed with Thai and cooked it EVERY week.

And even if he didn't eat everything I cook without complaint, wash bartans because I hate to, chop onions because he can't bear to see me cry or wake me up with big cups of fresh brewed filter coffee, the fact that he bakes, makes him the perfect husband....

Oh hell who am I kidding, I would chose to marry him again a million times over, regardless!!!

Did you have interesting changes happen in the way you eat after you met you other half??? Do share your stories in the comments below...

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Vidya said...

Yup, Almost like your S, other half used and still does cook better than I do..I used to avoid, vegetables, dishes with garlic tadka and was almost potatotarian..Now I am into eating and trying to cook better food all because of him..and he too has suffered through numerous trials of slow cooking and other gastronomic ordeals coz of experiments on my part..I totally understand where this blog came from and thanks for voicing it for me ...

pragati said...

hi..i totally loved your blog. My story is a little different and yet the same. My hubby isnt a foodie at all and I am totally in love with food and cooking. But being a lovable husband he has promised me to eat everything i make, however experimental it is. His never ending support and encouragement gives me the boost to tolerate all the heat and sweat while cooking..even though it may not turn out the most delicious delicacy. Its even more encouraging because he can easily choose his mums food..someone who has perfection ed over the years of cooking.. So i guess it is Marriage that makes us both go !