Friday, February 13, 2009

The Chores of Life

If there were a competition for being undemanding (household wide) V would take the Olympic Gold medal by a fair few miles and without a whisker of a doubt. In our household division of labour is such that he will do everything that is asked of him, including but not limited to – laundry (incl. wash and iron his own office shirts if need be), maintain all accounts/ financial gobbled-gook, be the gardener and provider of takeway/ delivery service food and organize all gadget things.

I, on the other hand, have only one task besides supervising our very slow cleaner once a week and that is the task of making sure we have sometimes healthy and always tasty food to eat. It’s a good thing given the situation that I actively love food and that V can scrape together toast or order in pizza on days when I don’t. To say I love food is a bit of an understatement. For me it’s not just looking at an array of photogenically arranged plates of the stuff and pouring though my collection of cookbooks, but the act of preparing, cooking and eating it all with relish. No chore is this in my mind.

One of my slightly OCD things is the planning of meals for a week ahead. On Friday’s or Saturdays I will make up a menu plan (in my head) for the coming week which will include dinners for the two of us from Monday to Friday. The menu plan basically leads to a quick check for existing ingredients in fridge/ freezer/ cupboards – all of which are stocked with a monthly home delivery run, at which time a vague menu is usually swirling around in my head. And then each week comes the quick grocery update list, usually not more than one canvas bag of groceries from our nearest Tesco/ Waitrose, enough to complement our existing groceries and come up with a week of meals.

Friday dinner is always an iffy one with last minute plans to eat out either by ourselves or with friends, rendering any forward planning useless. But Monday to Thursday is usually sacrosanct and followed to the T. While sometimes there are aberrations due to exhaustion or alternate office commitments and often there are just leftovers, this is rare. Not many people do but I enjoy the quiet of coming home early from work, turning on the TV for some background noise or putting on some music while I spin around the kitchen organising our dinner. People call me weird. I call me hungry.

Our weekends are usually made up of multiple meals outside (restaurants, people’ houses) and one home cooked meal which could be as complex as multi-layered slow-cooked Lasagna or as simple as a packet of Maggie noodles doused in ketchup, masala chili and Tabasco. I spend all week thinking of and researching where we could/ will go in this city of a million restaurants. And this week, after a week of: 1. bhindi, kaali dal, aloo with rotis 2. Mushroom fettuccini with garlic bread 3. Mostly home-made pizza and 4. Baked potatoes with salad, I’m ready for the weekend….bring it on!

There is such a fine line between enjoying something and finding it an unappetizing chore. I have read time and again on blogs and in books, of people who can’t/ won’t cook because for them it is a waste of good evening time and space or they don’t enjoy it or someone else is happy to do it for them or they can afford to both physically and financially eat out all the time. Sadly we have neither the stomach nor money nor energy for that lifestyle. And gladly one of us is happy to cook. And luckily both of us are always always happy to eat.


  1. Anonymous4:39 AM

    A lovely post (that stranglely made my mouth water). M and I both like to cook and tend to cook each and every night despite having heavy work loads and working late. We also start the weekend menu planning for the whole week and then making up grocery lists. M in particular spends much of his meagre spare time with his head stuck in a cookbook. The bottom line? We simply love food.

  2. I've been wanting to do the planning ahead and grocery shopping in advance thing for the longest time, but still haven't gotten around to doing it. Hopefully this post will inspire me to. Loved it.

  3. I definitely am in the lot of those who hate to cook. Thankfully, I live in a place where I can afford to have someone else do it for me.

    But recently, I have been scouring the cookbooks in an attempt to diversify our family palate. When I find something I like, I translate it into Hindi and hand over to the cook....

  4. Hi there!

    loved your blog, just discovered it this weekend and read through it- could identify with it..

    keep writing

  5. Anonymous10:51 PM

    I enjoy cooking, and would do it every day if i had the time. what i haven't mastered yet though is planning the menu in advance. i do stuff on the fly, which in turn means that some days we end up ordering pizza or eating frozen food.

    BTW, the balance of chores in our home is the same. HG does pretty much everything and i redeem myself by cooking good meals every once in a while.

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  7. I wish I could be more organised with meal planning. Although I'm more intrigued by how you gt V to be so accommodating??

  8. PH: Yes, even the thought of food or reading recipes makes me drool!

    Shub: Inspired yet?

    Ro: To each his/ her own I say! Does it translate well, via language and a diffferent style of cooking?

    Jui: Thanks! Can't seem to read your blog though unless I get an invite?!

    Chakli: Yes, I would say its a good thing we enjoy cooking then if thats the trade for everything else.

    Annie: I think you posted your comment by mistake meaning it for Mallika at Quick Indian Cooking.....

  9. Anonymous2:26 AM

    Nice post..I have tried a million times to plan my cooking the week ahead. Never works, or when I plan, I change my mind - because on the day, I will feel like eating something else. Nice to know there's someone who manages to get it done. I am inspired..:)