May 24, 2010

Oh My Grand Mom ...

This question has been haunting me for a long long time and hence I thought I can pen it down here, I know I may be kicking a storm by penning this, but I am open for debates. This article does not intend to hurt or harm anyone's ego and as we all know there is something called truth which is always bitter to digest. Ok without giving any more gyaan, let me dive into the topic. I am a person who has been brought up by my grandma who is now 87 years old, one thing that immediately strikes anyone's brain when we talk about grand mom’s is, their cooking, of course they are seasoned veterans who have tried their hands on cooking from the good old days where the mixies, gas stoves, grinders, cookers and other sophisticated equipments barged into our kitchen and obviously their cooking style is old fashioned, but the kind of taste they add to the items they make is something beyond words to explain here, so the question that I have been asking myself is, will this modern age women be able to step into the shoes of those grand ladies of the past ? Will there be a next generation who can take pride of their grannies and their culinary skills? I know, already few women readers are grinding their teeth now and I am not done yet...

I could hear screams which says - "You need an educated women, you want her to work, you want her to earn money, you want her to bring up you children in a well mannered way, you want her to take care of your parents, you want her to be totally isolated from her family and friends and you want her to cook three meals a day and up and above all these you want her to satisfy your sexual needs" ok ok ok, agreed, but think for a moment, other than going to work and earning money, our good old grand ladies too have done all the above listed tasks with ease and they never cribbed. Today the scenario is like this, most of the couple live alone and they just visit their parents once in a while, and what has happened now is, even an additional one r two people to the house, we treat that as burden, we feel irritated to cook additional stuffs for them, we fear that there would be more vessels to wash after that, so even a slightest amount of extra work would seem to be a humongous task, but remember our grand old ladies were living in a "joint" family culture where there will be a minimum of 20 people in a house, of course the quality of sperms were much higher than what it is today and hence they had more siblings, even then our grandma's prepared more food, washed more vessels and of course gave birth to more babies. So what is that which makes today's women more different than them?

I know girls who have hardly seen kitchen in their own house, if mom goes out for a function they just order a pizza and take cautious efforts to increase the flab’s around their hips to increase by an inch and never forgets to drink a diet coke after that. If they happen to get old and if they have grand children, what is that they have to pass on to them other than the phone number of the near by pizza corner? Today my granny makes so much of delicious stuffs which not many working women of this time knows that they even exist. How many of the modern girls know how to put karuvadaam, maavadu, maagaali, kothavarangaa vathal, more molagaa, manathakaali and all, I am sure most of today's generation would be searching for a dictionary to even know the meaning of those. I am not saying that girls should always be owning the kitchen and they are only useful to cook, no don't read me wrong and don't stamp me or this post as a male chauvinistic one, I am so happy and proud to see that today's women have come up so well and they even out smart guys in many different fields, all I am trying to ask is, what will happen to those undocumented secrets of cooking which our grandma's have today and will that be lost and forgotten forever in the coming generations ?

Ok here is a questionnaire for those who want to take up this challenge

1. What is the best method to check if a jaggery is melted to its utmost consistency? It is neither too hard nor too soft?
2. What should one do to take away the smell of "over heating" from a particular food or a vessel?
3. What would be the easiest way to take off the extra salt that you have added in a curry or a sambar or rasam etc ? Don' tell me I will add sugar ... ;)
4. What should one do to keep raw banana's to remain white even after it’s been cut and kept outside ?
5. What should one do to keep their hands safe from itching when cutting yam ?

I know what you guys are asking me ? What if we don't know all these ? Is the earth gonna crash ? Well, for sure it is not going to crash, but at the same time these are just handy tips which would be of great use if we know them. In today's world where vegetables are neatly cut, packed and refrigerated, all you need is just MONEY and you need not have any skill, I agree to that, and as we all know "necessity is the mother of invention". Forget grandmas, will your child be proud enough to say that "My mom is a best cook ?", are the girls of this era even care about that phase of their life ? They are fortunate enough to have mom's / grand mom’s who can make delicious stuffs and serve it on the plate to them, but it is a worrying factor that they cannot do that to their kids, and eating a plate of bajji served by your mom or granny is very tasty and different from eating it at a nearby hotel where it is served by a server. Money cannot buy everything in this world. I was shocked to hear from one of my friends sister that she just knows how to boil water, again nothing wrong in it, but what kind of life she is gonna have after the period of her parents are over ? What kind of food she can provide to her kids and keep them healthy ? Forget the super instant remedies our granny's have in their hand for any vomiting, or stomach pain or fever or gastric irritation, first let’s learn the basics from those living universities.

Today the economy is in such a bad shape that it needs two horses to pull the family cart and hence today's women are forced to work, and nothing wrong in it, but at the same time, we all know that husband's can no more be the only commanding officer in his house and get things done at their finger tips, they should be an integral part in the family like a clock wheel, so that being said, doesn't he have the responsibility to share the kitchen chores ? Doesn’t he be knowledgeable enough to keep rice or sambar ? The answer would be a straight YES and I don't deny it. But as you all know, this society has always termed a man as the "bread winner" of his family and the women a "meal maker" and this is not something to defame women, it is actually a pride, cooking is an art and it cannot be mastered by all, and the reason why GOD has given that special skill to a women is, they are the ones who can execute that art with ease, as they are genetically more patient than a man. I know we are losing so many good things in life unknowingly, but let's make an attempt to revive the art of cooking which is slowly and steadily getting erased from many homes, with the amount of growing fast foods, eateries, ready to eat stuffs and frozen foods, culinary skill may soon be seen as a very rare skill set and an profitable one too.

So let me make it clear one more time, I am not against women getting out of the kitchen or they achieving so many great things in life, I was just asking a question of what our grand sons and grand daughters will have to say or talk about us, the way we keep talking with pride about our granny's and grandpa's. Will this new Information Technology savy grand mom's and grand dad's will have anything for their credibility / worth to be proud off in future ? Think ...

6 SAID FROM THE HEART:

Chan said...

Idhellam seri, get the answers for the questions you have asked, after marriage myt be useful to you(only). And, well...dont forget to share...we need it too :-P

lavanya said...

let me make an attempt i am not sure if its right just giving it a shot.
1) its the 1 or 2 string consistency depending on the dish/ or take a small quantity of it & put it in cold water it should form a soft ball.

2)vessel may b wash it with lemon skin. food i dont know

3) i think for this let it boil for sometime with pieces of potato

4) should cut them & put it into water or water mixed with butter milk.

5)apply coconut oil before touching the yam

let me know if its correct

Amrita said...

Satish, I did not understand the emotion behind the post. If it was a rant against todays women not giving weightage to cooking, then I think, it should have been a straightforward rant against it. You were trying to be diplomatic and at the same time critical.
I will just have one rebuttal - DO not judge a woman by how she cooks. I never stepped into the kitchen till I started working, but now I can make a group lick their plates dry. See shylu, how shes picking it up. It all depends on SITUATIONS. A grand ma can be a LOUSY cook, but she can teach her grandchildren to be self confident, God fearing and respectful. I think that is much much much more important than dishing out tasty bhajjis or murukus.

I wish you had given these aspects a bit of thought before holding FOOD as the thing of highest importance. You did not seem chauvinistic Satish, you just seemed very typical.

Ps. I am being utterly frank in my comment. Sorry if i sounded hurtful.

The Talkative Man said...

Ans to #3 is easy: put a whole potato in it, the iron in the skin will absorb the sodium

#1-ban on sweets in my home. #5 - never used yam.
#2 and #4 why even let it happen in the first place? Changing the taste or appearance may be possible but what about the nutrients involved?

All in all, much of the post is Not applicable for me, as Mrs.TTM and I eat usually uncooked oil-free raw veggies/fruit/nuts : Preparation time < 10min and Nutrient loss < 10%

Lavanya Sriram said...

Sat, neeye rendu side um pesariye ?
working girl pressure puriyardhu nu solre but challenge um panre ?

same answers as lavanya said above for 1, 4 and 5.

And btw, inspired by your summer post, i put maavadu last month for the first time :). You see, even you can inspire :) not just grand ma's

chennaigirl said...

I second Lavanya.
Actual ah ippothaan romba easy, we can get everything at the click of the mouse. Even the answers for ur questions.
previous generations kku paneer butter masala ve therinjirukkathu (unga paattikku kooda ippothaan therinjirukkum) bt now all amma are striving hard and exploring to give varieties to the kids.
Minnadi yellam their only job is to cook, take care of the household and ethana per vanthu kids ah okkathi vechu paadam solli kuduthirukkanga sollunga, bt today its not like that, we are required to spend time with the child - academics, extra-curriculars etc. so we tend to save the time and put more productivity in terms of the development of the children avvalavuthaaan. Nenacha entha dish venumnaalum pannalaaam , athuvum with the help of modern technology
Sorry for the long comment :)

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