Why I need a cook
Bayda Bai the cook has gone home on leave. Not only has this left me in charge of the kitchen but it has also left me with the realisation that I need a cook.
But I don’t need a live-in or full time cook because we don’t really eat all the time. Yes, we do spend more than half the day doing other things like sleeping, reading, writing, walking, working and other things that one does when one is not eating.
Surprisingly, I like to cook. This is because I like to eat. But I don’t eat just anything and all the time. I only eat the things I like to eat. However, cooking every day can become a drag especially when our food factory starts at 6 am. That’s when we all wake up and start in the direction of the kitchen to have our morning wake up brew. ( Mine is coffee while the rest of the household has various teas – some Chinese, some Indian and some Green)
Even before this unearthly hour, the kitchen light comes on and Bayda is busy boiling the milk, chopping the fruit and making oatmeal into porridge and pancake. She is also busy boiling an egg and brewing a huge pot of tea.
While the breakfast is underway, she is busy getting ready for the first lunch box that has to be packed before 8.30 am. After this is done, she makes the lunch and or dinner for the rest of the household. Between 1 and 4, our kitchen is officially closed and the only reason we venture in its direction is to get a glass of water or raid the stash of biscuits/nibbles for a quick snack.
At 4 we all go through another round of teas and coffees before we start discussing what we would like to eat for dinner.
Then from 6-10 begins the preparation, serving and clearing up after dinner.
Having done this for the past one month, I am now quite exhausted.
Looking for a part time cook
Lest you get the impression that Bayda Bai does all this unaided, let me correct you. She has a sous chef who is otherwise her boss i.e. me or Yours Truly. While she does the grunt work, it is often left to me to provide the gourmet touches.
Undoubtedly, our meals have become more simple since Bayda Bai has gone with everyone’s wish list whittling down to the basics. Gone are the varieties of teas and different kinds of oatmeal. Gone too are the multiple spoons and forks that were laid out at each meal. Instead we have become terribly pedestrian and actually help ourselves from the kitchen and make multiple trips to the kitchen for more. Needless to say, the urge for a second helping has miraculously vanished .
It would seem that we are all better off without a cook. We are eating less. We are eating healthy. And we are eating fresh.
Besides within a week or two Bayda Bai will return back with better vision than before since she has had her lenses implanted.
But I still need a cook – at least a part time one so that the next time she goes on leave, I don’t have to double up as cook, waiter, shopper, cleaner and doer of other household chores like laundry, baby sitting, chauffeuring and banking. I thought a part time cook would be a great long term solution.
So I put out the word that I was looking for a part time cook.
As with all jobs, I had a job profile and a list of prospective candidates. I also had a list of questions. But I was shocked that instead of the cooks, it was ME who was being interviewed!
The questions I was asked were :
How many people live in your house?
When I mentioned the number, they would cautiously look around just incase there was someone else I hadn’t accounted for.
How many dishes do you want me to make?
When I mentioned that our normal meal consisted of rice, chapati, vegetables and daal, they were horrified!
How many meals do you want me to make?
I expected them to make two meals because that is precisely what I do.
So does that mean you want to make twice the quantity at one time or two different menus?
In our home with its erratic eating patterns this is a hard one to answer. Whatever it was, my family expected two wholesome meals twice a day.
These women were aghast when I mentioned that they had to clear up and wash the cooking utensils after they were done cooking. They were horrified when I told them that meals should be ready before lunch time ( we serve lunch at noon). But what shocked me was the fact that they wanted a salary of Rs.10,000/- for a mere 1 1/2 hour job!
Am I delusional or is Rs. 10,000/ a month the right salary for a part time cook?