If there was ever a dish named I Don’t Know, I would be cooking it for almost every meal, every day…but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist and I am left with the dilemma of what to cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Here’s a typical conversation that happens in our home and I bet in most of your homes too:
Me: What shall I cook for ——————- (fill in the blank with any meal of the day)
Mr. P: I don’t know, anything is fine. I’ll eat whatever you make.
Me: OK, shall I make ——–?
Mr. P: Hmm…no, I don’t feel like having that.
Me: OK, what else should I make?
Mr. P: I don’t know!!!
If you ask me what has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced during the past nine months, I would immediately say it has been to decide what to cook everyday. It may sound trivial and I know it is silly to complain when there are so many people around the world scrambling to get even one meal on the table for their families. Call it a first world problem, but it is a problem anyhow.
Those of you who know me, know that I love to cook and honestly, it is easier to cook three meals a day than decide what to cook. During the pre-pandemic days (gosh, that sounds so far away now), breakfast was an easy affair. Mr. P would have a smoothie with almond milk and some fruit and I would either have the same thing or make myself oatmeal if I did not have to go out in the morning. For almost a month or more into the work-from-home season, we continued the routine interspersed with bread a couple of times a week. We noticed that our bread consumption went up a lot and decided to curb it a bit. But after that, the craving for warm breakfasts began and intensified as it started getting colder in the mornings. The first resort was eggs, but how many times a week can you eat an omelette or scrambled eggs? I talk to my parents every morning and even they started getting bored of our egg breakfast! After a while, we started having South Indian breakfasts but even with that, my options were limited owing to our (read as Mr. P’s) many dislikes.
I have noticed that some people buy vegetables/groceries with a clear meal plan for the week. Here, I open the refrigerator at about 11.00 or 11.30 and stare at it for a few minutes to figure out what is in there and what can be made with those ingredients. But lunch has been relatively easier, because I can get away with making rice or rotis, a gravy and maybe some vegetable. We managed to have salads on many afternoons throughout the summer, but now it is mostly steaming hot rice and its accompaniments.
Dinners are a whole different story. We typically don’t eat rice at night, so if I use up one of the tiffin options in the morning, then I have to rack my brain again to come up with something for dinner (the unwanted pressure that comes with being labeled as a good cook ;-)). Luckily though, the dinner menu options are a little more expansive because I can squeeze in North Indian and Mexican (mostly quesadillas) to the routine South Indian varieties. For the past few weeks, I have introduced soups, which are perfect for chilly evenings. Also, we weren’t buying take out for the initial months of the pandemic, but have started venturing out a bit now. So, an occasional meal from outside comes as a relief, a change of flavors and a break from having to nag him while trying to decide what to make.
I am done with my rant for now… and am ready to learn what you all have been doing to maintain your sanity while trying to bring a variety to your every day cooking?
P.S. This post was written purely a rant and has no intention of stimulating your taste buds and creating hunger pangs. if they do, I am not responsible.