The paradox of cooking

My space in refrigerator is filled with fresh vegetables I have just bought from ALDI’s. This moment is happy, cherish-able, for it only comes once or twice in a month when I decide to take an hour promenade to the supermarket and buy groceries for the coming two weeks. I have been fantasizing about this moment for quite sometime now, ever since the thought of making pav bhaji had crossed my mind about a week ago.

I have never made Pav Bhaji before. However, my lack of experience doesn’t decrease my motivation. In fact, it fuels my curiosity.

Everything has to go perfect. So I watch the recipe video on YouTube again for (one hundred and) eleventh time and officially commence the mission.

Step one: Chop the cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and put them all into the pressure cooker.

This dish is not a quick fix. I need to chop onions, tomatoes and bell peppers as well. I need to make garlic and ginger paste. Lots of cooking time – I am beginning to sweat. Have I made the right decision? Am I committed enough?

A voice speaks from within, “When I said we will eat Pav Bhaji. That’s what we do – We eat it. After making it.”

The pressure cooker is whistling and I am almost done with the knife work. I switch off the stove, put the pressure cooker away and wait for the steam to settle down inside it.

I put a pan on the stove, some vegetable oil, add onions and saute it till it’s golden and translucent.Then, I add the chopped pieces of bell pepper. After a few minutes, I add tomatoes along with–

Why am I writing this? This is not a recipe book!

Add salt according to taste.Cook it on the medium fla–

This is embarrassing. Stop it!

Alright. As it turns out, dear reader, making this dish is not complicated at all. Yes, it takes time but you should be okay. It took me about two hours but the end result is good. Bhaji looks delicious and it smells nice. I taste it. I add some salt. I taste it again. Add some salt. Taste it once more. Add a little more salt. It’s ready.

My dream lunch is right in front of me, smiling back in pride and whispering, “Eat me!”

I am flattered. “I could have been a chef,” I remark, immediately adding, “a very bad one.” I transfer the content of pan to a nice transparent bowl. How perfect it looks! I click a photo. I don’t post it because I have better things to do (like spend several hours writing weird things on it later). I put the bowl in the fridge, leave the kitchen without touching the food.

As it turns out, I am not hungry anymore.