I hate to cook. I think it’s very boring and worse still, there’s shopping for groceries. YUCK! This was all new to me when I came to live in Karachi, since there was no mummy, and no African girls in the shared flat whose motherly instincts I could prey on. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have to do this if there was a Kenyan girl in the house. (…I said it…)
Oh, how much fun is picking ripe tomatoes! Wow! I just can’t wait for shopping time! yyyyyaaaayyy!! Isn’t it fascinating how tomatoes and potatoes all have different shapes? Oh boy oh boy! It’s so much fun; you know, you put on your best clothes, make a list of all the vegetables you need (from your distant memories of time spent in the kitchen read walking through the kitchen), and then you go out with such anticipation! And what do you find? ALL THESE VEGETABLES!! I am pretty sure I have never EVER seen some of them,wow! This is just like watching NATGEO! Learning is sooo much fun, isn’t it kids?! In my first weeks I learnt that I shouldn’t boil ‘fruit-I-thought-was-vegetable’ and never to buy whatever that ‘fruit-i-thought-was-vegetable’ again! It tasted like someone’s wet handkerchief. Mucusy! Slurp.
You get the point, there are other activities that I’d pick over grocery shopping, including going hungry. I guess it’s not soooo useful that I never remember the price from week to week, and I sometimes forget from where I bought the damned vegetables in the first place, and whether the dirty guy that also sells live chicken is more expensive than the friendly guy who teaches me some Urdu and then rips me off (probably charging me for the lessons with each mini-cabbage I buy).
My scanty Urdu is of no use when the bill should be 50 rupees and in the spirit of practicing a new language (mzungu tendencies much?) I tell him that I will only pay 100 rupees (thinking I am saying 40 rupees). The price quickly escalates to 70, where we then go about trying to bring the price back down to 50 rupees. I end up paying 60 rupees…sigh
So it’s taken me 4/5 months to discover canned food and pre-cooked chapattis. I eat those things like im looking for some kwashaikor…but I also have some culinary creativity, and I am seriously considering patenting my latest creation. It’s called the ‘CHEEPARI’ – a wonderful combination of cheese and chapati. I also have a system for buying vegetables, just buy enough to last 2 weeks and forget that story. You have to be careful though, lest your vegetables actually start growing on each other in the fridge. I saw that happen after a month between a carrot and an onion, I don’t know what was growing on what but it looked dangerous…ghastly stuff. I also recently discovered the magic of mushrooms and tomatoe paste and other secret ingredients like salt.
It will take a while, but I’ll get there, or maybe I’ll just get married.