The part I like the most about cooking is the chopping of vegetables. I would like to claim that I am pretty good at this. As in, my pieces are even, and I get the job done fast. These are the two aspects of veggie cutting that are most important. Believe me, I have served as assistant cook, in charge especially of veggie chopping many many times with many many good (but quick to criticise) cooks. There are some small aspects such as not wasting too much of the veggie in the guise of peeling, ensuring removal of icky bits and bits with potential worms and such-like, good washing, etc. which are necessary but not sufficient characteristics to earn the Crown.
Although I don't like to eat it anymore, I absolutely adore cutting vegetables for Aviyal. Simply because it involves so many colours. And there is a definite requirement that they be evenly long cylinders in shape. I don't generally like unidimensional-ness. I am constantly interrupting myself and parallel processing. I have a million browser windows on all the time. I like my veggies mixed up, especially for colour.
All this is not to say that I don't enjoy, what some may think of as, the actual cooking. I do. My sister insists I enjoy it because I don't do it often enough. That is a possibility. But I have not yet figured that out. My single days of cooking don't count. My weekend forays to feed the love of my life don't count much. My Indian experience has generally involved a hired cook. My repertoire is not large and is shrinking rapidly. It is rather heavy on vegetables (possibly because of the love of chopping them!). The food itself is rather simple, and is unlikely to satisfy most picky people. I go easy on the spices as well, in honour of a husband whose lifetime of irregular eating habits is catching up with him, so to say. Overall, an honest rating of my food will be: Edible, but Blah.
Nevertheless, I enjoy the process. I get lost in the mist for hours. It relaxes me. Even the most hated task of cleaning up the counter after the task relaxes me. I had a rare opportunity to indulge myself last night. The cook was absent (huh). The husband is in Mumbai. That left the monster and yours truly. We switched on music. She does that herself, of course, as any self-respecting 5.5 year old would. We drew from a book called 'Learn to Draw Animals' - I made Leo the Lion; Chris the Cat; Tim the Tiger. She made Priyadarshini the Lioness & Christine the Cat. She struck my Chris off to say 'Chris the TomCat' - a term that she uses to refer to Male Cats while the rest of the world KNOWS its the Cruise-Holmes duo.
I made Sambar (Capsicum) & a Mixed Vegetable Subji (Beans, Carrots, Potatoes, Onions). She wanted Salad so we had that too in the mix (Cucumber, Carrots, Ginger, Lemon). I kept some plain Dhal aside for her. She ate in a glass bowl the size of my pinky finger. I had to feed her the last episode of dinner, i.e. curd. My evening jadoo-pocha person kindly did the dishes while I polished the counter to brilliance.
Loved the world.
Now the cook is back.