OK. Let me admit it – Cooking & I are NOT friends. Well not as bad as a Harry Potter- Draco Malfoy feud , I would say more like a Tom & Jerry – my relationship with cooking having a fair share of struggles, chasing & racing ( against time – aren’t the guests early? ), shortcuts, injuries, mishaps – You get the picture! I am a hatchling in a field where my mom & my father-in-law are veterans, my in-laws all enthusiastic foodies, my friends confident cooks in their own right and the worst of all – my HUSBAND who is one of the most intuitive & innovative cooks that I know of ( I rarely tell him this though – mostly I call him an arrogant Know-it-All ) Among this formidable group, it was only my dad who gave me much needed comfort ( My brother doesn’t even count in this category) – the number of times he has entered the kitchen to cook can be counted on my fingers. Now imagine my surprise when he told me, in all seriousness mind you, that he is going to give mom a rest & take up cooking after his all-too-near impending retirement. Ha! was my first reaction and one that turned to resignation & now to amused curiosity as appa continues to spread news of his intended occupation. I mean, the closest he has come to cooking (except for the time when ma wasn’t there and he used to make yummy aloo kai and passable kozhumbu-rasam 🙂 ) is procuring recipes & tips from various sources & prod ma to escape the shackles of her heritage cooking! ( She has borne it stoically all these years) Of course, nowadays, as a prelude to his taking up full time cooking, he has perfected the recipe for his own brand of Cinnamon Tea! ( Here, I must say, it is quite good) So, am I going to have to add him to my formidable list? Maybe I could teach him a thing or two? (!) Whatever happens – appa’s trials in the kitchen will definitely be something to look forward to. Who knows- maybe the two of us novices together can give the veterans a run for their – shall we say, kadhais in this case? Ma- are you listening?