A lot of people think I exaggerate when I say I can't cook but I really didn't know the concept of making 'masala', which is the basic step of most desi dishes, till a few months ago. If you told me to make aalu gost, you'd get aalu and gosht doing butterfly strokes in a pool of water and you'd probably need a straw to consume that delicacy.
Like all responsible parents, mine had also tried to make me learn. But because I was never interested in cooking, it became a 'I'm only supposed to do it because I'm a girl!' wali zidd for me. The hormones of that age couldn't see that if they were raising me as per the stereotypical gender roles, they wouldn't have let me do a lot of other things in life that they did. They just wanted me to learn a basic life skill but I managed to evade. There was the cafeteria when I lived in dorms and there was a cook who served home cooked meals with taazi roti at the company's guest house when I worked in a different city. Basically, shauq kabhe tha nahe aur zaroorat kabhe pari nahe.
I was the person who'd volunteer for an impromptu presentation to senior management but tell me someone was coming over for tea and I wouldn't know what to do with my life.
Phir Allah ne husband esa dae diya who can live on eggs and beans forever. He'd cook whatever he could but he's no Gordon Ramsay either. Aur tou aur, bacha also took after his baba. I take a lot of pride in the fact that Aleyan has devleoped good eating habits but Allah maaf kare for the weirdest combinations of food I fed him. I guess keeping their expectations low from the start helps 🙈
But as Aleyan grew, this nagging feeling of wanting to take better care of my family also grew. Moving to Toronto meant we didn't have the kind of ready-to-eat halal food options that we did in Jeddah and that, coupled with the craving for ghar ka khaana when you're far from home, became the final push for me to get my act together!
The sabzi you see in the second picture may be the easiest thing to make for most. But for me, it's been a true labour of love. I still have a long way to go but from seeing lentils and spices floating around in the name of daal, only I know how far I've come 😎