Toss the veggies and stir up a fry, bring the lentils to a boil, chop till you get the finest slices of the bell peppers, heat the unsalted butter in a skillet, fry the onions till they turn a hint of golden-brown, and all the while watching for consistency. Season with salt and a dash of pepper, and then pour yourself a glass of wine to wash it all down.
What you just went through was a page out of the diary of a chef. A world where fantasies of melted cheese and garnished toppings make love with crisp marinades and velvety dipping sauces. Cooking up a storm for practically every occasion in sight, these are a breed of people who are by default, everyone’s favourite ones to have around. They can make magic out of a board of mundane veggies and succulent delights from the items on the grocery list. But there’s also a question that needs the answers.
Cooking during the lockdown: A stress buster
While not solely pertaining to the master chefs in luxury five stars, who are paid a hefty five figure for doling out dishes by the second, this piece is about all those who are crazy about cooking, as a passion. Ever since the lockdown began, overnight, every second person on the gram turned into a chef! With home pages filled with images to serve as proof for their skills, and WhatsApp stories reflecting recipes, cooking was the new ‘in’ thing. This is an effective stress buster, as quoted by Tribune India. Desperate times call for desperate measures! While some have resorted to cooking, others have resorted to eating! If you’re looking to get rid of the built-up anxiety, these are foods you can have to feel a tinge better.
What has the lockdown meant for chefs?
However, there is a set of people out there, who loved cooking as a passion, and now find themselves doing it 24/7 for the fam. Are they loving it? There are two sides to the tale. Arth Jain and Tresa Dominic lead us in on the secret.
“Passionate about cooking, I have no complaints! I’m on full-time cooking duty during the lockdown, and that’s fine by me. There are days when I try venturing into the creative side, and experimenting with snacks, I wouldn’t have. Vada pav! You’d never think of actually making one right? But you get the idea.” shares Arth.
And while the optimism is evident there, Tresa says “I struggle with time management. So while it isn’t a real pressure to cook throughout the day, it is certainly a task! It’s fine as long as I take it on a day-to-day basis. As long as I have the right playlist in my ears, everything is a stress buster.”
Innovation is a challenge, but we’re having fun
Being in a nationwide lockdown, certainly has its drawbacks. With the supplies being limited, and more than often, a certain ingredient being unavailable, can make the whole ordeal frustrating. The connoisseurs tell us how they’re dealing with the mammoth task of managing their bounded supplies. “I go to the fridge and it's like a fun challenge to figure out what I can cook up with what I see in front of me! There are days when I feel like channelising my creativity into my cooking, and those are the times I try out new dishes” says Arth.
Tresa too seems to enjoy the task of sifting through the minimum and finding ways to be innovative “I started my food page on Insta with detailed stories as an incentive for myself & to hopefully help out others who were having trouble figuring out cooking for themselves for the first time. My food stories have always been about using leftovers creatively & making the best of what we have so things just got more applicable in reality!”
Will they finally be bored of the passion?
Arth looks at cooking, as a big stress reliever, but he isn’t very happy with the idea of it having become a regular chore. “The challenge is having a hard day of work and then sitting down to actually cook, especially these days. I prefer my cooking to be reserved for special occasions, but it has become an everyday affair with the lockdown. So once it’s lifted, I’m going to drift back into cooking once-in-a-while.”
The pandemic has surely changed the game for those whose passion was to cook. And on the other hand, it has turned the novices into pros. Certainly restaurants might see a lower turn-out after the situation settles, as homes have turned into professional sculleries, dishing out some saucy preparations. As for whether cooking has found itself demoted from a passion to a chore, we’ll have to wait to find out for sure!