This weekend, I decided to skip the usual dancing-in-a-club-waiting-for-it-to-be-time-to-to-back-home Saturday night, and instead try something new. My friends and I decided to cook together - a DIY late brunch, if you may. This fun activity that went on from evening until midnight, ended up giving me more than a lesson in cooking - it gave me a little lesson in life - about how, more than anything else, cooking with someone can teach you so much about them.
We started off very enthusiastically - dancing in the kitchen while the vegetables boiled, me with a sharp knife in my hand, almost stabbing a friend or two.
Each of us had a dish we were going to, literally, make and bring to the table, but I think the one we were most looking forward to was Adi's spaghetti. With a little help from us, he made it from scratch, right from the soft tomato puree to the sauteed vegetables. We didn't have a mixer so we mashed the soggy tomatoes with our hands. Although the tomatoes were insanely hot, I really enjoyed squashing them and feeling them crumble in my hands. (I'm not a sadist though, I swear.)
It's weird, really, how cooking can tell you so much about a person. Adi, I learned, was very structured and needed things to work in a systematic manner. He was specific and clear about how he wanted things to go about, right from the groceries he picked up. Since I know him only since a few months, this helped me understand his personality a bit more, and I saw a reflection of this aspect of his personality even in the way he lives his life.
Another friend of mine was making bruschetta, and as a friend jokingly said, there was no method to his madness. Since the kitchen was getting a bit cramped up, he took his ingredients to the hall and did all the chopping there. I used up all the olive oil, but he had no complaints about having to switch from that to ghee, on top of the bread.
All this cooking happened in Nivis house, so naturally, she was supervising and assisting. After every chopping or peeling session, she'd make sure the spot was clean - no matter how many times she had to do it. Perhaps controlling her external surrounding is her way to deal with her inner anxiety. She is also, I realised, a proper hustler. When we ran short of pasta sauce, she volunteered to make a fresh batch of white sauce pasta, and was out of the house within the next 30 seconds, to quickly go and get the ingredients. I realise I am not like that at all. I would think, rationalise and then get to it (maybe) - unlike Nivi who wasted no time and started immediately.
There was a friend making cocktails, who put too much rum in a cocktail that was supposed to have none (it tasted like my mom's Christmas cake), and styled it with giant celery. Another friend made Pani Puri, not before abandoning his potatoes when they were too hard to smash, and then eventually coming back to them.
And then there's me. What personality trait of mine this activity revealed, I'm unsure, but I'm just glad I didn't burn the house down. I am not much of a cooker but mentally wrote down the steps before getting there. I was excited about trying something new and enjoyed witnessing raw items turn into tasty dishes. Maybe they're wrong, and too many cooks don't spoil the dish.