Mom is currently teaching me how to cook Indian food.
I’m constantly griping about how the stuff I buy is never as good as the stuff she makes (except for Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala which is legit the hot boys) so I figured this would probably be the smartest way to get around that issue.
Now, this seems like an idyllic mother-daughter bonding activity. You know, the stuff of Hallmark commercials – a cozy kitchen burnished with golden light, soft piano music, two women who look alike laughing together, their faces dusted with flour.
Yeah…no. It is actually the polar opposite of that.
Mom teaching me how to cook involves:
– A series of increasingly panicked phone calls
– Me wandering around the Indian grocery store looking utterly lost.
– Skype calls where I stalk around my tiny kitchen like some sort of deranged warlord wielding a vegetable peeler instead of a machete and Mom peers at the screen and asks why my hair looks like that.
And the yelling. All the yelling.
Mostly from my end.
Actually, all from my end.
Mom: Is your chili pepper really hot?
Me: I don’t know.
Mom: Well, taste a little before you add it.
(I lick my thumb, jam it into the chili pepper and go to town on it like it was Fun Dip. Why? Because timidity is for jerks)
Me: HOT! IT’S SO HOT! I THINK I’M DYING!
Mom: Has your day turned*?! I said a little!
Couple this with the constant interjections from Paps and the yelling gets even louder.
Me: How much do I put in?
Mom: A little bit for now and if you think it needs more, add more.
Me: How much is a little bit? I don’t know what that is! I need exact or comparative measurements!
(Paps chimes in with some damn fool suggestion)
Me: That’s a terrible idea! Why is he saying things?! You stop saying things! MOM!
And to her credit, Mom never gets flustered. Never gets annoyed or says things like, “You were adopted!”
She just calmly tells me to add and taste. Mix and chop. And if I don’t have something — no big. Everything will be OK.
And it always turns out well. Not as well as if she would have made it, but a reasonable enough facsimile for when you’re a thousand miles away and jonesing for a taste of home.
So to Mom — Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for teaching me how to cook. For keeping me sane when I get all worked up (which is like, all the time) and for the continual reassurance that everything will be OK.
I love you.
P.S. And thanks for never saying I was adopted.
Unlike some people I know.
I’m not adopted and you know how I know that? Because I become more and more like you every single day. HA!
Oh wait….awwww, crap.
* The direct translation is, “Has your day turned?” but I think it actually means something along the lines of, “Have you lost your damn mind?” I think.