I guess we’re divided; the husband can’t cook, whilst the dad can.
Recently, a male colleague shared how he gives his wife rest on Fridays and takes over the kitchen. I went all aww at this piece of information and affection. His knowledge about spices, salts and sauces is decent enough and he claims to dish out good meals. “My friends love the biryani I prepare,” he added. As for his son, “There is no better cook than dad!” I laughed. It’s the same story in many homes. Dads cook once in a few months and instantly win over mums every day cooking. During the conversation, the colleague also confessed how his wife detests stepping into the kitchen after the chef (him) has cooked and exited.
I guess we’re divided; the husband can’t cook, whilst the dad can. As a wife, if given a choice between a husband, who can’t cook and one, who attempts to cook, I’d choose the former any day. It just saves you from the false praising and the fixing (consuming) a ruined dish. As a daughter, of course, I am rooting for the dads, for obvious reasons.
Whilst there should be a clear definition of what cooking substitutes, as children we’re easily sold with a limited-edition dad special menu, comprising instant noodles, an omelette, a bowl of mac and cheese, or even a cup of tea. We humour the dads, each time they step into the kitchen — even when the task at hand is to warm up a plate of leftover rice. In our home as well, much to mum’s displeasure, dad’s left an impression on us. I can run you through the dishes, provided you are not in the mood to pass quick judgements. One, because I am clueless on what your dad is capable of dishing out. Two, you have not tasted the dishes I am setting out to describe and tempt you with. Three, I am not hearing a word against dad, unless I am the one who is talking. And that kind of explains why our hearts melt at the sight of burnt toast presented by dad.
Leaving aside the taste value, there are many lessons one can absorb from dads’ cooking. For starters, they cook only when there is a crisis. They cook special meals only. When they do cook, there’s a storm in the home and pans, of course. The quantity of food prepared is often more than what the family can consume. Most dads are faithful grocery shoppers and experts at offering culinary tips. They’re not in the game to challenge mums’ supremacy, but they love the laurels. They are good at pretending to be hard at work and seek an acknowledgement at every step. The list is long. So, go on, this weekend demand for a dad’s special. He needs the pat on his back, offer it to him.
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.