I never went to the market to shop for vegetables and food before I got married. Not even with my mother, as a tiny tot! My Dad and Mom always went together. When we were older, my sister and my brother did the shopping, if my Dad did not. Me, I wasn’t going to leave my Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer to go and buy aubergines and bitter gourds! As I grew older Perry Mason and James Bond held all my attention. Of course, even when I began going to college, there were days and days, when I would be reading while eating and my Mom or Dad would tell me to put my book away or leave the table!
The first time I went shopping to cook a meal was perhaps when I got married and set up house. Ah! You think, I am one of those lucky ones with a husband who knows how to cook! Not so. And he wasn’t the lucky one with a wife who cooked wonderfully. He claimed, he had eaten out for 20 years! Since he was 15, first at college hostels, then in ‘messes’ when he began to first work, then when he earned enough, he ate at restaurants, beginning his first meal with rum or whiskey, at about 11 a.m., eating his first meal at about 1 p.m., his second at about 12 a.m., past midnight. In between he smoked, had these intimate conversations with the cat on his table, cursed his typewriter, and flirted with words!
I have told you what kind of a girl I was.
Since one day, we decided to and got married, we found we didn’t have enough money to eat out every day. It was quite a bore to have to get dressed and go out to eat every meal! That, I am sure, is a perennial truth for most of you who I hope are reading me. Married or single. Not enough money to eat out every day.
Then, of course, are all those logical reasons, good health, time saving, don’t want to eat out alone…etc…etc…etc… So do I cook ? First I had to grapple with that. What do I know about cooking? Eventually, I came to the conclusion I may not know much about cooking but it wasn’t something that could not be learned. Once I had sorted this out in my mind, I took the next step…It would be I who had to cook. Not anyone else. Did I need to learn it professionally? Did I have to buy cookbooks? did I have to call up my Mom and ask? Or should I ask Dad? I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call Mom for recipes but that could be done later. I sat me down and did some thinking.
We lived in a large room with a large bathroom and a veranda filled with roses trailing down over the single window. We had a typewriter and a table, two boxes of clothes, several dozen books and a bed. There was no kitchen. A Kitchen is not absolutely necessary, you know, to cook. The table, I decided, could serve as the kitchen.
After I finished cooking each day. I put the electric heater I used, down on the floor, spread newspaper on the table, rehabilitated the Remington and each one drifted into our respective creative realms! Before I cooked a meal for the first time, I sat down and thought out things for several hours. PLANNING we call it these days. Getting the heebeejeebies, my Grandma would have said!