Rigged and Rigmaroled

As We Journey Through the Daily Grind

Posts Tagged ‘domesticated’

“Just” a Housewife

Posted by Rani on June 26, 2009

A recent discussion with a friend led me to think of how we view the homemaker (housewife) role. A lot of stop-gap working women see the domestic life as their ticket to easy street, assuming the hubby can afford it (ahem). Being a homemaker means you no longer need to get to work at a particular time, there are no deadlines to meet, no crabby bosses to please. And, your hubby and kids are happy since you’re making these wonderful meals for them and watching soaps in your free time. The women who have to continue to work (since hubby still doesn’t have a six figure salary) resent the demands of being forced to maintain work(ugh)-life balance, which they could’ve had only if they weren’t darned working, grrr.

Cut to the other side – women who were “forced” (for want of a better word) into the domestic life. They would have wanted to work, have a career, make their own money (!!) but domestic demands regulated they be home. For them, being a homemaker is opportunity lost, endless time in cooking and cleaning, and just no rewards for all the work. Yeah yeah, the kids have their moms full time and really I love my kids and want only the best for them, but but…. you get the drift.

The perfect middle path, as Buddha ‘d liked it, would be that you want to be where you are. No guilt about latch-key kids, no feelings of opportunity lost, no negativity. Just happy, even if it’s a constant race against the clock.

As daughter to a stay-at-home mom, I know I was glad for a “full-time” mom growing up. The highlight of our day was the evening snack mom would’ve creatively (yes, that’s the word) made rivalled only by the school snack, oh the anticipation of opening that snack box. But today, as a woman looking at another woman, I wonder about the choices she made. Her domestic life definitely was not the easier route.  No deadlines? When you have three kids that need to be sent to school in time, breakfast and snacks ready, you can’t get slack on timelines. No people to please? I like to think we were non-fussy, but I know we were none too easy to please either. Work-life balance, cutting some slack? When there are no boundaries between work and life, it all becomes one fuzzy whole, and no one cuts you any slack. Would my mom have had it any other way? Perhaps not, she’s one to be happy with her choices. Or perhaps yes, just to see what lies on the dark side of the moon.

So really, where does this pivotal role fit in? I’m old-fashioned enough to believe a woman needs to focus more on home. Oooh, there, I said it. Before the feminists cry foul, I also believe it always takes two to tango and both partners definitely need to be involved in making a house a home. Also that focusing on home cannot and should not be at the cost of your individuality. In reference to an earlier post (here), I finally believe you make a choice, including whether you’re going to be happy with that choice.


Posted in Women's Options and Choices | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Art of Cooking

Posted by Rani on May 3, 2009

As a good friend once said, you can go on about gourmet cooking but when it comes to your daily meal requirements and you’re the designated (usually by force) cook, it has to be a sustainable and replicable process, as should all processes be. Add time-bound, and we have the usual operational suspects.

I enjoy cooking but only “fun cooking”, as I put it. The kind you whip up in style, and lets you finish with not a drop of sweat on your brow. But since I am mostly home-bound (literally) now, the fun cooking quickly petered out to mandatory ward-off hunger-pangs gigs. Read I was in the kitchen a lot more. Also read I felt “domesticated”, a feeling I have resisted too long to succumb to now. And hence was devised my 5-point plan:

1. Lose the coconut. Raised on coastal cuisine, I love it. But it’s just too much work. Yes, even the break-into-chunks-and-blend “shortcut”. The only shortcut I allow is when I can buy the coconut, scraped and ready, with the only work being to add it to the poriyal (or thoran, depending on where you’re from).

Alternative: onions are your friend – make good use of them. Duhh, not in your poriyal, in your sautéed veggie dish.

2. Go Continental, or any cuisine that has more all-in-one meals. Pasta with its sauce base, steak (albeit usually accompanied by mashed potatoes and blanched veggies – how difficult is that?), chinese noodles (all veggies thrown in), chicken biriyani….you get a wholesome meal with usually less than half the effort of a typical Indian meal.

On single-dish complete meals, we don’t feel short-changed, as it were, if we ensure the following:
a. a mix of nutrients
b. a mix of textures: crunchy, silky, chewy (in a good way) – its all got to be there. Even your single-dish pasta provides exactly that with its mix of pasta (obviously), cheese, peas n’ carrots etc.
c. a mix of colors: continuing with the pasta example, we have the green peas, orange carrots, green leaves adding color to an otherwise “bland” looking dish. And red ketchup (ugh! but it works for many) for the finale.

3. Keep it balanced – don’t forget the carbs: an “easy” breakfast of eggs, bacon, veggies, and juice seems fuller (that means the next meal can come that much later) if you throw in some bread even. Mashed potatoes if you want it fancy.

And then, don’t forget the vitamin givers. Read salad. Proteins usually manage to sneak in through some lentil, meat, or egg.

4. Cook wisely: if you do want to go Indian, make more rice at one go. Yeah, you Northies – rice. I love chappattis but not the time it takes! With enough rice to last at least 3 meals, you only need to worry about the rest and not the “main dish”, again

Keep a base of onion-tomato gravy, chicken (or veggie) stock and the like ready, always. These go into more than one dish usually, and it’s so much more culinary when you can just mix all the ingredients in a pre-prepared base.

5. Love your pressure cooker. Yes, the noise gets to you and it is a little scary sometimes (!!) but besides saving cooking gas, it means that much lesser time in the kitchen.

And God help you if you’re the one who has to do the dishes finally (I don’t, much to my domestic help’s chagrin). Invest in those stovetop casseroles and pans – you cook in them, serve in them, and leftovers are stored directly in the fridge in..you guessed it, them. If this breaks the bank, then just go with steel dishes that serve all the above functions.

Cooking, I have found, can be enjoyable even when it’s of the mandatory kind. But I strongly believe (as is my credo when it comes to other things also) that working smart, not hard, is the answer. And really, if the people around you are the kind who appreciate a dish better when so many more hours were put into it…then, fake it!

More is not always more, but not everyone has to know your less is more. Don’t be apologetic about your “shortcuts”, proclaim it. You’re just not allowing the stove to reign. You do.

Posted in Cooking (the easy way) | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »