…and the answer is NOT TO COOK!!
This sounds very cryptic I know, but is quite simple. Every year for the past number of years I have set up a kind of very simple kitchen system to be able to cook in my room while in India.
Good enough to Eat
In a previous post I explained the reasons for taking a room and setting up a primitive sort of kitchen , rather than a full apartment with kitchen, as follows:
My first “kitchen”
” The limited kitchen as a blessing: I sometimes find myself annoyed that I don’t have a real kitchen and have to improvise to prepare my simple meals. And I am very limited in what I can cook, as I have one pot and one frying pan, [the past two years I have added a pressure cooker which is a BIG plus ]
no counter top, no kitchen sink (I have finally figured out how to best wash my dishes using the bathroom facilities), and basically all I can cook is kitcheri, vegetable soup, pasta, porridge, pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese or toast with tahini, hot drinks…I cannot make anything more ambitious even if I want to, including chapattis and paranthas. And even these few simple things involve great planning and thinking things out before beginning to actually cook them. Measuring out of ingredients, peeling, chopping etc., in advance outdoors,
Veggies ready for cutting up outside on the terrace table
making sure each thing is lined up on the table to be put into the pot which is on the gas balloon which sits on the floor and which I either squat over or sit in a chair to stir. I’ve gotten very good at all this actually and no longer find it difficult in any way.
And then I realized that these limitations are a true blessing.
I usually sit in the chair but a friend caught me one morning like this!
Knowing myself, if I had a comfortable working kitchen, I would spend a lot more time cooking as I did when I had a kitchen in Mcleodganj several years ago. And that involves shopping each day,
Local Provisions Shop (not including fruits and veggies)
carrying the heavy stuff home, spending money on expensive ingredients, spending LOTS of time in the kitchen making all kinds of lovely dishes, and even inviting people in for dinner a few times a week. And this is NOT what I want while I am here. I want things as quiet and simple as possible and being limited in my kitchen facilities, guarantees that things are kept to the bare minimum and as simple as possible while still being able to cook twice a day for myself. So, for me, no kitchen is actually better. ”
my second ‘Improved” kitchen
I have always enjoyed being able to cook these simple meals for myself however, and since I began using a pressure cooker a couple of years ago, it has gotten even easier. I can now make steamed veggies in 1/2 minute!! Kitcheri, delicious vegetable soup with lentils in less than 10 minutes etc.
But cooking still does involve work. Especially getting everything set up when I first arrive. It takes a couple of days and lots of energy, and then the same energy to get it all packed up and back into storage before I leave. And of course the shopping for ingredients, the cleaning up after cooking, etc.
Since I will only be in India for 6 weeks total this time, not my usual several months, I have been contemplating the wisdom of going to all this bother this trip. On the one hand, I love the option of preparing food for myself when I feel like it, and having the freedom not to have to go out to eat all the time…but most of this trip I will be on my special panchakarma diet anyway (which I will write about at a later date), and the big plus is being able to make my own vegetable (with a larger variety than the restaurants would prepare for me), or even having a good rich vegetable soup once in awhile. And of course there is nothing to compare to the porridge I make myself with apples, cinnamon, raisins and almonds,but I will “make do” with the restaurant version for the month. On the other hand, I will be needing the time to rest and take care of myself as much as possible, and cooking during this period of time is usually on a very limited basis for me anyway. I do most of my cooking before and after my month long treatments…and that’s when I enjoy it mainly.
My vegetable plates will not be as exciting this year!
So, after much contemplation of the pros and cons, this morning I came to the final decision, that this trip will be TOTAL vacation. No cooking, no shopping, no cleaning up, no setting up and repacking before I go home etc. If I want a larger variety of veggies in my daily vegetable plate, I will provide the kitchen with them myself !! And if I need my kitcheri heated up in the evening, I will ask the kitchen to do that for me as well. And if I REALLY feel the need for vegetable soup, I will go down to my friend’s house and cook it there, making up a large pot for her and her family as well!! 🙂
I am pleased with this decision and happy that it has finally been made. Takes another “load off my mind”! 🙂