It all started when my cousin sister and I were making rotis/chapatis/Indian bread in the kitchen, as was the norm these days. No wait, it actually started on the night when my sister was trying her best to turn the round blob of play dough, oh sorry, I meant wheat dough, into triangular shapes, because that’s the shape you’re supposed to cook parathas in.
Luckily I had the easier job of just roasting them over the fire and the pan. Yay..
After the third paratha and spending another ten minutes on trying to shape it like a perfect triangle, but failing and turning it into something that looked like a cross between a turnip and India’s map, she was flustered and remarked, “Why the hell should parathas be triangular in shape??? I mean, isn’t it enough that women are always stuck in the kitchen and that our cooking is complex enough as it is, that they had to go and define shapes for the breads we eat??!! I mean, pray tell me, what is the scientific value of taking small balls of dough – making them round and flat first – and then folding and refolding them like a fucking piece of origami, until it forms the perfect triangle, so that we can eat the bloody parathas??”
She did have a point. So I decided to add fuel to the fire – favourite Hindi serial (TV series) quote, usually said by evil plotting woman in the show, because, only women are evil. Didn’t you know?
“Exactly? I mean, isn’t it enough that we have to knead, dough, roll, flatten, roast to optimal capacity to cook our daily rotis, that we had to add shapes for them too? Who the hell decided that rotis should be gol/round and parathas should be triangular??”
My cousin nodded in agreement. It felt like we were going to bring about a revolution in the kitchen.
“Yeah! I say we make the rotis irregular in shape. And the parathas will be heart shaped!“
“Why heart shaped?“, I asked a little concerned.
“Because they’re not good for the heart. Too much of it. At least this will act as a reminder to eat fewer parathas and have a scientific justification for its shape!”, my cousin replied, looking very convinced.
Later that night, my mom and daughter and husband were served turnip and heart shaped parathas. They didn’t even notice and ate it all up. 🙂
Makes you wonder doesn’t it? Why is our cooking so complex? Why are there so many processes involved and why is there a need for such precision for presentation? Ok, for a second let me even accept that food is an art and presentation means respecting the food. India is a tropical country, food needs to be prepped and cooked more here. That spending time on your food would mean better health for you.
But then, when we have advanced so much, why not make some processes simpler? Or cut down some processes? Surely, the shape of things shouldn’t matter in the pursuit of good food and good company right? Surely, these steps weren’t just added by men to keep their women restricted to the kitchen, right?
**This post was first published on starryeyedenigma blog**