The basic principles of using a pressure cooker; the basic principles of frying stuff (and how different stuff behaves in hot oil); the basic principles of a triple-folded, yet round Roti; the basic principles of the relationship between heat, flame, and time; the basic principles of how condiments behave, depending on when they enter the dish; the basic principles of mixing things so that they respond to your needs.
My parents allowed us to participate in the kitchen, from the time I remember. My elder sister and I have been kitchen-helpers from the time I remember. Small things that we kids could do. It wasn’t conscription, but a gentle entry in to the world of food. Being younger, it took a while for me to get closer to the flame. Perhaps, the fact that I was too curious, and that I experimented with my curiosity got me closer to the flame, later, than my sister.
I got there eventually.
My father was a good cook, but he rarely did. But, he was a food connoisseur of extreme proportions. It fell on my Mom to teach us the intuitiveness of the kitchen. And I say this, because there’s more to the kitchen than cooking. One parent was an active participant in our act, the other was a passive participant in feedback. Mother that she is, she loved anything that we made, father that he was, he was gently critical that he ate.
My sister and I have had the same teacher, but we are very different cooks. I am a good cook, but I think she is better. (I cook much less than she does; given). The credit goes to our Mum, however, because, she never taught us a process; she taught us principles; which allowed us to become our own cooks.
Am living in a different city now, away from my family. True, being able to cook for yourself is about self-reliance. But it is much more than that.
To own a kitchen is not about being able to feed yourself; it is about discovering yourself.
PS: I urge all of you to cook; it is such a beautiful experience; once you taste it, you will never want to go back.