My mom is a terrible cook who loves cooking. *Sigh* In fact her cooking is so bad that my parents often have wars where my dad threatens to lock her out of the kitchen if she doesn’t stop serving radioactive wastes for dinner. The threats never work since we all know in our house that although my dad is an excellent cook he is too “male” to cook everyday. And we sisters don’t have any time for nonsense like cooking although we both are really good at it too (courtesy: our father’s expert training).
Anyway, mom has this bad habit of coming up with new things to cook and more often than not our refrigeratior is the dumping ground for all these unsuccessful concoctions. So it wasn’t really surprising when one day she started to dry berries in the sun for a bout of homemade diseased…oops, pickled berries. In fact it was so normal for mom that I promptly erased the unnecessary data from my brain and went my way because I thought I was desensitized to her cooking disasters. If I had only known how wrong I was.
A week later…
I was sitting in my study and doing some school work when I thought I smelled a rat. Literally. I tried to ignore it at first but when it started getting stronger I left my easy chair and let my nose lead me forward.
When I reached the main room I noticed that the ghastly odor was slowly and surely wafting out of the kitchen and saturating the air with its unbearable vapors. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter and planning out possible rodent exterminations I entered the kitchen with a hand over my nose and stopped short.
My mother was standing before the stove and supervising a huge pot that had black slurry bubbling obnoxiously inside it. And then it hit me. The berries! I stared at the two kilograms of berries stewing over the flames and felt the muscles of my eyes twitch in disbelief.
Mom must have felt my spectral presence behind her because she turned and asked me if I wanted something. Yeah, to run as far as I could from the horrendous smell, but I didn’t say that obviously. Because as soon as I removed my hand from over my nose I felt as if someone had shot pigeon droppings mixed in rotting sandwiches up my nostrils. I gagged and barely escaped with my life as I departed the kitchen on a run.
Down the corridor I found my sister puking her guts out obviously from the olfactory assault. Once she was done she glared in the direction of the kitchen, cursed our mom and her cooking and went into her room to sleep. She never got up again…at least for that night.
An Hour Later…
I steeled myself and reemerged from my study whose door I had kept locked till then to protect myself from the smell. On the way to the dining room I wondered if I could hold my breath long enough to grab the food and make a detour out of the place. But I needn’t have bothered because by then mom had bottled up her nasal posion and had somewhat cleared the air of the stink.
So I sat down on my seat and was about to eat the first morsel when five goat droppings…ahem, pickled berries were plunked onto my miserable plate. I glanced at my smiling mom and hardened my expressions when she asked me to taste and tell her how the berries were. I made a face before nervously stirring the blobs and finally placed one on my tongue.
For a second I froze before my brain started functioning again. The berries didn’t taste as bad as they smelled but they weren’t going to win any cooking shows any time soon. But I wasn’t keen on trying any more. That one berry was one too many.
When our father returned home later that night, he cautiously sniffed the air thrice before stepping over the threshold. He didn’t comment because he must have realized it was another disastrous kitchen experiment, but when offered a berry he said it was “okay.” Yeah, that was why he never ventured near them again.
The berries were finally eaten by our mom and the maid over a period of three months. And thankfully the maid didn’t get food poisoning.
So how did you find the drive down my memory lane? Hilarious? Disgusting? Have you ever been around bad cooks yourself? Do share your stories since it’s more fun when you share your laughs.
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