Random Thoughts

Gastronomic Disaster

Cooking on a television show is becoming a fad now. It all started with the glamour of the cooking shows of Mallika Badrinath and Sanjeev Kapoor. Mallika Badrinath was the trend setter, a queen of cooking in Tamil Nadu – of course. Her cooking demos were special and rare; given the fact that there were only few channels then. Her recipes and books were a rage among young and old. She was a super star of cookery in her own right. Her style of cutting vegetables, especially using the scissors deftly to chop green coriander leaves was a treat to watch. I am sure that the sale of scissors made many a people rich, what with every lady emulating her!

Following her footsteps, came equally talented people like Menu Rani Chellam, Revathi Shanmugam and Dr. Damodaran to this popular media of television. Heavy sponsors appeared in the market making such programs very popular. Also, the rise in the increase of professionally qualified working women in the society led to the immense success of such cooking demonstrations on TV. Young women relied on such shows to learn the techniques of cooking.

A twist in the turn of events happened when bigwigs like AVM welcomed newcomers to their programs. New faces appeared on cooking shows, demonstrating new cuisines – the output too was good as the new found enthusiasm of appearing on TV motivated them to do research thoroughly and share perfect recipes.

Everything was fine till many more channels appeared on the scenario. Either the desire to create a new concept or the unwillingness to spend money led to the channels doing cooking shows in the homes of different women – women who by now were awestruck with the aura of the veterans of the tv shows and were ready to jump in to the arena of cooking demos, hook or crook! So, you now have the camera crews thronging the homes of the common man. And let me tell you, no one needs to be jealous of such homes! The utter chaos and confusion created by the shooting is unimaginable.

First of all, no normal household is equipped for the shooting atmosphere. A whole gang appears with the cameraman – the light boys, the makeup artist, director and coordinator of sorts of the show. The lady selected” for the shooting is already harassed with the curious onlookers of the apartment, all trying to get a peek into the shooting. Of course not that all are enamored with shootings nowadays.. Yet that natural instinct to be part of the lights and camera overcrowds the home. And, adding to the chaos is the camera crew selecting the right spot to shoot! One moment they are in the kitchen. The next moment they are in the living room, pulling and pushing chairs and tables. The elders in the house are totally in despair, not knowing which corner to hide with their newspapers or holy books!

At last, the cooking arena is decided upon – the artistically designed living room is now a made-shift kitchen and the marathon cooking starts. It is now a normal practice to combine several days’ demos on one particular day and so the poor lady cooks and turns out recipes after recipe with the hot lights pouring on her face! She’s sweating profusely not only due to the cooking flame but also due to the over makeup! As if this were not enough the producer-director of the program invites the neighbors to showcase their talents too! And more cooking is done furiously in the victimized lady’s house.

By the time the camera crew leaves the house in shambles – the entire kitchen is upside down with groceries strewn all round, almost empty oil and ghee cans lying pathetically on the floor. The living room is in total disorder having become a shooting spot, due to its newly gotten status of a kitchen! The lady’s family is hungry now too – the frantic cooking has left them with no time or place to eat. So, the now famished family locks the door and leaves to a hotel to eat dinner!


More by :  Sujatha Natarajan

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