Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cook like a Lazy Bachelor

I have spent a fair amount of time living away from home with roommates. Now most of that time was spent in India, where cheap, edible food is easy to come by. As a bachelor miles away from home, the mom's home cooked meal might become a paradise, but there are several options to cheap , edible food. There are small hotels, dhabas, canteens (mesh), food stalls (e.g. pav bhaji) etc. As if that is not enough, there are the dabbawalas and even cooks for hire. All these mean that as a lazy bachelor like me doesn't have to cook in order to get fed.

However I also spent a significant amount of my bachelor's life in US. That's were I learn't that all the options mentioned above are, like my Mom's cooking, a luxury. My instincts did ensure that I could still survive without cooking much. However, what was instinctive turns out, is actually a process worth defining. Thus the next few points are my words of wisdom meant to help those in need to serve the sloth in them.
So here is the 5 point approach to getting fed with good food in the US without having to cook or get married.

1. Searching
The whole process starts with the all important search. The search for a guy who can cook well and is either looking for a room or a roommate. The search really doesn't have to be for a guy. It coule be a better if the result is a girl but frankly I am a conservative Indian and the concept of live-in was not ok with me when I was in the US. The important thing here is a "cook in need" of a roommate or a room.

2. Marketing
If you have found a "cook in need" then this point is not too difficult. All you have to do is sell yourself well to this guy and convince him to be your roommate. You would even be in a better bargaining position if the "cook in need" is looking for a room and you have one with space for one roommate.

3. Cooking
This process might be shocking for the true sloths and perhaps even risky. Its a process which is contradictory to the very purpose of the 5 point approach. It's however arguably the most important one too. Once the "cook in need" is your roommate, offer to cook for both of you. Take pride in whatever you can cook. Then prepare the best of your recipes and appear to be putting your best effort. The most important thing here is to ensure that whatever you cook only looks good but tastes like shit. Actually looking good part is optional, but "tastes like shit" is mandatory.

4. Eat S**t
By cooking for both you would have ensured that the only edible thing available in the house is the meal you just cooked. Now all you have to do is eat this meal with total commitment to eating and take much more pride in doing so, than you did when cooking. That way you have proven that you can eat almost anything. By cooking a useless meal you have also ensured that your roommate is going to either have an empty stomach or order a pizza. From my experience I have observed, that a good cook would rather cook than eat s**t or order a pizza every day. Whereas for a bad cook like me, almost any cooking is better than the s**t I cook. Thus you have now ensured that your roomate knows that you can't cook and can eat anything edible.

5. Be prepared to cry
This last point is more like putting nails on the coffin. By point 4 you have now acquired a roommate who is willing to cook for you. However what is to stop him from looking for a roommate again. That's where this point comes in. All you have to do is be happy in doing 2 things. First always be the guy who does the dishes. Yes it is a little hard work but better than having to eat a meal cooked by self. In US, a lot of apartments come with dishwashers. If yours is one of those, then doing the dishes doesn't count towards a significant contribution. Then be prepared to cut the vegetables and most importantly the onions (unless your roommate is a jain or gujju who doesn't eat onions). All good cooks like people who can cut onions as per their size specifications (i even claim to cut them in terms of square mm). Onions make you cry, but it is better to cry over onions than to eat a self cooked meal or order pizza everyday. It is even said that the tears drawn by the onion's smell help the health of eyes in some way.

Thus I have now brought out the 5 point process. However it is important to remember that for lazy people a lot of this process is instinctive. My ex roomie referred to as The Owl seemed to know this whole process instinctively even as I narrated this to him once. Thus if your "cook in need" is also a sloth then you might face some serious competition.
Another disclaimer, this process will work only with roommates. I think that most wives are quite smart to see through this process and any married men wanting to try this out please be prepared for the couch and a little bit of the "belan"

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