Cutlet Queries – A to Z Challenge

It’s my birthday in the month of February, and every year, three generations of extended family members get together for an evening of strained revelry. This year too, my mother, in a bid to better the celebrations of last year, and the last birthday in the circle, decided to make fish cutlets, among other preparations.

She trudged off to the fish market early that Sunday morning, bought the largest Rohu available, and put that fellow to poach after forty straight minutes of cleaning, descaling and scrubbing. Post the poaching, mashing and shaping the meat into small fat discs by dad, it was my turn to dunk them in beaten egg and cake them with a layer of breadcrumbs, then pat to dry. Having barely been of any use while cooking, this took me past midnight to complete.

The next day, my birthday, I landed home late and mum had already proceeded with the high tea. No sooner did I enter, relatives hugged me with birthday greetings that were interspersed with congratulations. I was confused. Mildly. My relatives were apparently over the moon for I had prepared those cutlets with such dedication and precision. My granny was gushing with happiness, happy that I had finally attained marriageable status. My parents were quiet, throwing off my angry glares with a shrug. They just grinned their toothy grins.

I tried to be modest, without being downright rude, but my relatives assured me that within no time I would be able to cook just like my cousins, if not better. For years on end I’ve been ‘poked’ at as the odd one out in my group of female cousins, the only one not being able to cook or have a strain of maternal care.

This is not about me crying from the rooftops about feminism and the dearth of freedom in my life. But I could do with a breather from the need for society, especially relatives, to refrain from setting standards according to their fixed notions and definitely ‘polluting’ my parent’s minds, and from granny checking off her list for ‘necessary skills required by a young woman of marriageable age’.

Cooking is generally seen as a therapeutic activity by many. Not to me. I’ve lived on my own, I’ve cooked ample items, from ravioli to Gajar ka halwa, and yes, I can survive on my own cooking. But it’s always been on my own terms, and when the need to survive rings in loud and clear. Someday, I too shall whip up a grand feast as effortlessly as Jamie Oliver, till then, I’ll stick to tasting and practicing.

This post is part of the seventh annual A to Z Challenge that takes place in the month of April. My theme for this month is ‘Every Day Musings’. It’s my first attempt at this challenge. Feedback is most welcome, constructive criticism, even more. Share your experiences and let’s enjoy this month of fabulous blogging. If you want to know more about this challenge, click here.

22 thoughts on “Cutlet Queries – A to Z Challenge

  1. Whip up a feast like Jamie Oliver <3 Do call me when you plan to do that :D
    I only like decorating food, and I find that very therapeutic. you know, concentrating on making things look good is really nice! :)


  2. I’m sorry, but I actually got a chuckle out of your story. I can so relate! There’s a story about me that my family loves to tell, and re-tell, every chance they get, about how I fixed a boxed rice dish without adding the seasoning. It’s interesting how people think they can judge our worth as females based on this one skill or interest isn’t it!? Thanks for stopping by our blog and good luck on the rest of the challenge!


  3. Ahh I am with you there – cook i can and have but to be honest there are way better things I could do with the spare time – like read or write ;) By the way really like your style of writing, be back soon :)


  4. Cooking is an important skill that everyone should acquire. The time spent on learning how to cook will absolutely not go to waste. And cooking is not as hard as you think. It can be so entertaining to master the culinary arts. I’m sure about this from my own experiences of having lot of fun while brushing up my cooking skills. Learning to cook is totally worth trying.


  5. i agree that the ‘necessary skills required by a young woman of marriageable age’ have some weird requirements of the patriarchal society that we are living in.
    But on a lighter note what better prank than this from a mother on her daughter :P


  6. Hehehe…I sense a rebel at work here! Poor mum n dad! Having a daughter who’s near about your age, I can see where all the outrage is coming from! Circle of life maybe? Btw no harm in taking credit for the well-turned out cutlets I say! Cheers Ramya, I am so loving your posts :)
    @KalaRavi16 from


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