Saturday, 20 July, 2024

Youths developing a taste for cooking in lockdown

By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, Apr. 22: The nationwide lockdown has now gone on for nearly a month, leaving people with little to do and much free time at their disposal. So, people are now taking up different skills to kill time and get rid of boredom. And a skill many are taking up seems to be cooking.
From momos to haluwa to various curries, people, especially millennials, are developing their culinary clout, because they have nothing else to do.
Anu Rai is 24 years old and she discovered cooking in her life during the lockdown. “The first week was wonderful; it felt like a much-needed vacation,” she said. “I used the time to binge watch some of my favourite series and movies.”
But the lockdown got extended for a second week, after which, Rai decided to catch up on some books she had been meaning to read for a long time. But then, the lockdown entered its third week and now she was utterly bored.
“With nothing to do, each hour felt like a century. So, I decided to help my mother out in the kitchen,” she explained how she got into cooking,
“I assisted my mother in her cooking the first few days and realised that I really enjoyed it. So, I decided to fully take over the cooking department and now I am the cook of my family.”
Similarly, Reeti KC also discovered her liking for cooking during this lockdown.
“The shutdown came and locked everyone indoors,” she described her situation, “I couldn’t go out, I had very few books to read and I only write occasionally so I decided to cook for me and my family.”
KC looked up a few recipes online and made some dishes that were in her own words “delicious.” So, she started trying out more and more recipes until she realised that she had a real knack for cooking.
“The lockdown brought alive the chef in me,” she proudly jested. But the lockdown is not just inspiring beginner cooks like Rai and KC to make their foray into cookery. It is also helping people like Anusha Nepal rekindle their lost gastronomic sparks.
“I used to be really passionate about cooking in my childhood,” Nepal, 19, said, “But then, friends, studies, assignments and all those things became a priority in life and cooking took a back seat.”
She added, “But now, the lockdown has halted everything else and I am finding time for cooking again.”
Nepal doesn’t know when the lockdown will end and when she will have to return to her busy life, away from cooking, again. So, she is trying to make the most out of her limited time in the kitchen.
“I try to prepare as many meals as I can for the family because once everything goes back to normal, I won’t be able to,” said Nepal, sharing some of her favourite dishes to cook, “I love to cook Pulau, bean casserole, different types of pickles, chicken curry and chicken chilly.”
But whether beginners like Rai and KC or intermediaries like Nepal, there was one food item that all three of them absolutely loved to cook and that was momo.
“Momo was perhaps the most eaten fast food item in our family before the lockdown,” shared Rai. “And that is why everybody misses it now. So, I make it for them.”
Nepal also said that she made momos for her family. “While it may be labour-intensive, the final product is delicious and can be eaten for lunch or dinner.”
But, of course, not everybody is doing the cooking for love or passion. Some are doing it for social media glory. Shrabin Tuladhar is one such person. At 24, he may have only stood behind the stove a handful of times before the lockdown. But now, he spends his entire days in the kitchen.
“I make varieties of muffins and coffee,” he said. “And then I put them up on Facebook and Instagram.”
Asked why he does it, he gave a simple and clear answer. “Because everyone else is doing.”
Social media, and especially Instagram, is flooded with pictures of various dishes that people have cooked during the lockdown. And among the various age groups, people in their late teens and twenties seem to be ahead in this trend.