The Science of Cooking



I woke up with this thought, “Cooking is nothing but a science.” One thought led to another and I began to realize that it is a bit of science and mathematics too. Because, how can you possibly screw up when you know the exact amount of ingredients, and you know when to put it? A bit like baking, you see. Why not apply it other forms of cooking as well?

Also, the more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me. My mother always says, “The secret is, you have to add only what’s required in a dish and only the right amounts of ingredients it.” With all this uncontrollable enlightenment brewing inside me, I went to the kitchen to test this new madness.

I took out my measuring spoons and food scale out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too many ingredients that day, so, Shavige Bath seemed to be the best option. So, I gathered all the things needed on the counter (even the curry leaves) I chopped the onions, green chilies, and the coriander leaves.

Also, I took out my new ceramic wok. Something getting burned in it is quite rare, although I did manage to burn Carrot halwa once, because I forgot about it while doing the dishes. I managed to save it as well.

So, I measured two tablespoons of oil and put it in the wok. Then, a teaspoon of mustard seeds went in. When it started spluttering, I began to realize a major drawback in the current scheme of things.

How do I put the oily tablespoon into the channa dal container? Won’t the channa dal spoil? Is it the right thing to do? Some more spluttering! Oh no, then like always, the intelligence fairy came to my rescue. Use the other spoons, Dammit!

And, some more spluttering.

So much of Math under so much pressure? And the smart fairy was nowhere in the vicinity. So, I switched off the stove.  The Aunty whose cooking classes I went for a while, came right in front of me saying, three teaspoons is equal to one table spoon.

I figured out the amounts and switched on the stove again and managed to put channa dal and urad dal in. Next, I measured the onions and put them in. I wanted to measure the green chilies and the curry leaves, but went against it, because, that much of perfection I don’t need in my life.

Now, I heard someone, in a rather mocking tone, “You will have the same problem with the turmeric powder and salt which has to go in now”. It was obviously my inner smart self. Hey, something like that does exist.

“Haha!”, I said, “That’s why I am ready with another spoon, you see.” So, I managed to put in the salt and the turmeric powder with the other spoon to the measuring spoon. It was indeed more stupid than it sounds. At that point, I realized, for this whole measuring business to work, I need to measure everything in advance and put in those tiny glass containers like so many people on the numerous cookery shows I watch. Hey, that’s why they include preparation time in the recipes.

“That’s why cooking looks so easy. That’s the trap! Dear, God! What will I do with such infinite wisdom?”

Now, I measured the dry noodles and put it in the wok. And in a moment of weakness, I forgot to measure the water and was distracted when I realized it half way and ended up adding more water than required. I realized that much later, and by the time the water dried up, the noodles had overcooked.

Husband’s Verdict

“The noodles are over cooked and the onions are under cooked!”

“Damn you, Ceramic wok.”


“I need to measure time as well!”



“Hmm, I can’t eat this.”

“There is some carrot halwa in the fridge.”



2 thoughts on “The Science of Cooking

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