Being sick as a dog has many advantages. I discovered a lovely one recently. My regular patron and devourer of dishes had to don the chef's hat for a meal. He was surprised that simply having a recipe and following it to the letter will not make yummy food. Thus, Cook 1, Chef 0.
Learning something and actually becoming good at it needs hours of time invested and plenty of trials and errors, I told him. To be able to identify which lentil needs to be soaked for a few minutes or which for hours, which should be eaten after stuff grows on it and which should be thrown out after stuff grows on it, which is Tuvar Dal and which is Channa Dal takes months, if not years of apprenticeship.
Not to mention the cautious sniffing of sambar and rasam powder to i.d. which is what. Once you have experienced a sneezing fit, you'll be proficient enough to i.d. them by look alone.
Here is a 'read-this-before-you-use-my-kitchen' check list:
1. Don't be crummy about using extra utensils. If you don't want to use a chopping board for a single apple, then you might have to suffer a nice, long, unwanted tattoo across your left palm. (Trust me, you would rather do the dishes).
2. Respect Chillies and Onions. See how I have capitalized them? Behave like a surgeon, rinse before and afterward. Or, you would visited by the Revenge of the Chillies and the Curse of the Onions.
3.Never put hot stuff, hard stuff or too much stuff in my blender (affectionately called Mixie). You will end up with food stuff everywhere, including the ceiling. Not to mention the lid landing on the cabinets.
4.Same tea brand, 1% milk, sugar and spices, will end up tasting different, based on who made it. This applies to all the recipes.
5. Get used to 'a fist full', 'a little bit' and 'a sprinkle'. Don't ask me your fist or my fist. Welcome to the world of un-measured cooking. You are not alone, it drives my friends nuts, when they ask me for a recipe.
6.Turn off the pressure cooker as mentioned in the recipe. One extra whistle will lead fluffy rice to become a gooey mess.
7.If you need to stir something constantly, leave it accessible on the front burner. When you have a pressure cooker right in front of you, you shouldn't be reaching behind it to stir. I have scars aplenty.
8.Hand wash Indian Tea Filters. They simply MELT in American dishwashers. Remember the dried-up mess we had to chip away in our old apartment?
9.Please leave it as you found it.
10.You may be Chef for a Day. I'm the Cook for Life. Remember that.
Update: Thanks for all the comments. However, I would appreciate it more if you could post them here rather than tell me.