Let me cook my recipes

Noel Manuel

The term ‘recipe’ is generally associated with cooking. A recipe is a set of instructions that tell us how to cook something and the ingredients that we need for it. In short, a recipe is a formula on the how and what of cuisine. There are vegetarian recipes, non-vegetarian recipes, soup recipes and the best of them all – LIFE RECIPES. 

Many of us don’t really enjoy cooking as much as we enjoy eating. 

It is like most of us not actually understanding the ingredients that cook up purposeful living as much as we enjoy the life we live.

And still, there are few, who actually care to discuss the recipe of their favourite dish, which is akin to most of us hardly caring about getting to know the ingredients needed for a purposeful life. 

There are several books on cooking that explain the formula of preparing some of the tastiest dishes. And when we adhere to the hows and whats of the book, we finally can be proud of serving a gourmet’s feast. Similarly, there are several books on LIFE and its contents, which include success, love, happiness, religion, etc and each of these dishes have a recipe.  

I remember a friend of mine telling me that the best cooking book that he has ever discovered till date is the recipe for ‘LIFE.’ There are a number of mouth-watering dishes here and each of them has a recipe of its own, he asserts. We have a recipe for success, recipe for love, recipe for happiness, recipe for joy, recipe for a healthy spiritual life and much more.

Take for instance the recipe for success. The ingredients needed to cook up this dish include hard work, patience, consistency, dedication, honesty, tolerance and stability.

Once we have the ingredients in place, we then can choose the utensil where we wish to cook up our recipe. The utensil could be our homework, examinations, day-to-day challenges or for that matter anything that we set out to do. 

The major portion of all ingredients is hard work. It is like the subject or the main item of our dish. The remaining ingredients of patience, dedication, honesty, tolerance, consistency and stability has to be mixed in the right proportions and churned with hard work till the flavor of success can finally soothe our taste buds. 

We all need to be specialist cooks, not so much of food, but of the recipes of life. And, I should say that ‘PEACE’ is the most savored dish in the cooking book of life, among others. But do we really know the ingredients that go into the making of this dish? Yes, and perhaps No. If indeed, we know the recipe for peace and can cook up this dish at any given time and opportunity, then why are we not able to bring out the flavor of this dish? The truth behind this is that we are not specialist cooks or just not willing to garnish this preparation with the ingredient called ‘ACCEPTANCE.’ We have to have an open mind and a willing heart to ACCEPT PEACE.  

A cook who has spent a lifetime in the kitchen will naturally be able to serve us a cup of tea in a jiffy and with the right flavor. For a cook, who has spent only a week, it would be otherwise. 

There are so many important recipes in the cooking book of life and each of them are important for our health or for that matter our survival. And since, they are important for us, we need to learn how to cook them ourselves. We need to put every ounce of effort, when we cook ourselves and there should be no comprises with the quality or the quantity. The more time we spend cooking, the more we specialize ourselves in the art. For the final objective is to professionalize ourselves in preparing the recipes that make our life more meaningful and purposeful.

I have often come across people, who disclaim their own preparation to open acceptance of others. There are still others, who admit that they can never enjoy their own food preparation. If this is the case, then we need to reconsider our approach to cooking after all. 

The recipes that are included in each of our cooking books have to be prepared by none other than us. It is good to be appreciative about the preparation of others. We can admire the recipe of success of others, the recipe of joy of others, the recipe of peace of others. But just for how long? We need to begin to enjoy our own recipes and specialize in the preparation of each.

I have always been wary of the fact that my wife is not a good cook and she proudly admits that she isn’t. So on one weekend, I   jokingly asked her to think about something that she was really good at preparing. She thought for a while and then asked me to get the ingredients to prepare something really good. I readily agreed and began to organize a visit to the market. She handed me a list of purchases to be made and without considering the contents I was on my way out. No sooner, had I reached the threshold, my wife called out and said, “In case you’re not able to get those things in the market, never mind, I will manage without it.” This raised my curiosity and prompted me to make a quick run through the list. To my utter surprise, the list included items such as, PRAYER, LOVE, FORGIVENESS, FORGETNESS, TOLERANCE, PATIENCE, HAPPINESS, FAITHFULNESS and KINDNESS.

Taking this to be some kind of joke, I shot back and asked her to explain what she meant. She said, I had planned to cook the recipe for PEACE and the list that you see in your hand are the ingredients that can make it possible to cook the dish that would surprise not only you, but everyone in our family. She went on to add that food will only satisfy our taste buds and hunger but the recipe of peace will strengthen our togetherness and unity. ‘I have been doing it all this time and now I want you to prepare it on your own.’ 

Today, I am more than glad that I have a cook, and would suggest that you too, should look for a cook, not of food, but a specialist for the recipes of life – particularly a specialist for the recipe called ‘PEACE.’

noelmanuel@rediffmail.com

The writer is the Bureau Chief (Nagaland) of Eastern Panorama (News Magazine of the Northeast), Coordinator of the Northeast Region (Poetry Society of India) and Life Member of the Poetry Society of India, Phonetics Trainer.