The kitchens of middle-class houses are messy, colourful and not at all perfect. Whoever scrolls through social media has definitely come across one of those perfect-looking kitchens being cleaned and donned with new store-bought scratch-free containers and sleek drawers. Did you feel insecure about your existence from there too? Because I did.
Who doesn’t wish to live in such perfect houses with dream-like interiors? But, have you thought if those kitchens feel homely after all? One would spend their entire day only to keep it picture perfect and not enjoy the thrill and excitement of cooking food. If you have to think twice before splashing oil and curry on those white walls and tables, I can assure you the taste won’t be the same. Especially in Indian cuisines, we are messy eaters and that comes right from the kitchen, we cook messy because that’s how we roll and I don’t think there should be any shame attached to it.
Indian Kitchens Are Messy, Own It
In a middle-class home, the typical kitchen is filled with containers which came with some food items but now store something entirely different. No matter what social media influencers say about discovering sustainability, we are practising it for generations together. The masala containers are not symmetrical in shape or size or colour and it helps the cook to know which item is stored in which one. To buy a set of good-looking containers seem to be an extra expenditure plus, in the mind of a common middle-class person it goes, “such a loss to throw this new clean container that came with the health drink”.
Sahini, a food content creator on Instagram shared a reel about what she feels special about Indian kitchens and how we repurpose these containers and it’s nothing we should feel bad about. She shows a glimpse of her own kitchen in the video as she mentions how she got those containers. She reminds the audience that the cost of one of those fancy containers might be worth a 3-day meal for an average Indian household. And the origin of reusing comes from the habit of saving up on items that don’t fall under necessity.
The middle-class generation has progressed slowly but steadily for a very long time and this comes from a different time in history when lower-income groups were the majority. And their struggle to reach the upper strata of society took generations and these practices were passed on as well. Back at home our meal choices reflect the same as we eat just the staple and call it our comfort food.
So next time when you come across another video of a perfect kitchen being organised and told that some fancy item is added to their everyday diet, you might go back in history and be proud of how far your ancestors have come so that you don’t feel any shame in owning where you belong and what you represent. Cooking is therapeutic for many and the kitchen can be the meditation room for them so it should be exactly how you like it. And food should give you peace and make you happy.
Cover image source – @Feashts/Instagram
Views expressed are the author’s own.
Suggested Reading: My Middle-Class Lens: Staying With Your Parents Can Also Help You Grow
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