Rohit's Realm

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November 05, 2007

Forever Young No More

Forever young, I want to be forever young Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever? —Alphaville, Forever Young (1984)

As New Wave band Alphaville aptly (and perhaps prophetically) observed in their 1984 single Forever Young, no one likes getting older, and me the least of all. As early as 2002, I observed that there was likely nothing worse than having to do [menial tasks associated with adulthood] for the rest of my life. (The notable exception to this rule, of course, are children, but given their ignorance of the patent meaninglessness of life, and moreover, the years of heart-breaking disappointments, soul-crushing existential angst, hope-extinguishing failures, and daily flirtations with suicide that inevitably await them, one can hardly fault their enthusiasm.)

Though as a society we presume certain ages when one can be considered old, or perhaps, older (e.g., 18 for sex, 21 for drinking, 30 for [first] marriage, 40 for mid-life crisis/divorce, 65 for senior discounts, etc.), most people likely possess their own individual notions of when they will personally cross the threshold from the joys of youth to the decrepitude of old age. For me, that transition occurred last week—Saturday, October 27, 2007, to be precise. I was barely 24 years old.

Given the inordinate amounts of time and energy that I have devoted to the subject of (romantic) relationships, marriage, and children over the years, cynical (and faithless) readers could not be blamed for assuming that I myself have become the victim of the whirlpool of bullshit I have long railed against; luckily (for all involved), nothing could be further from the truth. As vigilant subscribers to this blog know (well), marriage is not known within the unique lexicon of the Realm as defining old age; it is known as describing (metaphorical) death. And as I said above, the misfortune that has befallen me is only old age, not death—metaphorical or otherwise—much to the chagrin of some people out there, no doubt.1 (Sorry assholes, I live to torment you another day.) So, if not marriage, what is my criterion for old age?

Well, simply put, October 27, 2007 was the fateful day I decided to put an end to the trademark dysfunctional lifestyle I had long led since leaving the fold. In particular, it was the day that I woke up and decided that I was (finally) going to learn to cook. And by cook, I do not mean Ramen noodles. I mean, real, honest-to-God cooking, Iron-Chef-style.

What brought about this dramatic about-face? Simply put, a combination of three independent factors, working simultaneously for the first time, finally led me to leave my much-cherished lifestyle of apathetic bachelorhood behind. First and foremost, food in Hyde Park is both crappy and inaccessible. Second, eating out everyday, while perhaps justified when living the yuppie (i.e., money, cash, hoes) lifestyle, is hardly economically sound as an impoverished graduate student. Finally, in our fast-paced, non-stop age of global magnitude, cooking seems to have become a lost art form; learning and perfecting my skills in this arena can only up my market value as a multifaceted commodity friend/spouse/parent/etc. Call it investing in the (necessarily futile) future.

Having made my bed, i.e., acknowledged my transition to old age, I decided to sleep in it the next day by going grocery shopping. The plan so far has been to start out small, and slowly move into more complicated arenas. Considering I had only seriously cooked perhaps four meals in my whole life, this meant starting at the beginning. My first day, I made an omelet (something I knew from back in high school). The next day, I stepped it up a notch and made something that required sizzling oil, preparing meat, and dicing vegetables, i.e., fajitas. This week, the plan is to prepare something even more complicated involving both meat and vegetables, and then, I will invest in a cookbook. So far, I have found the fantastic Cooking for Engineers website, founded by a fellow Berkeley EECS grad, but I will defer discussion on it until I actually prepare one of the recipes.

In the mean time, any recommendations/thoughts/words of (dis/en)couragement would be much appreciated. Let the food poisoning begin!

1 Assuming you read this site, you know who you are.


Cooking for Engineers rocks!

I like how Mr. Chu's recipes are simple. Often when I'm looking through a place like FoodTV or Allrecipes, I'll find recipes that call for a lot of extra junk you don't need. I also like how the recipes are summarized neatly in a table at the bottom. It cuts all the crap and shows you all the details in a precise and concise way.

I believe learning to cook well forces one to become more picky about what he or she eats. I no longer go to places like La Burrita, Intermezzo, or Ann's Kitchen because I know I can do better. This is good for the wallet & taste buds, but bad when I'm going out to eat with my non-picky friends.

Glad to hear you've made the transition!

It's good that you are learning to cook. That way, you can cook for me during the few years we are married (before I divorce you and take half of all that is yours).

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