I will not keep it a secret that I am not the one of cooking fans, as I used to consider it as a waste of time and effort.
When I got engaged, I discovered that my mother in law is one of those who spend most of their life time at the kitchen, moreover she loves to give variety to new kinds of food from time to time using different kinds of Arabic and western cooking books.
This matter – of course – used to make me worry because I thought that my fiancé, after marriage, would compare between my cooking and his mother’s.
So when we have finished with all marriage arrangements and the marriage date was determined, my fiancé noticed that I was delaying the wedding and every time I used to invent a different excuse so finally he came and asked me “you are delaying the marriage for a reason I do not know, what is it?” then I felt the matter is being discovered and I do not have anything to do but saying the truth, so I said “ frankly, I hate kitchen!” then he laughed in astonishment and told me “anyway I like simple kinds of food and also I do not mind if I eat the same kind of each two days ” these words calmed me down and I did not delay the marriage any more, on the contrary after I got married I started feeling responsible for the house and all its matters which include the kitchen! So I told myself “you have to do your best in the kitchen even if your husband likes simple kinds of food”.
At the first day I entered my kitchen for cooking I asked God for help and trust on Him then I pleaded Him that my food would not come to be much less that of my mother in law. Then I started to cook and during that time I remembered--with God’s help-- some words of one of our sisters who was giving us lessons at the mosque during Ramadan and she said – God Rewards her—“the Arabian woman spends most of her life time at the kitchen, especially in Ramadan, which wastes much of this great month. Ramadan is like a scent flying away easily! So do not miss it in the kitchen and such kind of works, and if though why do not you mention God while at the kitchen? Has anyone of you tried to cook while she is glorifying Allah?!”
I felt I need to do that, not to take the opportunity of Ramadan—because we were in other month which I do not remember now—but for the hope that God Will Make my food tastes good!!
And I decided to start with saying God’s name before each step; starting with turning the fire on , passing through putting butter, then onion and garlic , then tomato and ending with turning the fire off.
The second time I asked myself why do not I say Surat Al-Ikhlas (the loyalty), after mentioning God’s name, during each step? I love this Surat very much, it is short and there are a lot of rewards with saying it too!!
So I have started doing that with God’s help and then, subsequently, God led me to glorify Him while the food is being cooked and during washing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen.
My husband’s reaction was to praise my food to the extent that he said my food has been better than his mother’s! —And of course I did not believe him then—because I am not the one who would pay much attention for the taste of food as long as it is fitting for eating and the salt is not too much, and I thought him saying that as a compliment, after all I was still new bride and such compliments are very normal. But I have noticed that he is repeating such words very often and this made me so happy but I never believed him and thought it is just encouraging from him especially when I discovered that he is one of the greatest fans when it comes to well cooked food , moreover he pays much attention to the way each kind of food is cooked, and thus he told me before marriage turned out to be encouragement, nothing more!!!
When I used to invite my mother in law to spend few days with us she used also to praise my food and I thought she was making a compliment as well. I have noticed that she used to spend her time with me at the kitchen while I was pleading her to have rest at the living room however she used to refuse. Because we were chatting with each other—I did not notice that she was watching my cooking till she asked me once about the method of cooking a certain kind of food and when I mentioned it she was surprised but I did not understand why till she called me once, after months from my marriage, to tell me “I adjure you to tell me the secret of your food taste” so I asked her if she is joking but she swore that she was not!!!
This was a surprise for me and I started thinking deeply to find out the reason but I could not find any but mentioning God’s name and surat Al-Ikhlas and sometimes glorifying God so I told her: “do you want the truth?” she said “sure” then I told her the aforementioned , she was surprised but she seemed as if she did not believe me, I noticed the next time she visited us that she was watching me while cooking to make sure of what I had told her!! And when she believed she told me that she “is doing the same thing now” and that she started noticing a progress in her food taste too!!!.
The funny thing about this matter is that I do not hate cooking or spending time at the kitchen anymore, especially when I play a cassette there; in the kitchen, to listen to Quran and different kinds of religious lessons. Subsequently the time I am spending at the kitchen has become amusement and I do not feel the pass of time except after finishing with everything.
Not only that but also—with God’s help—I am not confined to cook just the ordinary dishes but also baking foods like cake, pizza, and sometimes making jars and pickles to the extent that my friends and relatives did not believe that when they knew!!!
Glory to Allah that mentioning Him has secrets we do not know, but such ignorance dose not prevent us the amazement of such secrets. So Glory to you God how great you are!!!!