Of course I can cook. In fact, I quite enjoy cooking on the rare occasions I make it into my kitchen. But the truth is, my cooking is all about filling the stomach. Fancy gourmet is not for me; I just stress too much especially because I don’t know how to wing it round recipes. For instance, when it says three spoons almond oil and I’m thinking, almonds have oil?? I don’t keep stuff like that in the house and I have no idea what I could substitute it with, so out the window goes that particular recipe.

Over the years, my husband has been very gracious about my non-participation in all things pots and pans. I have been happy to leave that to the house help and for the longest time we had one who really knew her way around the cooker. Then she left. Oh no. The one who came after her was, simply put, a culture shock. She put me in unfamiliar territory – worrying about menus and portions etc. I did not appreciate that or the accompanying guilt. Was I a bad wife because I couldn’t cook delicious dishes and neither could the help?

Oh, hubby continued to be gracious but I did notice that he began to bring home roast chicken or pork or ‘choma’ from his ‘local’ a lot more often. The kids were thrilled with these ‘treats’ but I suspected they had more to do with a kitchen deficiency than anything else.

So now, before things slide any further, I am trying to see how to revive an old dream of mine. For a long time, I have wanted to have a home that comes equipped with efficient, professional staff – specifically, a cook, a housekeeper and a driver. Extravagant? Maybe, but isn’t that the nature of dreams?

I dream of having a driver to remove the stress of traffic and parking as he or she drives me around in the gleaming family vintage car. My housekeeper would ensure the house was spotless and that meals were served on time in matching and shining tableware. As for the cook, he/she would create meals that are utterly delectable yet 100 per cent healthy. Mine would be a happy home and the days of greasy goat takeaway would soon be a thing of the past.

But where does one find such staff ready-made? Do they even exist outside of hotels or movies like The Remains of the Day? Are there domestic workers who carry themselves with dignity and know about starching shirts? Are there drivers who know about polishing cars to a mirror shine? Or cooks who are passionate about balancing taste and health?

I don’t want to wake up from this dream; I just want to wake up and find it’s come true! Until then, I will continue to contend with a house help whose cooking prowess is raising my guilt index and tempting me to call my aunt in the village to get me a replacement quick… until my three staff in shining armour finally get out of my dreams and into my house.

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