cooking takes alot of commitment, especially for a spoilt brat like me. growing up, i was never required to help out in the kitchen. that was partly because my mother owned the kitchen and didn’t trust anyone else with the wok and spatula…save perhaps my grandmother, but that’s because grandma was just as good, if not better, a cook as she was.
i remember one particular home economics class where we had to cook fried bee hoon or fried rice. i added a little too much dark soy sauce so the dish turned out rather black, but otherwise it tasted pretty good. when i brought home the fruits of my labour, my father took a bite and commended me on my effort. my mother refused to touch any of it. =(
however, that didn’t keep me away from the frying pan. i later on developed a habit of making myself an omelet or a serving of scrambled eggs almost every morning. i learnt that adding some milk into the egg mixture made it all a little tastier. i discovered that i liked my eggs with lots and lots of pepper. a little basil made a whole lot of difference, and if there was bacon…aah heaven.
i now scour for simple recipes on the internet. pasta is easy and i love the challenge of making the sauce from scratch. bolognaise made with fresh tomatoes and minced beef. carbonara with eggs, not cream. meatballs with cheese stuffing. and my latest experiment – no-bake macaroni and cheese.
a couple of weeks ago, the obsession was perfecting the tortilla de patatas – a ridiculously simple potato-and-onion omelet cake thingamajig that tasted great with slivers of bacon and slightly overcooked sides.
but like i said, cooking is a commitment. from the buying of the ingredients to the chopping, dicing, slicing to the actual cooking to the prayingreallyhard that it will turn out and finally, urgh, the washing up…it’s a crazy process that takes up alot of time and elbow grease.
and i think about my mother’s stories of how she got into the cooking thing because she was in charge of doing the marketing as a kid, how she learnt from both her step-mum and the domestic help (who heaped cili padi onto every fish she steamed), and how she gained even more experience under my grandmother’s wing. my mother cooked dinner faithfully every night after work and even now, with her years advancing on her and a granddaughter to babysit, she still goes into the kitchen and takes charge of the night’s meal.
my mother always told me that cooking is “all about the seasoning“. although i can’t disagree with that, i have to add that cooking is also about the commitment. it’s lasted a lifetime for my mother. i hope it lasts a lifetime for me.