Monday, April 19, 2004

I love cooking. I love receiving smses from my mom in Singapore, giving me the recipe for one of her home cooked dishes, and following them, to come up with a dish, the taste of which is nearly identical to the food she cooks. I would follow the steps, not meticulously, of course, my mom doesn't give me exact instructions, she tells me more dark soya sauce than light sauce, she tells me chinese wine or sesame oil, and she doesn't give me the exact amount. She trusts my taste buds to make the necessary adjustments. After cooking it, when i first bring the food to my mouth with the customary brown rice with it, I will always smile broadly because I managed to produce the taste I wanted, the taste that is distinctly home. Its a nice end to my day which can only be described as monotonous.

I miss having dinner parties, the ones I used to have until destroyed by one C. I miss them. I love having a bunch of friends, cooking together, and sampling the dishes we cooked, there was this competition I had once, C, Li and me, to see who will be the first person to repeat the dishes for dinner. Amazingly, none of us did, for two months. Sadly, things had to happen and all that is just a memory now.

I miss cooking for people, cooking for M, she hated Chinese food, she thought that it was boring and she had it so often at home that she refused to have it in the UK. At first, I was irritated by that, as I loved Chinese food, pasta and pizza just wasn't for me. But then, I learnt to cook western styled dishes, Chicken casseroles, Chicken in a bag with red wine sauce, chicken breast with porcini mushrooms, and it was fun, cooking those dishes, for her as well as for my palate. One of my last public cooking was during Christmas, when I cooked the chicken breast dish for a Christmas party held at my uncle's home. I know my parents are proud of my academic achievements, but i can't feel that pride, I don't feel a reciprocal emotion to that. I am not too sure why but i could definitely sense the pride my mom had in me when I cooked for relatives and friends. It is this pride that I wanted, that I appreciate more than the rest of the things I do in life.

Now, I cook for myself. My pleasure in cooking, undiminished by the fact that I am the only recipient of it. Its one of my few passions in life. Today, my dish was microwaved chicken in oyster sauce, one of my mom's personal recipes. I have a list of recipes, on my handphone, icq sms database, a blogspot site and written in an old exercise bookof mine. Some of these dishes are from my grandmother, who died, a long while ago, in a way, this is tradition, not the cultural heritage that one destroys by compelling, by cajoling, by reprimanding the young to learn, its something that happens naturally, lessons from one generation, passed down to another in love, in passion, in enthusiasm. My grandmother lives in my cooking and my mom's and it will always continue on so long as there is someone who wishes to learn.


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