Jul 25, 2008

To cook with passion & to Bake with Love

I started cooking soon after I got married. Hubby grew up in a family of great cooks. His parents were hawkers selling local Asian food like Teochew soon kueh, pink peng kueh for breakfast and by noon they sell fish ball noodles. By night, I heard his dad sells the teochew beef noodles too.

I can't cook at all. Not even to the day I met him. My mom never allow me to go to the kitchen. Except to have our meals there or to get a drink. So I grew up enjoying food, eating it, savouring it. But never got to learn how to do it.

They say "Love changes everything". Well, in my case, it did. For hubby, I wanted to show him I was capable of change. So I learn some basics in chinese cooking from my mom. But she only taught me 3 things:

1. Stir fry Bean sprouts with salted fish
2. Deep fry chicken wings, Ah Gong style
3. Cook soup with pork bones and throw all the vegetables in

and she didn't teach me to cook rice. Thinking it was the simple thing anyone would know. After all, its cook by the rice cooker.

Good grief! I didn't know about water ratios and each time my rice either turn into porridge or a piece of flatten cake! My dad came to my rescue and show me how to cook rice in a rice cooker. And I didn't know anything about boiling water..dearest daddy bought me an electric kettle. He says just plug it in. Switch it on. Once the water is boiled, the kettle will automatically switched off.

Daddies are godsend!

and mothers are...err...well...hmmm..

My mom gave me a wok which she took years to seasoned and oiled to perfection. Waiting for the day to come that I got married and had a home of my own. She gave that to me. And also a large Cleaver knife.

So here it was this silly woman who couldn't cook. And though she was given such magical tools, she could whip up nothing that was edible for her dear hubby. Then her dearest hubby said to her,

Its actually very nice to eat. Just that next time add less salt.


For every meal, hubby would clean the plates, literally, into his stomach. He never throw away anything I made or try to make. I wouldn't eat some of my own cooked food. I think its really horrible. But he was so supportive of me. Then I told myself, I must MUST MUST learn how to cook properly.

Then came this zest in me that pop out of no where...I started to have a passion to cook. Not just to cook a decent edible meal for him..but to cook with passion just for him.

I don't have photos of past food I cook..only of the present. Along the way, I met people like Pauline D Loh who taught me to understand about ingredients and she taught me how to do food styling and food photography. Now my food looks as good as it tastes too. And there is also Sis Seok Buay who taught me many secrets to a good bake. With these new found skills, I ventured into the unknown with great leaps of faith. Each bake, each dish I cook, failures were non-existence. I had so much confidence now.

Over the years, my mom grew old and tired from the labourous task to cook and feed the family. Some years back, she spend all her weekends with me, teaching me how to cook. But she was a perfectionist at work. Learning under her wings wasn't the easiest thing to do. She is like Gordon Ramsay from Hell's Kitchen...only Asian style.

My dearest sweet mother-in-law, Ah Mak, forever so supportive of me. Taught me everything she knew about making those delicious rice cakes which hubby grew up on.

So this post, dedicates to the people who inspired me to be what I am today..

Can Cook and Can Bake and doing it with lots of Love and Passion.

My mother's oxtail soup

Salmon pan fried and served with home made Green sambal(an Indonesian spice sauce)

Salted Egg yolk Prawns, my friend's Cutejoos favourite

Sweet Vinegar Pork ribs, I saw this on TV while holidaying in Hong Kong in June. Never jot down the ingredients. Just cook by memory.

My home made korean kim chi. Learnt from watching a Korean cooking program on AFC


Rei said...

Moms = Gordon Ramsey? I agree totally!

gina said...

rei, yah! I just hope that I don't grow into one! :(