Cooking is my latest hobby – thanks to the cooking programmes and being stuck at home during the Jun hols due to the Daniel’s illness and the haze.
Have been watching lots of cooking programmes on We channel due to the lack of interesting shows to watch while doing the mundane chore of folding clothes. Prob got inspired to cook in the process and decided to try out during the Jun hols. Ivan and I also love watching this Australian series ‘My Kitchen Rules’ which is a cooking competition hosted by two renowned chefs who are the judges.
I realised that cooking however, involves quite a bit of labour. For someone like me who is quite lazy, likes it fast, convenient and hassle-free, I must say I faced quite a bit of resistance when it comes to cooking. The time and effort that goes into preparing a meal is something that I am still getting used to. Of course for experienced homemakers (like my mil) putting together a meal may be quite simple. But for a newbie and working mum like me who only has time to cook during school holidays and weekends, every cooking experience is like a project. Firstly, the planning stage where you plan the menu and go research online how to cook the dishes. Secondly, you need to check what ingredients you need and go supermarket shopping. Finally, the cooking stage which involves chopping, seasoning and cooking. There is still one final stage actually – cleaning up and washing dishes after the meal. Sometimes, when I think of all the effort involved, I think that it is so much easier to just walk out and dabao or walk to the hawker centre across the road for dinner! Moreover, after all the effort, the dish may not turn out to be palatable.
What motivates me to overcome my resistance to cooking then? I like good, wholesome and yummy home-cooked food. I get tired of eating out. I grew up on home-cooked food. My grandma was a great cook who cooks really delicious food. She had a wide repertoire of Chinese, Malay and Peranakan food. I have fond memories of the food she cooked while we were growing up. She would cook dinner for us every night. During weekends, she would cook something special like mee siam, gado gado, satay, popiah, bobo chacha …. and the gravy was all made from scratch! During the Chinese New Year, we got to enjoy home-cooked Peranakan fare …. and I must say her Peranakan food is the best I have tasted. Better than those at our local Peranakan restaurants.
Besides grandma, I am also inspired by my mother-in-law and mother. My mother-in-law is a homemaker so for her dapaoing and eating out is not the norm. She whips up a decent meal almost effortlessly. My mum is a working mother, but since she stopped work several years back, she makes an effort to cook dinners, though not everyday but quite regularly. And for a working mum who has clocked lesser ‘cooking hours’, I think she has done a great job! She even tries to replicate some of the stuff my grandma used to cook and has done a pretty good attempt with some of them. Hence to me, an intrinsic part of being a mother is being able to cook.
Cooking is actually quite enjoyable once I manage to overcome the resistance. I love shopping, so I really enjoy the grocery shopping step. I find cooking quite a creative exercise too and get some fulfillment out of sourcing for recipes, creating and putting together a dish. If I am not in a rush for time, it is in some ways quite therapeutic. I also love the smell of cooking in the home…. makes it feel like a real home. Cooking to me is also an expression of love ….. when you cook with your heart for the ones you love 🙂 So I do try to cook during weekends nowadays. Don’t want to lose the momentum. I realise that the more I cook, the less resistance there is. There are hits and misses of course, being so new to this. But practice makes perfect!