The Newbie Cook
- 16,667 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
There’s a type of person who seems to have grown up in or within reaching distance of a well-maintained active kitchen. They’re the types who, in their teens or early twenties, already know how to cook very well without going to fancy-shmancy culinary schools because their mom or dad (or both) taught them everything while they were growing up.
I am not that person.
I, the Undomestic, admires their kitchen skills and wonders whether it can be acquired through absorption if you hang around them long enough.
My mother, Cristina, is a wonderful cook. She can cook anything from scratch! Everything that comes out of her kitchen tastes heavenly, flavorful and so very healthy since she’s very conscious about the evils of certain oils and too much salt. She curls her lip at MSG and instant products, often frowning at my college-age self’s tendency to overstock my dorm room with instant ramen and spam. She is an expert of Filipino cooking – she takes traditional recipes and improves them. For her, baking a chiffon cake is as easy as boiling water. My father, Jun, is a self-taught cook. He likes foreign fare (especially Italian) and experiments with European-style cooking. He invents recipes and makes me eat them, which I happily do.
With parents like these, I could have been the next Bourdain. Oh no… I was a terrible disappointment with all things domestic, most especially in the kitchen. I boil water through the microwave, couldn’t manage to keep a yolk whole while frying eggs, and the only soup I could manage was with a packet of Maggi instant crab and corn. I only bothered to learn how to bake something if it had chocolate. For a while I reasoned that it’s okay to be such a terrible cook if I can at least earn a good living. Besides, that’s why restaurants were made.
It’s just fairly recent that I’ve made an effort to be more conscientious at home. As if Gordon Ramsay was looking over my shoulder urging me to stop being so lazy and make something, I thanked God for Internet and read up on recipes, spices, baking, and even kitchen tools. I’ve always thought that food enthusiasts were dowdy ladies or frumpy old men and that they were all fat from all the cooking. I was so wrong! I learned that not only does cooking help you burn calories, it’s even better when you share the calories and keep the weight off.
I’m still very much a kitchen noobie, though. Cooking isn’t just practical work, I have to do a lot of reading to back up my projects. This is like another college course! Haha… I fail 20% of time, deliver less than stellar results 30% of the time, and manage to be a bit proud of myself half the time. Maybe in a few years, I can cook just as my mother does – by instinct.