21 May 2010

So what's cooking?

Great cooks surround me: my grandma, moms, aunts, cousins and most of my family members!

I grew up hearing everyone saying that my mom was a superb cook.

Not much later, I found out that my Chinese mother-in-law was also considered an excellent cook.

I guess I took all this good food, that nourished me, for granted as I was growing up.

I have to admit that as I left my teens behind and entered my 20s, I noticed that people paid a great deal of attention to good cooks and the delicious meals they could prepare.

In all honesty, I don't cook much. In fact, I can go for months without cooking. Yet, when I do, Jared is full of praise for me, claiming that I am a good cook.

Fact is that I hate cooking. I just don't enjoy it. I find it tedious and a sheer waste of time. You really have to be desperate if you only cook for yourself, at least in Malaysia, when food is available at every corner. For me, it's a case of being surrounded by so many shops, with the most variety of the best foods available! My mom is just around the corner!  Often she calls me to pick up something special that she made so I can take it home for dinner.  My Chinese mother-in-law also does that when she prepares one of my favourites.  I am quite blessed!

Lately, I've noticed on Facebook that some family and friends have begun putting up their easy-to-make family recipes for meals and cakes, etc. The pictures they put up makes me want to run to the market to buy the ingredients and then cook up a storm. However, cooking for one can be a turn-off. So I almost never cook. In any case, I would consider myself as one "who eats to live" rather than "who lives to eat".

I love cakes and my cousin Donnie tortures me with all the wonderful pictures of her creations,  which you can also find on Facebook too.

The advantage of not being a "cook" is that I am easily contented with the average fair. For those who cook, I notice that they are usually never satisfied with "outside" food. They always feel that they can do better and so are never truly able to enjoy eating any other food except their own. It isn't wrong to enjoy one's own food but it does seem a tad sad when you can't find joy, eating elsewhere. This is only a generalisation. I'm sure there are great cooks who appreciate eating what others cook too. Rare but I’m sure they exist.

I realised as well that each cook considers that his or her version of any famous dish is "the" one.
Take for example, the Eurasian "Devil Curry". The Eurasian community boasts of this as being their sort of signature dish. It would be a sin for any Eurasian girl not to know how to make it. Each Eurasian family, in turn, claim that their "Devil Curry" is the authentic one. I have probably eaten a hundred variations of "Devil Curry" prepared by my mom, mother-in-law, aunts, uncles, family, friends as well as the ones found in Portuguese homes/restaurants. Each time I am offered the curry, I had been told it was the real deal. Each time I ate the curry; there was a slight variation in the taste. Of all that I had, I like best, the one that my Chinese mother-in-law does. To me, that is the standard of "Devil Curry" by which I judge all others.

My friend, Hani just put up her recipes with photos on Facebook. You can find it under "Hani's Recipes".  She confesses that when she got married, she didn’t know how to cook and through the years, has evolved into “my idea of an accomplished” cook. So I am thrilled that when I need a recipe for “Lamb Yoghurt Curry”, “Singapore pepper crab” or “Stir Fry Spinach Indian Style”, I only need to check her Notes.

To cook or not to cook? That is the question, only for those who cook!

Dedicated to Donnie and Hani!  


Antares said...

Whether you can cook or not, Lita, you're a truly delicious person!

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Estrelita, I too eat to live, not live to eat....
and about cooking....I believe there is no spectacle more beautiful on this Earth than that of a mother, or wife in the act of cooking for her loved ones, or her loved one.

Your mention of 'Devil curry'.....oh ya! I too have eaten lots of times, one or two of the best I have eaten was in Malacca long time ago, cooked by a Eurasian friend's mother.
And as well Eurasians are also noted for their Sugee cake. One of my favourites.

I remember having dinner at the Portuguese Settlement at Ujong Pasir, Malacca and where Devil curry was offered.....still remember its out of this World aroma and its finger lickin' curry.

You have a pleasant week and stay young, Lee.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

My dearest dearest dearest Antares

It would be simply impossible not to bask in the glory of your beautiful and generous comments.

You've put a silly grin on my face all morning.

Just love love love you

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

My dear Lee

It is, indeed, a beautiful sight watching a woman in the act of cooking for her loved ones.

More beautiful would be to see a man doing the same.

I'd like to add that my husband has done that before, laying the table and serving a wonderful meal for his family.

Can't wait to see your next post! In line with my "cooking" blog post, I'd say I am hungry for it! LOL

Same wishes and more for a pleasant weekend and a huge virtual hug too!


KS Cheah said...

He!he! Lita, I swear to you my 78-year old Penang Teochew mother makes the real Devil Curry (made with sliced fatty pork).

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...


I gotta taste it to believe it! When? LOL


TheWhisperer said...


That is also why you and me are the Yin and Yang team.

Will look out for Hani's recipe in facebook.


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Hey Yang,

I've yet to taste your culinary delights but I believe you!

So when ah? LOL

Missing you!


Pat said...

I am one of those who didn't know how to cook until I got married! Then, cos we moved away from KL, I had to learn - fast! Hahahah!

These days, I don't cook much at all! Chuan cooks for us,and he's a brilliant cook :)

Am I lucky or what?!

siedne said...

On the contrary, I find it more fun to cook for one! I can experiment and if things don't turn out too well, I don't have to feel embarrassed hehe. Cooking for more feels like a chore and puts me under too much pressure. Maybe that's why I'm pretty inspired to cook these days, living by myself :p

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Hi Pat,

Although I can cook, I usually say I can't so no one bothers me.

Yeah, you sure are lucky with Chuan. And I know you have Dan too!


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Siedne, Siedne, Siedne! LOL

Yes, it's fun to cook for one when you are experimenting. I so know what you mean about when things don't turn out too well.

Cooking for me is a chore whether it's for one or more, period! hahhahaha I know some are rolling their eyes upwards.

If your cupcakes are anything to go by, I'm sure you're going to be a great cook!

Meanwhile, enjoy your experiments and when it's reached perfection, I want to sample some! ;-)