How I Cook

Before we go any further, I think you should know how I cook, where I am at in my cooking, and how I grew up cooking, or not cooking. So here we go…

1. I am not a good cook. Yet. But I’m working toward becoming a great home cook, not necessarily MasterChef-level great, because that’s more friggin’ amazing than great, but competent enough to host a small gathering with confidence and a good amount of grace.

2. I mostly cook by myself and for myself. I live alone in a 29-square-metre studio. So you can imagine how small my kitchen is. Wait, you don’t have to imagine it. Check out the photos below:

3. I daydream about cooking delicious meals for my loved ones and them being impressed. Regularly.

4. Speaking of regularly. I do cook regularly in my tiny kitchen, like almost every day.

5. I’m impatient, and a little lazy. I have a bad habit of rushing through a recipe and skipping to improvisation before studying it carefully. So a perfectly simple dish sometimes ends up in the trashcan after a few bites. I’m better about this now because I realized I wasn’t improving.

6. I’m fearful. I’m braver now. I used to be the kind of cook who flipped to the next recipe as soon as she saw an unfamiliar ingredient or sensed a tiny bit of difficulty.

7. I’m still too wimpy to even cook a meal for my closest of friends. But then again a number of my closest of friends are excellent cooks. I, however, took a huge step this summer by making pancakes from scratch for my boyfriend’s birthday in a kitchen I had never cooked in. I can still feel the heavy silence as I measured the ingredients. It turned out to be a success though.

8. I enjoy cooking with my boyfriend. We don’t get to see each other much, let alone cook together, as I live in Thailand and he in Germany. Neither of us is particularly confident or skilled, but we’ve made a few delicious meals together.

9. I like cooking with friends. The first time I cooked seriously was, in fact, with a relative stranger who very quickly turned into a friend. More on cooking with friends in future posts.

10. As a Thai living in Bangkok, I cook as if I were an expat. I’m a bit ashamed of this fact, but I prefer Thai food on the streets, in restaurants, or at my mom’s place. In short, I prefer Thai food shared, not eaten alone. But that’s changing a bit as I’m going through a serious penny-pinching period.

11. My favorite kind of food to cook at home? I love the simplicity of Mediterranean cuisine. Not that there aren’t any complicated Mediterranean recipes, but I love the fact that I can just throw a few of my favorite ingredients together, toss, and eat.

12. As you may already have guessed, I didn’t grow up cooking. If anything, I grew up being barred from the kitchen and housework. My mom thought we children would create a lot more work for the adults, so we were told to stay away.

13. Funnily enough, my maternal grandmother, who passed away before I was born, was a cook at Little Home, a well-known Filipino-owned chain bakery-and-restaurant in Bangkok. According to my mother, my grandmother didn’t allow her to touch any housework either. She was afraid all that work would ruin my mother’s beauty.

14. Although we grew up with maids cooking for us, my mother didn’t. And she’s a good cook. When she does cook, my mother makes wonderful adobo (she’s a Filipina), hamburger, creamy tuna and corn soup, baked salmon, and cheese omelette. I’ll revisit some of these dishes in future posts.

15. My father grew up more like me, so he never really cooked or had a real interest in it. But on the rare occasions he decided to cook, he put on a show, donning an apron and a toque. We all thought his comedic routine was quite adorable and hilarious.  His chef d’oeuvre is a salad dressing that we still use in our family today. I’ll revisit this concoction in the future as well.

16. I’m going to go cook now.