I grew up in an environment that equates being “womanned up” to knowing how to saw patches, do the laundry, press clothes, clean the house, do gardening, etc. Needless to say and just as Robert Frost puts it, “There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will”, all the women in my family must know how to cook.
Growing up, I looked at cooking as a chore. I’d trade tasks with my sister just to escape cooking. But all forms of pressure to learn how to cook came from everywhere around me:
- My sister was an excellent cook. She could even cook at fiestas when we visit my grandparents in the province.
- My mom admittedly just learned how to cook when she was already working. She said she had her elder sisters do it while she did the other chores.
- I love my dad to pieces and he’d constantly encourage me to help in the kitchen (e.g. “Oh, your mom’s cooking ___! Maybe you can check that out and observe how she does it.” “Your sister’s going to help your aunts prepare food for the fiesta tomorrow. Don’t forget to help her, okay?” Plus, I saw how he would appreciate my mom’s & sister’s cooking.
- During summer after the school year, I’d spend a vacation at my cousins’ houses and they ALL knew how to cook.
- Even the men in the family like cooking.
I Better Start Cooking
When all my efforts to stall it were starting to become too obvious, I strategized by doing it slowly – one type of cooking after another. And I started with cooking rice. Now, even when there was a rice cooker, I still had to learn how to do it myself. Why was this so difficult? Because they all expected that I already should know by then as it was that easy so, I figured out how. Then, I learned how to fry eggs, and then, chicken and that dastardly fish. I moved on to Filipino and Spanish dishes. Although few, I noticed they all just followed the same basic steps but just differed in ingredients and/or sauce or broth.
Well, my mom had retired and I thought it was best to just let her watch television while I cooked. See, my mother’s very finicky and she’s not very generous in giving compliments. My younger brothers and dad– that’s a totally different story: they’d gobble up and almost always finish the entire serving in a few minutes. My father would be fanning his mouth if the dishes were too spicy but he’d still give me his two thumbs up. 🙂
A few years ago, when my sister got married and moved out of the house, I had the kitchen all to myself. So, I got myself recipe books and watched cooking shows. It was a little late when I realized that I should have taken photos to document having found this new love. Here are some that I was able to take pictures of:
Cooking and Dining Buddy
Almost three years ago, I met my now best friend. Her family’s heritage is rich in Filipino, Spanish, and Italian dishes – and she is in love with cooking and fine dining and eating! She talks about all of it with so much gusto, it’s contagious! So, when we became housemates, she bragged her recipes and I cooked mine. And from the looks of it, I think we’ve made eating our pastime. 🙂
I’ll be posting other dishes that I will make on this blog’s category, then.