Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kitchen Diaries

Mama was an exceptional student in her Home Economics class, she won a baking set for a cooking competition in her high school. Families and friends who have been to our house parties have complimented on her skills. Unfortunately, none of us her children have shown any such talent in our younger years. 

The kitchen of my childhood is not a place I would visit with fond remembrance. It is not associated with sweet aromas or chopping sounds drowned out by the chitchats about life. No, the kitchen was a mere place to cook the family meals (when we are banished from it) and to wash the dishes (when we are invited back, forcefully to do our tasks and for which we would find excuses to get away from). 

My skills in the cooking (or lack thereof) extended beyond the kitchen. They said that necessity allows creativity, it was certainly the case with domestic chores and me. When I was 16, I would often be left in charge of my younger siblings when our parents had to go away on work-related trips. How did my bookish and self-obsessed teenage self manage that? Easy, I fed my siblings with canned food and take-aways and bribed my 11-year-old brother to do the house chores. I got away with it too!

When I left home, I had very little domestic skills indeed, cooking the least of them. For a long time I survived on take-aways, McDonalds and sometimes, the kindness of friends who have better skills in the kitchen. But then marriage was a different story. 

After months of being left in a cold empty house by myself, I eventually learned to tackle domestics after the initial delights of owning my time. I realised that any good kitchen can make a decent cook (provided she has a cookbook). It also helps I have someone to cook for who will not fail to compliment every single meal I've made (of course sometimes I have to ask 'How was it?' to squeeze the compliment out). There was still hope for me after all. 

Our kitchen has become one of my favourite rooms in the house. I love the smells and colours of the spices and sauces lined together. I love the aroma of fresh coffee brewing from the canister. I love the artistic mess that my cooking sessions creates. Most of all, I love the stories shared and decisions made while we share our domestic chores. 


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