Thursday, September 2, 2010

What a great story!

A friend from Singapore responded to my most recent blog update and I love the story she told me about how she hung up her wok a long time ago in favor of career. Recently however, she has started re-bonding with her family, and they are doing it through, what
Irene is a business friend of my hubby almost since the time he arrived in Malaysia in 1996.  She has been very generous with her time and assistance to both of us over the years. 

When I received her email, I was immediately impressed with the common road that we are travelling.  Both of us persued careers and both of us have come to this need for understanding over food cultures, and more importantly, placing more emphasis on the family ties in our lifes.

Read on about her personal journey:

"Hi Veron

Thanks for sharing your blog. Great to "see" you in person. Very
 pretty smile : )

 When I got married 25 years ago, for the first 3 years, I have to
 cook 5days a week for my husband as he does not like to eat out.  I
 look forward to Sundays as that is D day we visit his mum. Rain or
 shine, she cooks up a storm to welcome her brood*. She has 6 sons, 2
 daughters, 5 daughter in laws, 1 son in law, 14 grandchildren, 1
 grand-daughter in law & 2 great-grand children

 When we moved to a bigger place, my husband suggested to invite my
 mum in law to live with us.  

 So, for the next 22 years, I never stepped into the "wet" kitchen.

 I am also fortunate my maid who has been with me for the last 8 years
 learnt everything my mum in law taught her.  YES I know I should be
 the one learning !!!!!! but I kept putting it off... busy & lazy...
 ohhhh I will do it next week, maybe next month, perhaps next year....
 until it is too late.

 My mum in law is 85 this year.  2 years ago, she lost her taste &
 mobility.  She is also suffering from dementia now. My maid says she
 wants to go home and get married in 2 years time... Now I really

 HA HA HA... long story short.... with regrets, I have nothing to
 share at this moment.  That being said, I am actively trying to
 document recipes from my maid. Sad to say, she also relies on
 "guess-timate"  and "agar-agar-ation"

 I think those who have talent can get it right somehow but I don't,
 so seriously, I need an idiot-proof cook-book for real dummies !!!!

With my maid, I have to "force" her to use the weighing scale and measuring cups. Show me - so that I can record bowl by bowl, cup by cup, spoon by spoon.  Don't tell me, a dash of this, a pinch of that and throw everything else into the pot recipe. No not me, I have no talent !

About 6 months ago, I started this bonding session with my side of the family. Me, my sister Jasmine, her maid Rona, my other sister Jessie, my eldest brother's wife Noi, my niece Min, my 3rd brother's wife SiewCheng, my 4th brother's wife Ann, even my Aunt (my mum's sister) & her daughter joined us.

One Saturday a month, I get my maid to teach us 2 recipes each time.
We sure had lots of fun and laughter.  I am so glad we started these bonding sessions.  I guess when we get "older", we treasure our family more...

Still alot of experimenting, trial and error as some recipes have gone wayward.  I know that "taste", something is not right but just cannot pin my finger on it. But I know, at least I am trying.....very hard.

Recently even our government stepped in to advise hawkers not to do short cuts during food preparation. Yes it will be cheaper (chemical processes instead of natural ingredients) and faster but we somehow have lost that "taste". More worse, with the hiring of foreign "talent", they don't know our traditional "taste" and with that, it could be lost forever."
I think there must be many of us in this part of the world who, as we industrialized and became career minded, (and as two-career families began to be the norm) set aside our domestic interest. I suspect that much too often this led to fast food meals, and "ta pau" (carry out) foods. I am glad we have a chance to get back to our roots before it all passes by. Gary and I still enjoy going out for an occasional "hawker" lunch or for upscale western dining. More often than not, however, we derive much more pleasure from the family gatherings and home cooked meals right here at home.
                                                                                                       -- Thank you so much Irene --

1 comment:

  1. Darling, If Irene is anything like her "corporate" presence as she goes about learning to cook the old recipes then she will be a Michelin 3 star chef in 18 months. I hope she will reply to your blog again as she gets deeper into her odyssey. Your notes and stories like Irene's is all rather compelling really.


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