Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cooking is like love

(pic from umidishes personal album: Nasi Minyak)

Ever heard of the saying "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all"(1). It will be an act of love if we treat the eventual dish that we produced as a gift not only to others but to ourselves. So how can we make cooking a pleasant adventure.

The factor that makes cooking a chore and a bore to some is the time that it consumed. Coming home late from work after spending frustratingly long hours in the traffic crawl, the thought of slaving over the stove is certainly not an attractive option no matter how hungry we are. However cooking is not only an art, it is also a science. It started very early; at the time when we design the kitchen. The placement of the sink, the stove/oven, the fridge/freezer and the pantry is important because this is the route that we are going to make often. The position must not only look good from the aesthetic point of view but it must also take into account the efficiency aspect. Time and motion.

Think of what we can do to save time since we are in short supply of it. Prepare in advance what we need before Monday, i.e. before the work days for those who are holding a career or the school days for the home makers with school going kids. Pack meat, fish and vegetables according to serving quantity. Do not lump them into one packet because it takes time to thaw them and repacking them again. Peel onions, garlics and ginger etc and store them in airtight container in the fridge ready for use when required without us having to peel them in the dead of the night after work or early morning when preparing breakfast for the family. Wash and scrub potatos and carrots, peel the pumpkin and gourds ready for baking or boiling or cut up the vegetables and packed them away in advance. Blend whatever is required like chillies or tomatoes or fruits and keep them in airtight container in the fridge. For some meat and sea food perhaps we could boil them until tender and nice in advance ready for use later.

Important thing is to plan the menu for the week in advance so that we have an idea of what supplies to get. We can do all this preparations for the week during weekends. When the time comes for cooking we just have to take them out and hey... we are actually cooking in less time without hassle.

Another thing to remember is to always wash the utensils as you are cooking. Do not let them piled up in the sink for later because the sight of a piled up pots and pans and dishes is certainly deflating.

Invest in some of the cooking utensils and equipment that could save you time. A slow cooker is good for a busy working career person. You put together a stew and time it to be ready when you get home from work. If you like rice, get a rice cooker. It cooks to perfection in 10 minutes or less depending on the quantity. A pressure cooker is best to tenderise meats and ribs in less then 15 minutes. A blender and food processor are gadgets that you must have in the kitchen. If you don't mind microwaving then maybe you could invest in that too.

The above are just suggestions on ways to make a tedious and time consuming chores a breeze. I am sure there are other ways to save time apart from ordering Chinese and pizza..:P

I leave you with a proverb; "Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy.And cooking done with care is an act of love."(2)

Life is actually very simple if we make it simple. Mr Confucius said "Coarse rice for food, water to drink, and the bended arm for a pillow - happiness may be enjoyed even in these."(3)

So till we meet again, take care of yourself.


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(source of quotations)
(1) Van Horne)
(2)source: Claiborne)

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