For the little that it's worth, I'm not just another so-and-so with an opinion (As the saying goes, "Opinions are like a**holes. We all have one."). I've always been a foodie. In secondary school, during my first form, we had what was called Domestic Science. Here in the United States, it's called Home Ec. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as simple as it was, but it fully ignited my interest in cooking. The following couple of years, we had our first taste (haha!) at choosing electives. There were classes like Plastics, Woodworking, Metal Work, Sowing, Domestic Science. I recall choosing DS, as we nicknamed it.
My interest in food, as far as cooking and being creative in the kitchen, probably comes down to one of my sisters, my mother and my father. During our childhood, my sister had all sorts of Mary Quant items and I believe one of them was some kind of paper dolls set and recipe/activity book. I was really young so my recollection of these things might be a bit clouded but, among those things, was some kind of recipe that had to do with corn flakes, melted chocolate/chocolate sauce and cupcake wrappers. The simplicity of melting the chocolate and mixing in the corn flakes and placing a dollop into each cupcake wrapper seemed, at the time, such an amazing thing. We had followed the recipe and created a quick and tasty treat.
My father, during a time when my mother, brother and sisters were in The Philippines and my father and I were in Hong Kong, was a wiz in the kitchen. Memories of him making simple instant noodles - what I grew up calling 'Poison Noodles' - with sliced fish and shrimp balls still brighten my thoughts. Sliced Chinese sausage with sticky winter rice, something he'd make on a Sunday after church, trips to the noodle shops for beef cartilage with noodles, stops at the street vendors (the dai pai dong) for steamed cuttlefish and congee definitely informed my love for food, making it and the kinds of flavours that really wake up my palate. In fact, these memories I have of my father make me think of the opening scene from the movie "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" and that opening scene makes me think of my father and, whenever I see that scene, it makes me run to the market, buy up some meats and veggies and other things and conjure up something in the kitchen.
And, then, there's Ma. When we lived in Hong Kong, and even during the first couple of years after moving to the United States, we used to host a couple of parties a year. In Hong Kong, we usually had a Christmas Day event and a New Year's event, replete with roast turkey, glazed ham, macaroni salad, rice, you name it. The turkey, too, was filled with my mother's chestnut-bread stuffing. Back then, we'd have to but the chestnuts from the street vendors in Causeway Bay, in that area between The Excelsior Hotel and Daimaru. In preparation for the parties' feasts, I'd helped peel the chestnuts and mash them down for the stuffing. I'd help with the table settings, placing cloves on the ham, whatever was needed.
So, my love for food and cooking has some foundation. And, you can read about what I've learnt and experimented with food, as well as try some of my favourite recipes in my new blog, called, Panlasa. I hope to see you there.