Cooking is an Art


Don't ask me how much green onions or cilantro to use when I am making my bed of greens to lay my precious, fresh fish on top to steam, or how many tablespoons of chinese rice wine to put on top of my fish before it gets a steam bath, quickstyle. Because honestly, I do not know.

I see cooking as an art. When I go to my playground (my kitchen) to cook our meals, I have no quaint idea of what I am going to cook. I open the freezer, check the pantry, check what vegetables are available, and I try to concoct a dish from what I have. The more variety of food I have in my hands, the more room for expansion.

The next question I ask myself is, should I fry, bake, grill, steam, boil, saute, broil, barbecue, roast, or toast. I also make it a point not to repeat a dish for a while. Repeat performance is never welcome with my children unless it is a delicious moisty cake made out of chocolate.

Everything is unknown before I start playing in my playground until I start to cook. Things seem to fall into place. One by one, the chosen ingredients are washed, cleaned, cut, sliced, chopped, julienned, etc., and prepared before I conduct my symphony.

Then I check my pots and pans and check what is the most suitable vessel to use to formulate my invention. Once selected, I start cooking.

I have been used to adding the seasonings by eyeballing, a habit which I got from my mother, who in my whole lifetime living with her, have never seen her use a measuring spoon nor a measuring cup. She just calculated. To me, it is faster. I add seasonings according to how I feel it needs. I try not to put a whole bunch. One thing I am very concerned about is the taste. Not too salty, not too bland, just right.

Also, the ratio of how much to put of each ingredient, how much time to caramelize the onions and garlic is very important because that is how you create the taste. You put a little of the ginger, it's great. You put too much, it's a disaster. It's a skill you have to learn in time. Practice makes perfect.

I get into a trance. No one can talk to me. If they do(my children especially, when they are asking for something. I think they know I'll be saying yes when I mean no), I am not paying attention. I am focused at my art. Timing is very important (especially when I am sauteeing) and I do not want anything to burn. You also have to keep an eye on those veggies because you do not want to overcook them. You want that certain crunch when you sink your teeth into them.

After I cook a certain dish, I try to enjoy and savor the flavor. Eating your own delicious cooked meal with a good pair of wine was my weakness before (not anymore because of doctors orders). Good food, good wine, good company (good friends and family), what more can you ask for?

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