I started cooking when I was probably 8 years old. I was left to my own devices one afternoon and I wandered into the kitchen. I saw green beans. I saw eggs and I saw pink food colouring. And voila! Pink scrambled eggs and crunchy beans were created! It was horrible. It had no salt or pepper. I had no idea that you had to sautee beans with garlic, onions and tomatoes for it to taste nice. But that was the (disastrous) beginning of my adventure in gastronomy.
My first adventure in cookbook cooking was creating what we Filipinos call “palitaw” which loosely translated means “to float”. It’s essentially like a gnocchi made from rice flour and water, covered in sugar and coconut and and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. It was a recipe from my fifth grade home economics textbook. My parents had gone and bought my books a month ahead of school starting (so that we could cover my books in protective plastic and get me all sorted out for the first day of school). Being the voracious reader that I was, I couldn’t stop my curious nature and I started looking through the books. I had finished my English and Reading books already. I’d read my Science book twice and the Maths, well, I was confident I’d be able to deal with things when school started (I wasn’t too interested in Maths!). The last book that I hadn’t leafed through was my home economics text book. It was then that I fell in love with cooking. I read the recipe for palitaw and then begged my nanny to come with me to the market so that I could buy the ingredients. I surprised my parents that afternoon with a snack and coffee when they came home from the office.
And so my cooking journey began.
I rarely looked at books after that. My mom was an excellent cook, but she was more instinctive and relied on tasting her food, instead of measuring everything out. Everything I’ve learned, the basics, I learned by watching my mom and following her instructions.
My parents have got several cookbooks but none that I can really say I poured over in the way that I do the cookbooks that I’ve managed to adopt since I’ve moved to England. I remember my bestfriend Maries having this amazing collection of cookbooks that I secretly coveted. She cooked coq au vin from one of the books and I thought, wow, I’d love to do that. Since I moved to England though, I think To date, I have a collection of 27 cookbooks (which includes Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Delia Smith’s Delia’s Complete Cookery Course). Mostly baking cookbooks as I seem to be better at baking more than anything else. But I do have proper cookbooks that have recipes for mains and soups and such.
This blogging about food idea came about because of my friend Rhoda. I talked to her about this book that I was “writing”. She said why not have the (imaginary) readers of my (so-called) book (in the making) blog about their experiences about using my recipes. A lightbulb switched on in my head. Since I’ve got cookbooks, why don’t I blog about my cooking experiences?
And here we are. I’ve begun this new and exciting journey. The next thing to do is to decide which cookbook recipe to start with!