Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Hands Smell Like Garlic

Here I am, guilty of being on fb (again through the course of the day), using the laptop this time, in a semi-office setting, complete with a table and an office chair. I’m also browsing other sites I find myself on almost everyday – Rappler, Blogger (reading blogs I follow; happy to have recently stumbled upon Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop), Instagram, ADB mail (just checking), among others. While browsing, I lean on the table with my elbow, cupping my chin with my palm, and I smell g-a-r-l-i-c. I’ve just cooked dinner.

It’s a late discovery for me – this love for cooking. I didn’t know I could really cook (almost) everyday. The rewards are immediate and fulfilling, making up for the lack of "formal" work (housework by a mom is informal :-)) and pay. Relatedly, I used to kind of dread doing the grocery, having to go through all the aisles of the supermarket to replenish pantry and fridge supplies every other week, and I just hated my infrequent trips to wet markets. 

I feel different now, like I’m really kind of morphing into a full-pledged homemaker. But not the stereotype of old. I would like to associate myself with the younger ones in their late 20s and early 30s, whose social life is largely based on social media – mommies who are actively fb’ing, instragram’ing and even blogging and joining online forums. Ooops, this topic needs a separate blog post. (There are security issues being discussed globally on whether parents are screwing the digital identity of their children by posting pictures and other information, and unknowingly creating a mess even before these children reach an age when they can decide what identity/personality to put out publicly. I am concerned, of course. But, again, I’m veering away from the topic of this post.)

Shifting back to my main topic – I have taken a real interest in cookbooks, cook shows, chefs, and food in general. My husband worries that I am starting to really fill out my clothes and stretch (some inner) elastic bands such that bulges appear where they hug so snugly. That’s the downside of good, home-cooked meals. Oh, well! Look who’s talking! He is also getting bigger. Uh-oh!

My birthday is upcoming, and I am cooking! Wow! There’s always a first time! I am going to prepare a dinner consisting of:
- Salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, and fruits with vinaigrette dressing 
- Spaghetti in mushroom sauce – adapted from the recipe on the package of Clara Ole Pasta Sauce (Mushroom).

I am also inspired by Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives via her book, Eva’s Kitchen.

And then there are these other books which I thumb through to get more ideas. 

Cooking per se is not difficult. It is actually thinking of what to cook on a daily basis that poses a challenge, and cooking for picky children make it not only challenging but, at times, stressful and frustrating. The good news is that my son, who unlike most kids, has never really liked spaghetti, is now eating spaghetti with gusto! He cried when I told him, around the time before I had temporarily stopped working, that we would be dining out less. He used to like eating out a lot, but now says he prefers to eat at home, and is requesting that I just cook for him on his birthday. True, I am not exaggerating. :-)

The recipes I have tried are mostly of Food Network’s Rachael Ray. I like watching her 30 Minute Meals show, and her recipes really turn out well.

When I cook Filipino dishes, it is also easier for me to just google, which turns up a lot of Pinoy chefs’ blogs. Everything about cooking is just a click away.

I think the real challenge is to get the ingredients. Feta, ricotta and other cheeses, vegetable broth, canned chicken stock are nowhere to be found in the area where I live. And zucchini is P300+ a kilo! Yup, prices are also limiting to a large extent. But moms are creative with budgets. I try to offset, like I wake up in the middle of the night to wake up my daughter and lead her to the bathroom. This way we save almost P500 on diaper. Oh, things just round up in the end, everything is connected.

But what makes my son like my cooking more? It’s because of that one ingredient – love. Love means more attention to details and the process, from buying ingredients to plating. It makes all the difference!

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