I still remember those days in the beginning.
Those days when I was just learning to cook, sitting in my cooking class each Thursday, watching my cooking professor Pelusa Molina as she showed us the fastest way to dice an onion, or how we should keep parsley in a vase of water in the fridge, just like we would for flowers, to keep them fresh for weeks.
In those first days of getting acquainted with a whole new world which included the kitchen, recipes, mise en place, and cooking, I passed through quite a few different stages.
First, I was terrified, afraid of even switching on the gas oven, or fearful of proceeding with even the simplest recipes on my own. Then, when I finally overcame the initial feelings of fear, I was often amazed – amazed by how words written on a recipe could eventually direct us to create something that was real, tangible and even edible! Wow, was that risotto that I cooked? Did I actually make the dish I’m eating now? After this constant amazement, which I still feel every once in a while, I started becoming curious. I wanted to learn how to make everything I saw. I wanted to know how to roll fresh pie dough, or the secret to making crunchy breadsticks, or even something as simple as homemade granola bars.
Today, slightly more than three years after I attended my first cooking class, and after I began this food blog, I look back and wonder how it was possible for me to be so terrified of the kitchen back then. But then I recall those days in the beginning, and realised that partly, my fear of cooking was due to ignorance.
As with most fears, which stem from feelings of uncertainty and insecurity about the things which we do not know about or understand, my fear of cooking was just that.
At that point, I had zero experience in the kitchen (apart from my semester abroad in Mannheim, Germany, where cooking for me consisted of cooking rice in the microwave rice cooker and making pasta with store-bought carbonara sauce).
Prior to re-locating to Argentina, I’d never been remotely interested in cooking, and because I’d almost always had a domestic helper who cooked our meals back home in Singapore, I’d also wrongly assumed that cooking was a skill I didn’t need to learn. I’d never needed to cook my own food, and if I did, I resorted to simple solutions like making 3-minute instant noodles or buying a packet of food from the nearest hawker center.
My lack of knowledge in the culinary sphere then was astounding, but I think it was mainly due to that fact that I’d assumed I didn’t require the skill, and that I’d thought cooking was this mysterious science that I simply wouldn’t be able to wrap my fingers around.
If you’d told me three years back that I would be writing a cookbook today, I would have laughed in your face, the same way I would if you’d told me a decade ago that I would eventually end up leaving Singapore to live in Argentina for love.
Life sure has its ways of surprising us, of that I’m certain.
So I completely understand when people tell me that they are afraid of cooking, or of making their own food – because once upon a time, I was in that same precise position as well.
I wish I’d learnt to cook earlier, but more than that, I wished my fears of cooking would have been dissipated much earlier.
That’s why I wanted to share a super-simple recipe today; one that doesn’t even require cooking, but is proof that creating homemade food is really not difficult at all.
This is a recipe that only requires 10 minutes, a food processor, and a handful of ingredients – all of which will make a delicious creamy peanut butter. I’m talking about homemade peanut butter here, so smooth and creamy and rich, all at the very same time. Spread on a slice of toast, this is heaven.
For those of you who like myself three years ago, are afraid of the kitchen, I’ll say this – take baby steps.
Learn to cook one easy recipe at a time. You’ll see that there’s really nothing to be afraid about.
One day, when you’ve finally overcome your fears of cooking, you’ll look back and laugh at these fears, and realise that you’ve gotten over them, just like I did.
- 2 cups unsalted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Place the unsalted peanuts in the bowl of your food processor, and process for 2 to 3 minutes until the peanuts have achieved a sand-like texture.
- Process for another 1 to 2 minutes until the peanuts turn into a thick paste.
- Add in the water, and process some more, scrapping down the sides every one minute or so.
- Add in the cooking oil 1 tablespoon at a time, process further, and scrape down the sides.
- Repeat until all cooking oil has been incorporated, and then process until peanut butter is thick and creamy to your liking.