This is a reflection of my thoughts over the past few months, and I finally got to penning them down this week.
What relentless, passionate cooking has taught me about life:
1. Be open to new experiences & activities.
I am a city-born and city-bred true blue Singaporean – when I was still living in Singapore, cooking never appealed to me in the littlest sense. I was raised with a maid since I was five years old, and never once had the necessity nor inclination to spend time in the kitchen cooking. (In a way, it seemed like precious time wasted when I had my maid to whip up dishes whenever I was at home, or when I could just head to the hawker center and “ta-bao” (buy-back) a meal for less than S$5.
As I mentioned in the “About me” section, as well as in my blog’s first post, it was only after almost 2 years living in Argentina that I decided to take some serious action regarding my terrible absence of culinary skills. I found a pamphlet advertising weekly cooking classes with Pelusa Molina stuck in the pages of the Sunday papers one day, and decided to give her class a shot. I even asked them if I could quit if I didn’t like it. The question was in vain. I never once missed a single class since enrolling in March, and in fact, have been so inspired that I started this blog.
You never know how much you’ll like something until your try it. First be bold enough to try a completely new experience before you decide whether to like it or not. So, trust me, for those of you who have the same mentality towards cooking as I used to have, try it out, you never know where it might take you. If not, just try any new activity you never thought to do before, and let your own experience guide you, not anyone else’s.
2. Everyone has a different recipe for life. And there is no ONE perfect recipe.
When researching on a recipe for a particular dish I crave or want to test out, I usually use the Internet to source out food blogs or websites like BBC Good Food. However, I also tend to ask around, especially when I know there are people around me who are interested in cooking as well. Be it the women at my cosy Curves Palermo gym, the girls in my painting class, Pelusa Molina, my mum and my friends – I’ve come to the same one conclusion – that everyone seems to have a different way of whipping up the same famous dish.
Quantities of ingredients vary, ingredients are never always the same in all recipes, cooking time changes, the temperature, the oven, etc, etc. Everyone recommends his or her recipe with absolute gold-standard faith, swearing by it and the Bible (ok maybe not the Bible). But almost everyone believes that his or her recipe is the (almost) perfect one.
Testing out various recipe versions, and changing some versions depending on the ingredients I have at the moment of cooking, I’ve realized that each different recipe variant transforms the dish in its own flavorful way, and that, heck, trial and error really does drive me to conquer new grounds and tastes!
Life’s just like a dish. Everyone lives life in their own special, unique way, and most ways of living are neither right nor wrong. But each way is definitely peppered with different life experiences and viewpoints that make the world so much more delightful to be in.
3. You reap what you sow.
These few months of relentless cooking has shown me that the more time and thought I put into my cooking and this food blog, the better my cooking and the more useful this blog is. People start referring to this site as a handy little humble page to refer to once in a while, to get quick easy ideas, or just as a way to peek into my life.
As with cooking, blogging and writing, the effort you put into any particular activity usually pays off, and results show it. There are no shortcuts to be good at something, unless you are terribly talented and have god-given innate gifts (which only happens once in a blue moon). The more you stoke the fire and feed your passion for something, the better you get at it. But it has to be intentional. Nothing occurs by a stroke of luck or coincidence.
4. Be unabashed about your passions.
When I was much younger (something during primary and secondary school), I had a terrible case of inferiority complex. I was so unconfident of myself and had so much insecurity – I once stapled a photograph on my classroom wall so that the staple bullets would cover my face because I felt so ugly. I also refused to publicly look at myself in mirrors because I felt so embarrassed about how I looked. Looking back on those years, I recall the horrendous feeling of being overwhelmed by inferiority and insecurity, I shudder and wish I could erase those years.
Somehow, I outgrew that insecurity with time (thankfully!) and no longer have that issue. But I have realized that one’s inferiority complex and lack of confidence can be a great hindrance to being happy and successful in life. If you don’t even believe in yourself, why would anyone believe in you, right?
Ever since I started cooking and painting here in Argentina (if you’ve never seen my art site, check this: http://rosewithoutthorns.weebly.com . don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you’re done), I’ve become a little bolder and more unabashed about these activities. I tell my family and friends about my latest painting, my latest food menu dishes, my latest food mis-adventures. It sounds a little showy, but it had gotten me so much feedback and started so many conversations with people that I might otherwise no longer be in touch with!
Sharing your passions with others is one brilliant way of opening doors and breaking the ice. It transcends all physical borders, languages and cultures. People across the globe probably share the same passions as you, and once you’ve let known that you like something, the effect and people that become drawn to you is tremendous.
Don’t believe me? Then try it for yourself!