When I was a kid, I would hover in the kitchen while my Grandmother, aunts and mom cooked. To get me out of the way, I would be bribed with chunks of sugar cane or pieces of dried radish to gnaw on. I accepted the bribes, naturally, but nothing could get me to get out of the kitchen.
Everything about the kitchen fascinated me. I loved watching my Mom and various other female relatives chop up meat or fish or what-nots on the chopping board, add stuff to them and cook them. I was lucky because I got to witness the women-only rituals where huge batches of traditional food were made: bak chang, peng kueh, soon kueh, mackerel fishballs, curries, pineapple tarts…
I remember once, when I was about 5, I stood at the stove to watch my Grandma fry fish. I love fish, and I love the noises and the splattering of oil when the fish hit the oil. In my excitement, I must have gotten too close to the wok, for a huge glob of oil came shooting at me and hit me on the right collar bone. I screamed in pain, and I had a HUGE blister that hurt for days after. But still, that did not deter me from hanging around in the kitchen.
I am really fortunate because I have a mother who was, and still is, really supportive of my love for cooking and baking. Growing up, I could simply take over the kitchen and cooked meals or bake when I wanted to. Now, I discuss recipes with her and we learn from each other.
It was only when I started my teaching job, I think, when I realised that many of my colleagues could not cook. I remember feeling a little baffled when I was asked how to cook really simple dishes – “THIS IS SO EASY, WHY DO YOU NOT KNOW??”
As I talked to more people over the years, I realised that many people do not cook or bake because they find the experience daunting. There are words or terms in cookbooks that really do not mean much to novices – words like julienne, ban marie, water-bath or folding. A friend said to me, “I know the batter was supposed to be light and fluffy, but how light, and how fluffy is right??”
I guess the main reason for writing this blog is to demystify some of the myths that people have about cooking and baking. I try to include as many pictures as possible of each step of the process, and use the simplest words in my descriptions. I also hope to encourage more to pick up the spatula, or the whisk and make something in their kitchens! In addition, I think it is a great way to log the recipes that have been passed down to me, and those that I have picked up and tweaked myself over the years.
While I mainly blog about food and bakes, I occasionally include entries of my family – my very, very supportive husband, the LAM (aka The Lord and Master), and our two little whirlwinds, Aden and Jadelyn, as well observations about motherhood, friendships and life in general.
This is a blog of all things I love and am passionate about.
I am Diana Gale, and welcome to my kitchen!