Food is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental things we need in our life. I remember the first time my mom taught me how to cook was when I was 12 years old, and it was one of my favourite food - fried noodles. The joy of cooking, eating and sharing my first ever plate of fried noodles with my family was indescribable. That made me realise how a simple dish could bring so many memories and so much happiness to me. But, cooking also taught me a lot more, some of which have become the most valuable lessons in my life.
#1 - The little things matter.
Have you ever forgotten to put “a pinch of salt” into your soup? The soup definitely does not end up tasting as nice as it should. Even though you have put in water, carrots, corn, eggs, a little thing like salt can affect the whole dish. Why? Because every single thing in the soup matters! No matter how small the quantity is.
In life, I realised it is the small little things that happen almost regularly that we often forget. When I was a kid, Sunday morning was my favourite time of the week because my mom would wake me up and ask me to follow her to pasar (the market). I loved to watch how she bargained with the auntie to get a cheaper price for a few grams of shrimp. I loved how my siblings and I stuffed the grocery cart with snacks secretly, only to get caught later by my mom, and I loved how washing dishes together with my sister bring so much laughter. It may just be a part of our daily routine, but no matter how small it is, it is part of our life. Maybe you did a little something today to someone that you might not even realise, but that small little thing might have brightened their day. There’s no such thing as “too little to be important” because every little thing matters.
#2 -Be your own chef!
I once tried to bake brownies and I failed miserably even though I followed the recipe. Another time, I tried to make butter cookies even though I didn’t have eggs in my fridge (which I should have added according to the recipe), but it turned out good!
I think life goes the same way too. We often go through the same circumstances, but the “recipe” that other people use might not be the best solution for us. So, you don’t have to always follow others’ “recipe”! Each of us is unique and we all have different “secret ingredients”. Analyse the situation, make your judgement and adjust to what your heart thinks is right (but of course, put some logic in it too). Have fun in experimenting, be creative and create your own “recipe”!
#3 - Gratitude
I think about food constantly. When I eat breakfast, I would think of what I want to eat for lunch, and when I have my lunch, I would think of whether it is nasi lemak or char kuey teow for dinner. Even before I go to bed, I think of what I shall eat for my breakfast! Sometimes, it is really confusing to have soooooo many options. But, what I don’t realise is, how lucky I am to be able to choose what I want to eat. There are so many people out there who struggle for just 1 meal or even starve for days because they don’t have money to feed themselves, and who feel grateful even though they can only eat rice with sambal. And sometimes that makes me think, what right do I have to complain about the food being served on my table?
Be thankful for anyone who cooks for you and appreciate them. Be thankful to the waitress who serves you food and simply be thankful that you can choose where, what, and with whom you want to eat, because some people do not have that “privilege”.
I do find a joyful comfort in cooking although I am not professionally trained. And I do find that food has pretty much impacted my life in many ways, some of which I might not even understand how. I must admit that it has made my life a little bit more tasteful. After all, how could it not, right?
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience”